Stay on top of all the fascinating developments at Ashton Tiffany and the wild world of risk management.


Wood or Silverware? You Decide

You’ve probably heard the one about the couple on a first date. The guys says, “I’m tired of talking about me. Why don’t you talk about me for a while?”

We’re going to talk about ourselves a little here, but we’re also going to ask someone else to take the baton and run with it. Here’s what we’ll say:

For the fifth year running, Ashton Tiffany was recognized by AZ Central as a Top Company to Work for in Arizona. Official logo in 3, 2, 1…

We are delighted and proud (and most definitely not humbled) to be recognized once again. We work hard to make this a great place to work. We think you spend too much of your life at the office for “work” to be a four-letter word.

Enough of that. We’ll let the AZ Central blurb do the rest of the talking:

Two years ago, the principals of Ashton Tiffany set out to create a work environment where employees were recognized, appreciated and given room to perform their duties in their own style. Employee feedback, input and participation (are) encouraged throughout the year, not just at review time, and everyone has a personal stake in the performance and success of the organization. In this fun and professional work environment, it’s not uncommon to see staff riding a scooter around the office. Employees enjoy regular happy hours, free lunch Fridays and at least one social event each month.

Really gives you a feel for the vibrant, effervescent environment, right? Okay, you probably have to be here (or at least drive by on tailgate day). But we are, as we said, very pleased to have made this list again, and we’ll work hard to stay on it.

You want to get weird? Let’s get weird.

It Takes Both Kinds

Pontiac, Michigan. A dying city, emblematic of a dying industry, namesake of a dying brand. Ironically, this city revitalized a long-dormant function at Ashton Tiffany: senior executive assistant. That position was recently assumed by Sarah Fink, Pontiac’s favorite daughter:

It’s not just the city, either. Her parents also give her 3½ stars.

The senior executive assistant position had been vacant for some time. The result? An unkept gate: There was nothing to stop the barbarian hordes from making their way to Messrs. Ashton and Tiffany, whose only line of defense was, “Get out. We’re contagious.”

No longer. Sarah Fink is now on that wall, cool as a cat, dangerous as a dragon.

Sarah’s biographical details are a bit odd, as if fabricated by an alien trying to pass as human.

She says her favorite leisure activity is reading. That’s right, she claims to read for pleasure.

Her favorite food, she says, is sugar. Yeah, and mine is flour. Oh, and also nutmeg. Nothing to see here.

Says her favorite band is Gillie Eilish. This appears to be an anagram for, “Hi, I gel lilies,” which is totally something an alien would do (for food or renewable rocket fuel or space gun ammunition or whatever).

Says her favorite sport is hiking. Of course. Because who can forget the classic hiking championships of…uh… Of never. Hiking isn’t a sport.

Finally, when asked to produce her favorite quote, she said, “Each moment is all that we need.” Really? What about waffles?

We like Sarah. We feel lucky to have Sarah. But if we’re being honest, she makes us a bit nervous. That, though, is part of her job.

Next up, Alice Zeller, our newest triage nurse.

Alice could give Sarah some tips on blending in.

Favorite movie? Avatar, the highest grossing film in history.

Favorite sport? Football, the most popular pastime in America.

Favorite musician? Paul McCartney, front man for the most beloved band ever.

You see what I’m saying. If someone tells you, “I like Avatar, football, and Paul McCartney,” you don’t say, “Oh, you’re the one.”

Alice would say, though, that she can get Red Bull-and-Coke on you from time to time. Her favorite hobby is quilting. No, it’s not dangerous, but really, how many people do you know who can quilt? Or who can do it well?

Then there’s the weirdest food she ever ate: oxtails. This is not only gastronomically adventurous, it represents good stewardship of the planet. You’d think the tail would go in the garbage. Instead, it went in Alice’s tummy.

Finally, she’s from New Jersey. And as any Jerseyite will tell you, when you’re from Jersey, it’s you against the world.

Well, almost. Because Sarah and Alice are Team AT now, it’s us against the world.

The world is gonna lose.

Echo Papa

To celebrate the arrival of our new legal nurse consultant, Denise Ford, we’ve invited our friend Steve Hemingway to guest-write her bio. Yes, he’s from that Hemingway family. But Steve tells us he has a style all his own.

Here’s Steve with Denise’s bio:


Denise Ford was born in Glendale, California. Glendale is a fine city, with parks and roomy boulevards as pleasant as those in Paris or Havana.

Working as a nurse, Denise had seen many terrible things. But these things did not wreck her. When they pulled her close, when they gave her hell, she reflected on Glendale. This brought her comfort. Sickness and death could not take Glendale from her.

Away from work, she would go to the trattoria. Depending on the season, she might order cioppino or a short glass of Amarone. Always, the owner Lorenzo would bring her a small pastry, perhaps a plate of hazelnuts. There was too little kindness like this in the world, she thought.

In very quiet times, she dreamt of Bora Bora, with its coconut trees, bungalows, and burning blue waters. If only she could get to Bora Bora, things might be different. But there were dogs to feed, and a new job. She loved these things, but they demanded their price.

Today, then, she would not let herself dream. Perhaps tomorrow. Tomorrow was a promise that still might be kept.


All right, so it turns out Steve has a style that’s all someone else’s. But that’s okay! We’ll just call it an homage and let you say hi and good luck to Denise:


Those overdribbling underwriters across town are through

Due to circumstances well within our control, there’s been a backlog of new employee introductions. Today we recklessly switch metaphors, break up the plaque, and get the blood flowing again.

First up, at point guard, we’ve got Megan Bradley, who recently joined our nurse triage program.

Megan provided us with the most romantic quote of the year so far, saying that her dream vacation is “anywhere with my husband.” (Fact-checkers, please verify. Specific test sites should include Caracas, Mogadishu, and Zaranj.)

Despite being a health professional, Megan loves her an gyro. As for “social,” she wants you to know that she doesn’t use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. She does dabble, however, in YouTube, WhatsApp, WeChat, QQ, Tumblr, Tik Tok, Groink, Splishy, Reddit, HotFace, Sprist, OhWouldYouPlease, Snapchat, Viber, Pinterest, Zince, and Goof Drone.

Finally, the one thing Megan says she can’t live without is kindling. Definitely important. (Fact-checkers, please verify that this isn’t the e-reader issue again.)

At shooting guard, from the green mountain land of Bernie, Jerry, and Ben, we give you Michelle Carter.

Michelle can’t whistle, but if she could she’d summon her good friend and faithful traveling companion, Tater, for their next journey. Where might they go? Probably not to the extremely specific destination of Pescara, Italy, because Michelle has already been there. (That’s as far from home as she’s gotten.)

We asked Michelle about her favorite movie, and she said the word “love” followed by the word “actually.” So, was she was making an unexpected reference to the gripping 2005 Sergij Trifunovic film, or talking about the treacly Hugh Grant thing? We don’t know, but we know Tater doesn’t care, and that’s good enough for us.

Finally, Michelle grew up wanting to be a teacher, and she’s already taught us so much. Here’s a polished apple for you, Chelle. (Honeycrisp, of course, not one of those ironically named Red Deliciouses.)

At power forward, let’s have a hand for Thomas Partin.

Yes, kinda like Dolly. No, not the sheep.

Thomas was born in Tucson, Arizona, home to the #2 university in the whole state! He says he loves seafood, and has tried some crazy stuff. We casually asked if he’d ever been to Fiskfelagid, the great little hakarl joint in Fáskrúðsfjörður. Shut that conversation right down.

TP’s favorite movie is The Hustler. Yes, before there was, “Charlie bit my finger,” there was, “They broke my thumbs.” That was greatness.

And here’s an interesting first for Ashton Tiffany: Thomas used to be a private detective. We probably don’t need to warn you, TP, but watch yourself around the blond dame with the gams. You need her like a parrot needs a pea shooter.

At small forward, give it up for Rich Heuer.

Rich is from Buffalo, and wants you to know that the thing you’ve been calling a buffalo all these years is actually a bison (*figuratively adjusts glasses*). Rich is a regular guy: favorite food is a hot dog, favorite movie is Caddyshack. His one indulgence is that he has both a pool and a pond.

Rich’s dream vacation is skiing. Not coincidentally, he says he can’t live without Chapstick. He is one of an estimated seven people who will get the Suzy Chapstick reference in this sentence. Finally, he once scuba dived—scuba dove?—and saw a rare Greenland shark. We can’t wait to hear the story.

Anchoring the whole thing at center, and bringing both a post-up game and touch from the perimeter, we give you Crew Warner.

“Crew” is an acronym for Christyan-Raygynn Elizabeth Warner. Jane Doe, she is not.

Her favorite movie is Perks of Being a Wallflower. (Proofreaders, please see what CMOS says about “perks” vs. “perqs.”) Favorite band? Blink 182. Say it ain’t so, Crew! But she probably knows her business better than we: She writes and sings songs, and remains a major inspiration for Lisa Loeb.

Crew grew up wanting to be a marine biologist, and her favorite quote is, “Remember who you wanted to be.” Storm clouds: We fear that one day Crew will have to choose between Ashton Tiffany and the quest to save Somniosus microcephalus. You know what we say? Hakarl forever!

Internet Anonymous

Here at the AT newsfeed, what we say matters. Careers can be made or broken, lives elevated or destroyed, all with a simple press of the ENTER key.

Is there risk in what we do? Sure. But we’re used to having danger sit shotgun.

Of course, not everyone wants to join us for that ride. That’s why this week, in introducing you to our two new employees, we’re going to present one bogus biography and one authentic one.

Undoubtedly, you’ll want to know which is which—just as firing squad conscripts want to know who shot the conscience round. But that’s not gonna happen.

First let’s meet our new underwriter and AT culture warrior, Ann Marie Hernandez:

Ever wonder if it will play in Peoria? You can check with Ann Marie, because that’s where she’s from: Peoria, Illinois. (She has zero time for those low-life hooligans in Springfield.)

Ann Marie plays the banjo, and has heard every Deliverance joke you can think of. Try one on her, and she’s liable to drown you out with a little Foggy Mountain Breakdown. You can’t beat her at this game, so you might as well join her. Bring your dobro.

A completely unrelated hobby for Ann Marie—one of the more unusual ones we’ve come across—is butter sculpting. She admits to being a bit of a perfectionist in this pursuit, but says there’s simply no margarine for error.

Her dream vacation is very specific: Whistler, British Columbia. Beautiful place, and an easy target for a juvenile joke: “Whistler? I don’t even know her.”

We hope you make it up to Canada soon, A.M. But maybe hang with us until the spring thaw.

Next up is Krisanne Hudson, our new nurse triage program supervisor:

Krisanne’s from Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the graduations hang on the wall. And Krisanne’s got a slew of them. In fact, there are so many letters after her name, her business card has an extender-flap.

There’s an odd exoskeleton theme working its way through her bio: She loves she-crab soup (when prepared properly), but hates crickets and grasshoppers (no matter how they’re prepared). One reason for the latter may be their nasty habit of spitting. Cobras and alpacas got nothing on them.

Krisanne’s no stranger to expectoration, either—in the face of death, that is. How so? She digs zip-lining and bungee jumping. But who’s surprised? She’s mighty, just like the river that bears her name.

Welcome to Ashton Tiffany, Krisanne. May the crab roe in your soup be as orange as a prison jumpsuit.

New Honeybees Spreading Pollen

Yes, we’ve got three new employees. Let’s meet them now!

First, there’s Angelina Rivas.

Looks like she’s got her head in the clouds, right? She does. In fact, one of her pastimes is parasailing. It’s riskier than working a nail gun in a lumber mill next to an ICBM silo, but she loves the thrill.

What else does she like? “All music other than heavy metal,” she says. So, even Gheorghe Zamfir, master of the pan flute? Even “countrypolitan” singer Slim Whitman? Even Sigue Sigue Sputnik? Yes, yes, and oh my goodness yes.

Angie aspired to be an attorney growing up, but she ended up with us, working on claims. Trying to be accommodating, we’ve given her free rein to shout, “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! This whole claim file is out of order!” That’ll shake things up. (Attorney’s note: The claim files of Ashton Tiffany and its affiliates, partners, business associates, subsidiaries, overseas divisions, and franchisees are, in fact, never out of order.)

Next up is Mike Del Vecchio.

He says he’s got 51 years of experience…at being Mike Del Vecchio. This makes him the best Mike Del Vecchio one can imagine. (HR tells us that none of the other Mike Del Vecchio candidates even came close.)

Mike says his favorite food is, “All.” Yes, that’s a quote. So, does he eat laundry detergent? Or is he just ecumenical in his dining habits? Check back for updates.

Mike also wanted to share this belief with us: “Our purpose in life is to help others.” WOW. I really wish someone had mentioned this earlier, because I have been totally whiffing. But not Mike…he’s a good guy…a good man…and a great addition to Ashton Tiffany.

Finally, there’s Catie Bassett:

Favorite food? Spaghetti with garlic bread. Favorite activity? Hot pilates. Dicey scenario? Big spaghetti/garlic bread dinner, immediately followed by hot pilates.

Here are two other weirdly related facts about Katie: (1) she’s never broken a bone; and (2) she aspired to be an actress growing up. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? She’s a natural for Mrs. Dunn in the upcoming “Unbreakable” sequel (which is really happening).

Finally, she says her favorite quote is anything from Walt Disney. So, we’ll end Catie’s bio with this gem from the happiest man on earth:

Do you see the name on that parking spot? Yeah? And what does it say? Does it say Joe Blow? No. It says Walt (expletive deleted) Disney. Is your name Walt (expletive deleted) Disney? No. So go find a parking spot that says Joe Blow, and park your piece of (expletive deleted) car there. Oh and, one more thing: If you ever park in my spot again, you’ll be working the puke mop on the Matterhorn for the next 40 years. Do we understand each other? Good. Now get the (expletive deleted) out of here.

Okay, that was mean. Walt Disney would never say such a thing (and if he did, Catie would never support it). Here’s something he really did say…something we hope will inspire Catie, her two new colleagues, all ATers, and anybody else who’s still reading:

First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.


Who’s the first person you see when you roll into AT? It’s our new employee, Lauren Mardian:

She likes to wake and bake…muffins! In fact, she wanted to be a baker growing up. But she ended up taking the path of yeast resistance.

Her favorite food is a classic: spaghetti. She’s had octopus, too, with piave confetti. If she wants to get in good with our Operation Screaming Eagle team, she could try this efficiency-enhancing process improvement: spaghetti al polpo. (Combining the two foods results in a net time savings of 42.3 minutes. Plus, should she accidentally overcook the pasta, the rubbery tentacles of the octopus will still produce that delightful al dente mouth feel.)

Here’s something novel about our new hire: She’s a dues-paying member of the Eric Church Choir. (Editor’s note: Eric Church is not a house of worship or a faith community. He’s a country music singer. His fans are in the “choir.”)

Finally, Lauren doesn’t own a TV or computer. (At least that’s what she told our recruiter.) So, is she a fixture at barn-raisings? Or does she just do everything on her smartphone? We don’t know, but we’re looking forward to finding out.

Welcome, Lauren! We’ll have a seat while Mr. Ashton finishes his recap.


We’ve got three new employees. Let’s get to know them.

First, there’s Clarissa Golden.

As a hobby, she says she’s into “baking and refurbishing furniture.” So, Clarissa, can you bake us up a stylish divan? Says she can’t live without her hairbrush, and we believe her. (Were this claim to come from Blanca on OITNB, we’d be skeptical.) Finally, as a youngster, she says she aspired to be the best version of herself. Wuh-zow! My youthful aspiration was to get my whole fist in my mouth.

Next, we give you Daryl Draper.

He’s a controversial character, even by Ashton Tiffany standards. Says his favorite food is mocoto. The main ingredient in that is cow’s feet. And the main ingredient in cow’s feet is feet. Next, his favorite movie is “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” That’s right…the one with the teddy bears, the one that’s aged about as well as “Corvette Summer.” But, you know, Leia in a bikini covers a host of sins. Now here’s where it gets really weird. He says the farthest destination he’s traveled to is Brazil. And he says that his dream vacation would be to…Brazil. Finally, growing up he dreamt of being a good husband and father. Again, I have to take a critical look in the mirror: As a young shaver, I dreamt of spitting off the Empire State Building.

Batting third, we have Sarah Rusnak.

Sarah’s from Chicago. (With a name like Rusnak, where else is she going to be from?) Her favorite band is Five Finger Death Punch. This raises a number of important questions. Does the thumb count as a finger, or does the death punch involve four fingers on one hand and one finger on the other? Are death punches ever delivered with fewer than five fingers? What’s scarier: (1) a five-finger death punch; or (2) the five point palm exploding heart technique? (Talk amongst yourselves.) Growing up, Sarah wanted to be a hair dresser. Me? I wanted to burp the alphabet backwards. I never got past “P” before running out of burps, but Sarah blew by salon row and landed at Ashton Tiffany. There’s a lot of unfortunate hair out there as a result—some of it ours—but we’re happy that Sarah’s with us.

Welcome, you three! Piping hot mocoto awaits you in the lounge. (Try to ignore the cow in the wheelchair.)


Most people have heard the Biblical tale of the prodigal son. And most people, it seems, think that “prodigal son” means something akin to “long, lost son.”

“Prodigal” actually means “wastefully or recklessly extravagant.” How does that fit the Biblical story? The prodigal son asks for his inheritance from his father, and gets it. He then blows the cash on savory duckmeat burritos; Blanton’s single barrel bourbon; and Fathead gladiator memorabilia. Before long, he’s broke. He spent a big pile of cash on extravagances and ended up penniless. That’s being prodigal.

All of which brings us to Roshell Lee. She used to work at Ashton Tiffany as a member services coordinator. Then she left us for Wisconsin, for what we assumed would be forever. But we were wrong, and she’s come back to us.

Based on the story set-up, you’re probably thinking she returned to AT wearing a barrel and suspenders, with a barren Blanton’s bunker in her wake. But no; she’s not given to prodigality. At a certain point, she just looked around the Badger State and did one of these:

Our response? Well, let’s just say the fatted calves are lowing their goodbyes.


Next up on the new employee roster is Mike Abersold from Hamilton, Ohio. If the Midwest produced an All-American Guy action figure, it would be Mike. He likes bowling, chicken wings, football, Taylor Swift, and Saving Private Ryan. Plus, he recently joined Ashton Tiffany as a claims adjuster. That, as anyone who’s seen “Cedar Rapids” can tell you, is a noble calling.

But you want to know the most intriguing thing about Mike Absersold? It’s the prodigious number of meaningful anagrams his name can generate. We’ll string out a handful of our favorites below. Before we do that, though, we just want to say hello and welcome, Mike. We couldn’t be happier to have you.

Now let’s get our Mike Abersold anagrams on!

adobe milkers

blokes admire

elders akimbo

armed obelisk

bedmaker oils

bike earldoms

bleak misdoer

brailed smoke

amber kid loses

milks a rose bed

Feel free to create your own and submit them directly to Mike!


A pool is just an insurance company. Like any other insurance company, if the pool isn’t properly funded, or if its money is mismanaged, it’s putting insureds at risk. But how do you know if your pool’s financial affairs are in order?

The Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP)—the nation’s foremost authority on public entity pooling—has set forth some useful standards for evaluating this question. Whether you’re a pool administrator wanting to make sure you’ve got your ducks crossed and your Ts in a row, or you’re a board member looking to hold pool staff accountable, here are some things to look for: