The turning point for Bryan Brenner came when his family faced hardship.
“I lived on a farm in Clarksville from age 4 until I was 13, and my parents lost the farm at that time,” Brenner said. “In the 1980s, there were a lot of difficulties in farming financially. My dad was a tenant farmer. The surgeon and his family owned the farm. We lived in a small house and took care of everything. We split the profits. There were too many years of losses. My parents filed bankruptcy and divorced at the same time.”
Brenner moved to Warren County, where his parents grew up. From there, Brenner pushed himself to succeed.
“I knew I was going to go to college, which is not something people in my family did,” said Brenner, who was the first in his family to get a four-year college degree. “I had the chance to come to Butler University, and that’s where I fell in love with communications, marketing and human behavior.”
The 1995 Butler graduate founded Indianapolis-based First Person Advisors, a benefits and compensation advisory firm, when he was 24 in 1997. The business is devoted to putting relationships first to grow the business.
Brenner, who has lived in Carmel for approximately 17 years, started out as a benefits consultant.
“I learned I was always fascinated by the employer and employee deal,” Brenner said. “Employers can do a lot of good for people. They also can create harm for people. I wanted to be one of the guys that figured out how to do good things.”
First Person Advisors was acquired by New York City-based NFP (National Financial Partners), an insurance broker and consultant, April 30. First Person was a member of NFP for approximately 20 years.
“As members, we were able to pay a fee to gain access to resources,” Brenner said. “Around August (2020), I was doing soul-searching about what I want from the business. I decided to look for a suitor. NFP ended up being a perfect suitor because we already know them, and they know us. There’s a great deal of trust because we’ve seen how they’ve treated our friends for 20 years and how they treated us. I’ve moved from being chief executive officer and owner to a producer and market maker.”
Instead of working on how to run the business every day, Brenner can work with clients and find new clients, which is what he enjoys.
“It frees me up to do the things that I do best, which is work with clients and solve problems,” said Brenner, who has four children with his wife, Elaine. “I work with employers on benefits programs, compensation strategies, leadership strategies and engagement culture. First Person did benefits from the beginning and added well-being and wellness programs over time. We added compensation about seven years ago and HR strategy about five years ago. We kept building upon what employers really need. The employer market wants more and more from one source. They don’t want to re-explain their story every time. They want to come to one group of consultants that knows and understands them.”
Brian Urbanski, Allied Solutions executive vice president of corporate services and chief financial officer, has worked with First Person as a benefits consultant since 2002, a year after Allied Solutions was founded.
“The focus initially was on traditional employer benefits, health, dental, life insurance and disability,” Urbanski said. “They’ve grown dramatically during that time to be a full-service provider of all human resources and benefits consulting. They’re very abreast of the market and understand what kind of services are out there, who the providers are and how those things could fit for Allied Solutions. Bryan has stayed involved with the work with us throughout.”