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Making the most of Morrilton: insurance monitoring company named Shell Oil's top supplier.

What was a California native doing at Hendrix College in Conway?

Better yet, what is a nationally recognized insurance firm doing in Morrilton?

The answers to both questions are easy, according to Steve Strange, president and chief executive officer of American Management Corp., an insurance holding company.

Strange, whose father is a Stamps native, grew up in California. Strange attended Hendrix to be close to his older brother, who had transferred to the Arkansas school from Tulane University at New Orleans.

Strange returned to California after graduating from Hendrix in 1965 but maintained ties to Arkansas through his brother and father, who still live in the state.

His father, in fact, practices medicine in Stamps at the age of 83.

While vice president of marketing at Healy Insurance Services Agency in San Francisco, Strange began searching for a small insurance company to purchase.

With the help of his brother, Strange discovered AMC, formerly the Webb-Gordon Insurance Agency of Morrilton. The 53-year-old firm, founded by Ada Ruth Gordon and Charles Webb, was just what Strange had in mind. He met with owners Nathan Gordon and Bud Lienhart in July 1983 and bought the company the following March.

"They only had eight employees and no computers," Strange says. "I had to get the company into the 20th century."

By 1987, Strange had moved his entire commercial insurance underwriting business to Arkansas.

'Quality Supplier'

Located in a former home on Morrilton's Cherokee Street, AMC has expanded its facilities to 18,000 SF. The company employs 80 people.

Strange's experience in working with oil companies has brought his firm honors.

Shell Oil Co. recently named American Management Control Systems, an AMC subsidiary, its "1991 Quality Supplier of the Year."

AMCS was one of almost 200 companies across the country nominated for the award.

AMCS monitors the insurance requirements oil companies require of retail outlets. Created in 1983 to "close the gaps" between oil companies and leases, Strange says AMCS clients include Shell, Chevron USA Inc. and ARCO Petroleum Products Co.

AMCS employees attempt to make sure retail outlets meet insurance requirements. They assist the outlets in correcting deficiencies.

"The oil companies tried to do this themselves, but the job usually fell to entry-level employees with no insurance background," Strange says. "AMCS does it electronically, and we have an insurance background."

The oil companies could accomplish the same tasks AMCS handles if they wanted, Strange says.

"But it's not the way they want to spend their resources," he says. "We can do it at a far better cost."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Journal Publishing, Inc.
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Title Annotation:American Management Corp.
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Mar 16, 1992
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