William (Bill) Wert developed a strong work ethic from a young age. His roots in agriculture, which played a significant role in his future work, he recalls, sprouted when his parents purchased a farm when he was 12 years old. By the time he reached his 13th birthday, he says, “I sowed oats with a team of horses by myself … and, that’s always sort of stuck with me.”
“We lived on the farm [un]til my father got quite ill,” Bill said, and added, “I should have bought it, but I didn’t,” when he noted the farm was sold.
Bill’s career, which began at the Farm Bureau (the predecessor to Agway), evolved over the years and took him all over the state of Pennsylvania. He had his hand in dairy, agriculture lending, and real estate, as well as becoming a regional manager over five Agway stores in the Carlisle area, before a friend referred him to a retiring insurance agent who had a book of business to turn over. Bill took the licensing exam, passed it, and his first steps into the insurance business began, while he still maintained his interest and connections in the farming industry, purchasing a farm (Dairyland) with a partner in 1972.
While he co-owned Dairyland, Bill suffered a farming accident which nearly killed him. Unable to work the way he was accustomed to, Bill put more effort into the insurance side of his career, working as an agent from his home, and Wert Insurance developed in 1974. From there the business grew quickly and Bill opened a storefront within three years. As the business expanded and opportunities arose over the years, Bill opened other branches in the surrounding area and serviced policies throughout neighboring states.
After decades of hard work, with a number of his other interests bought out, Bill decided to retire in the early 90s, and left the original Wert Insurance in the capable hands of Jack Wise, the first employee he had taken on when the business began to take off. Enjoying retirement the best way he knows how, Bill still takes the tractor out around the fields, mowing for his daughter when the opportunity arises on his visits back home to Dairyland.