5 things you didn’t know about Preston DerivauxBy NIKKI ROWELL,
He is the great, great, great, great grandson of the founder of Vicksburg Newitt Vick. He was a reserve deputy sheriff for Hinds County, where he won best overall cadet and firearm excellence awards. Once he was struck by lightning, which took his hearing in one ear. He worked as a deckhand on a tow boat on the Mississippi River. He has worked two jobs in his entire career.
For Preston Derivaux, working in insurance is a family affair.
His father had a State Farm agency in Vicksburg for 50 years.
“So, I grew up in the insurance business,” he said. “When I was a youngster, I worked for my dad doing all the janitorial and cleaning. I was exposed to it at a very young age.”
Derivaux recalls Sunday mornings when he and his dad would go to the business after church.
“He would do paperwork and I would clean and stuff,” he said. “I really liked what he did. Customers would call him at home, and he would see to them. So, I was exposed to it all of my life.”
As Derivaux got older, his responsibilities at his father’s agency increased. He would go out and take photographs and measurements for his father’s customers.
“I went from being a kid helping around the office, then I became a teenager with a license so I would take pictures of the houses he would insure,” he said. “And back then, we would take measurements of each one.”
“Seeing him and being around him, I always wanted to do what he did,” Derivaux added. “That’s why I decided to major in insurance.”
The Vicksburg native earned his bachelor’s degree in insurance before taking a job with an insurance company in Memphis.
“I trained with them for a year, before they moved me down to Jackson,” he said.
Later, he was approached by State Farm to open an agency in 1988, which is now one of the largest in the state. They have been working out of the same location since then.
“We’ve been blessed,” he said. There are 10 licensed agents working at his agency. “When we first got started, we didn’t have computers. We went from microfilm to computers, and now we have all the cutting-edge technology.”
At Derivaux’s agency, they offer automobile, home, life and business insurance.
“We do other things, but those are the main ones,” he said.
Derivaux carried his father’s lessons about work ethic with him into his own career.
“I grew up exposed to that work ethic, and I think I got that from him,” Derivaux said. “I enjoy what I do. I work hard.”
His day starts promptly at 5 a.m. First, he gets out his laptop and checks emails and works from home for a couple of hours before getting to the office at 8 a.m.
“I’m usually the last one to leave, which is typically at 6 or 7 p.m.,” he said. “I put in a good minimum 12 hours per day.”
At the office, he says he wears several hats.
“The main thing that I do is manage, but I also try to have as much contact with customers as possible,” he said.
Customer interaction is his favorite part about the job.
“I love helping people,” he said.
He and his wife, Nancy, live in Jackson. Together they have two children, Rob and Beth, and four grandchildren.