Mr. Edwin R. Skinner
Class of 1959
Career Pathway: Business, Management, Marketing & Technology
Edwin R. Skinner is the retired senior vice president of marketing and sales for Auto-Owners Insurance Company, a Fortune 500 company doing business in 25 states with about 3,600 associates.
Mr. Skinner began his insurance career in 1959 following graduation from GHS. He started as an independent agent in the Grayling Insurance Agency, working for John Bruun and Melvin Nielson, notable Grayling businessmen. In 1964, he continued his insurance career by joining Auto-Owners Insurance Company in Lansing. Until his retirement in 2005, He served in a number of management positions with the company, including regional vice president of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin; vice president of the company's Michigan operations; vice president of marketing; vice president of sales; vice president of regional sales operations; and senior vice president of marketing and sales.
Ed, who grew up in Frederic and Grayling, was the only son of George and Beatrice Skinner, who also had four daughters. His father is deceased and his mother, age 92, still lives independently in Traverse City near two of his sisters. He began his early schooling in Frederic, completed the sixth, seventh and eighth grades at St. Mary's Catholic School in Grayling and completed his high school education at GHS. He chose to work throughout his high school years rather than participate in sports.
He credits his work ethic, learned in Grayling, as a strong asset throughout his insurance career. In spite of not possessing a college degree, Mr. Skinner advanced successfully in the business world by making the most of his education at GHS. He has fond memories of many of his former teachers and classmates, who were major factors in shaping both his education and his positive can-do attitude.
His family consists of his wife Donna, son Craig (who, with his wife Lori, has two daughters, Nicole and Alexis) and daughter Kelly, (who, with her husband, Jim, has three sons, Tommy, Nick and Sam). They all reside in the Lansing area. Ed and Donna enjoy golf, family activities, leisure travel and time at their cottage on Eight Point Lake in Clare County.
A letter from Auto-Owners Insurance was read at the ceremony:
"Dear Mr. Powers: It gives me great honor to share in the recognition of Edwin R. Skinner and join you and others in honoring him as an inductee into the Grayling High School Alumni Hall of Fame. Having known Ed for many years, he is truly a successful professional in every sense of the word and is worthy of the honor you are bestowing upon him. Ed began his career with Auto-Owners Insurance in 1964, joining our Accounting Department after beginning his insurance industry career with the Grayling Insurance Agency. Upon joining Auto-Owners, Ed enjoyed much success, being promoted and advanced into areas of additional responsibility 15 times over the next 40 years with our company. At his retirement, Ed had risen through the ranks of the company to become senior vice president, marketing and sales, and a valued contributor and member of the executive team of our company. He served our company favorably with distinction and pride over these many years. He retired as a friend, mentor and leader to many. While we are unable to be there in person to help in honoring Ed, he is highly commended and recommended for the recognition you are giving to him. We thank him for his many years of faithful service to our company, the industry and to those he so wonderfully served throughout his career. With you, we extend our very best wishes to him, Donna and his entire family. -Sincerely, Roger L. Looyenga, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Auto-Owners Insurance."