Posted by: danielrashke | October 4, 2012

Don Rashke (1932-2012)

As CEO, I must focus on diverse issues, and I find it quite challenging to establish and evaluate leadership criteria. Some qualities inherent in a successful leader include strong values, integrity, vision, compassion, and courage. While few individuals embody all of these characteristics day in and day out, I believe one person came incredibly close—and that person was Don Rashke. Don Rashke was my father and the founder of TASC. He died on September 27, 2012 in Houston, Texas.

Don was born February 3, 1932 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After proudly serving four years as Seaman First Class in the US Navy, Don went to work in the print shop of the Milwaukee Journal newspaper. As our family grew, he decided to leave Milwaukee so we could grow up in the country, and in 1965, with no farming experience he and my mother bought a dairy farm in Amherst, Wisconsin. They spent the next ten years running a successful farm and raising a herd of prize winning Holstein cows.

In 1975, Don switched directions again, selling the farm equipment and cows and joining Aetna as an insurance agent. He even started his own agency, The Insurance Center. Don became an extremely successful insurance broker, breaking many sales records and making the Million Dollar Round Table. By his second year he was promoted to Regional Sales Director, and after only three years had the top selling region.

In working with our farming neighbors, Don developed a deep compassion for their struggles, like affording health care. After discovering a seldom used section of the tax code, Don developed AgriPlan and BizPlan, two services that provide much needed tax savings to hundreds of thousands of family farmers and small business owners nationwide. In just the last ten years, AgriPlan and BizPlan have saved these small business owners collectively over one billion dollars.

In 1987, Don moved his company to Madison, Wisconsin, changing its name to Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC), and divesting all insurance holdings. Concentrating solely on developing and marketing employee benefits accounts, TASC became the largest privately held third-party administrator in the country. Don retired from TASC in 1996, but remained the company’s Chairman of the Board for another 16 years, working with management to define goals, to implement plans for carrying out strategies, and to encourage controlled growth. After retirement, he moved to Houston, Texas, was active in local community theater, and authored a book entitled Adventures of Mustang Sally.

For all of my 47 years he was a father like no other, and for most of my adult life he led me professionally and personally. I learned about passion and drive by watching him work. He taught me how to look past the little things to see the big picture, because it’s the big vision that provides an overall greater good for all that are touched by it. He soared like an eagle and encouraged me to do the same.

All TASC employees, representatives, customers and I owe Don Rashke a debt of gratitude for his vision, drive, and heartfelt commitment to providing worthwhile services to those who need it most.  He set an excellent example of a life well lived.


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