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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Lane, Lapland, and Pangborn Win Elton R. Smith Award

L to R: Agents Ken Pangborn, Ron Lapland, and Brian Lane at 2024 Legends Banquet Image credit: Scarlett Piedmonte Download original
Date Posted: February 29, 2024

An unprecedented 3-way tie for the coveted Elton R. Smith Award was announced at the Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan Multi-Line Marketing Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan on February 23rd, 2024. Agents Brian Lane of Macomb, Ron Lapland of Marshall, and Ken Pangborn of Flint were announced as recipients of the company’s most prestigious honor. “I’m so glad all three of us got it,” said Lane, a four-time nominee, upon receiving the award. “This is always a fierce competition.”

The Elton R. Smith Award honors a Farm Bureau Insurance agent who best exhibits commitment to their job, community, the insurance industry, and the Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies. It pays tribute to former Michigan Farm Bureau President Elton R. Smith, whose impact on his community and the Farm Bureau organization remains a legacy. “This is probably the most coveted award that Farm Bureau gives out because it doesn't have anything to do with production,” said Lane, whose contributions to the Michigan chapter of the Make A Wish foundation were highlighted at the event. “It's truly about the person.”

Many fellow agents in the organization credit all three individuals as tremendous mentors, exceedingly generous with their time and wisdom. All three agents are also noted for leadership, servitude and humility in their respective communities. Whether it be supporting charities, schools, food-insecurity programs, agriculture efforts, 4H, or dedicating time and resources to local fairs, there are common themes among their service befitting of the namesake of the award. “We all love our communities and each other,” said Lapland, whose recent contribution to the building of a community park was recognized. “I’m proud and incredibly happy to be honored with these two gentlemen.”

Each winning agent credited the rewarding nature of the career and the supportive community at Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan for their longevity and ability to serve as a helpful resource in their communities. “Looking back over the past thirty years, being able to be there for people when they need it has made what I do with Farm Bureau one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had,” said Pangborn, who announced plans to retire on his 70th birthday this coming year after capping an illustrious and decorated career with this superlative recognition.

“Farm Bureau, what you did tonight will be remembered forever by all three of us,” Pangborn concluded.


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