Photo by Duane Tinkey
Photo by Duane Tinkey
After an 18-month stint working for an insurance company in Milwaukee, Kyle Mertz returned to Des Moines to get married and be closer to his family.

That's was in 2006, when the Drake University graduate got his start at Holmes Murphy and Associates Inc. and began meeting regularly with his new boss, Doug Reichardt.

"I think that's when the light came on," Mertz said of his professional and civic development. "He's always kind of instilled in me that service comes before other things."

His career has since blossomed.

Mertz is an account executive in Holmes Murphy's employer benefit services division. The 27-year-old, who was elected last year to the Altoona City Council, does a lot more networking these days and he feels more comfortable when approaching potential clients.

Mertz, through the production of new business on an annual basis, has increased his book of business by 49 percent since his 2006 start. And meeting the top sales criteria of the firm has earned him an invitation to the president's sales meeting each year.

"He has been repeatedly praised for his personalized customer service skills and has earned his clients' trust and respect," wrote Jim Swift, chairman of Holmes Murphy.

Civic- and community-minded Mertz is also a board member of Wildwood Hills Ranch and worked as a volunteer on the leadership outreach committee for the 2009 AAU Junior Olympic Games.

Julie Stewart, director of community relations with Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, praised Mertz for his community service and eye for economic development opportunities.

"Kyle has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition," she wrote. "He is dedicated to the betterment of this community."

Mertz's accomplishments landed him a spot in the 2009 Altoona Leadership Class. He's also a Mason and a member of the Rotary Club of East Polk County.

"Kyle's integrity and sincere desire to contribute to his community are strong attributes at a time when Des Moines is trying to retain young, talented citizens as part of our future," Reichardt wrote.