Every now and then my phone would ring and a familiar voice came through on the other end. Henry Good, a risk management pro, would tell me about something that had to be covered by the magazines I write for. In one case, Henry himself contributed his expertise, revealing something I hadn’t known about him — he got his break in risk management when his boss died in the plane bombing in Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.
So last week when I saw something that was fodder for a good conversation with Henry, I sent him a link via email and waited for what I was sure would be his gut reaction. It’s our thing — to discuss an issue without filters. I saw his name come up on caller ID, so I settled back for a conversation. Only it wasn’t Henry. It was Henry’s wife, Anna. “I saw your note to Henry and wanted to let you know so you didn’t think he was ignoring you. Henry passed away suddenly back in June.”
Henry, who met every challenge (and even created a few, maybe just for the fun he had doing so), was no longer going to be on that phone or sharing a cup of coffee with me at the RIMS conference.
If you didn’t know Henry, I’m sorry for you. Henry was a true risk management professional. Having 34 years at Rohm & Haas Company, 6 years at ABD/Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and nearly 4 years as a risk management consultant, Henry knew the job. In many ways, he was the job. A compliment from Henry was an endorsement worth having. But more than anything, Henry was always ready to speak his mind. While Henry had the ability to get the backs up of many a risk management expert (and association board), he did it for the betterment and advancement of the industry. I remember his complaining to me that the conferences should have more educational sessions. “Where the hell are these people going to learn it otherwise?” he’d say.
Maybe as a direct result of his opinion, there are more educational sessions being offered by at least one trade conference group. Jeff Triplette, risk management specialist and owner of Arbiter Sports, knew Henry well. “Henry was ALWAYS an advocate for the true risk management professional – someone who was involved in helping their company’s senior management identify and understand ALL of its risks, looking for innovative solutions to mitigate those risks and developing strong, personal relationships with those committed to doing the same.
“He had little time or patience with those risk managers who saw their role as ‘insurance buyers’ and looking to land their next job with either another company, insurance company or brokerage firm,” he adds.
Henry pushed for it. He also pushed to get retired risk managers who belonged to RIMS voting rights and power. As Henry put it, why the hell should retired risk managers, who have a ton of knowledge, be ignored?
“Henry Good was a tireless advocate of risk management who always had the energy to teach others about the risk profession,” says Lance Ewing, leader of IPG for AIG’s hospitality & leisure and real estate business. “Henry was the consummate risk professional who always had time for others who were early in their risk management careers. Henry’s DNA was the ability to weave risk management into almost every conversation. He was a champion of advancing risk management.”
Maybe that’s how I’ll remember Henry best. He was smart, savvy, and could see weaknesses and come up with remedies. He was pushy when he felt that change was going to help the risk management ranks. And he had little patience for BS — if it didn’t add up, you can bet Henry was going to be telling someone so and offering solutions.
That’s the thing — Henry didn’t just gripe about a problem. He did what any top-shelf risk management pro would do; he coupled the gripe with a real solution. I for one will miss Henry Good. His brusque style of getting down to the facts was no match for his smart-assed wit and his fun-loving nature. He helped this writer see risk through an entirely different lens.
He also taught me how to tactfully quote him given his no-BS way of speaking. I will forever respect this man because he cared about the profession, and he fought to improve the ranks as well as the support systems around them. He’s missed. And I hope his advocacy inspires other risk management professionals to fight for their colleagues as Henry did. Peace, my friend.