Moments in Time
Moments in Time is a weekly series featuring recollections of area residents. To suggest someone to feature in Moments in Time, please contact Mary Jane Grenzow, editor, at email@example.com.
Mosher grew up in Beloit and was part of a divorced family, making him feel somewhat invisible in school, he said. It was later in life that he would find the core of his identity and family. Still, he was active and athletic. He was a 95-pound wrestler at age 16, and it took the now 6-foot Mosher until college to fully blossom, both physically and socially.
The 1970 Beloit High School graduate didn't really have a plan once he graduated, but decided to attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. It wasn't long before he met with a counselor there who saw results from his aptitude test and encouraged Mosher to find a business school that would better suit his strengths.
When he decided to transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mosher had found his home. He reveled in the university's atmosphere, joining a fraternity and quickly became the group's social chairman. He met his future wife, Jo Ellen, who was from Monroe, and the couple would often spend time in the small town where her parents still lived.
Mosher graduated with a degree in advertising. The couple was soon married, and he landed a job with a bank in Beloit, where the couple lived for four years. He had earned an officer rank there, but soon his father-in-law approached him about the insurance business, wondering if Mosher had ever thought about a career in it.
He hadn't, but the idea was inviting.
"Once I do something, I do it," he said, noting that he easily acquired his insurance license and went on to earn four post-graduate degrees in insurance. He and Jo Ellen moved to Monroe, and he worked alongside his father-in-law, Jim Gordee, who owned the business since 1965. The business dates to 1910 - giving it deep Monroe roots of which Mosher is still very proud.
He enjoyed working the business and officially purchased it in 1994. Today, Dave Mosher & Associates has four locations and about 20 employees.
"One of my taglines is "I hate insurance companies,'" he said with a laugh. He noted that he has a mission to show people the underbelly of insurance. "I want to teach people, help them understand and advocate for them."
But Mosher isn't just all about business. It was that fraternity that felt like family where he learned how important it was to volunteer time and give back to the community. He said he was barely unpacked in Monroe when someone asked if he would be the Campaign Chairman for United Way in 1979, and he agreed.
He joined the Kiwanis Club in 1975 while in Beloit and continued with the Monroe group once he came to town, serving as the board president for a time.
Mosher enjoys making things happen and holds one special program in Green County near and dear to his heart: He became the founder of the Green County Big Brothers/Big Sisters group in 1985. When it was time to look at the community's needs, the Kiwanis Club paid to survey Green County, and the results showed that the area needed mentorship for children. When those results came back, it was Mosher who took the helm.
When he looked to other counties for help, they told him it would never work.
"I'm the kind of guy who says "if you want it to happen, just tell me I can't do it,'" he said. Today, the program mentors hundreds of children all over Green County. There are several fundraisers for the program that Mosher is also very active with.
What the program has become is something Mosher could've never imagined.
"It's humbling," he said. He served as the group's first president and about a decade later served as president again. Recently, a foundation for the program, the Dave Mosher Foundation for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, was born.
Mosher is even matched up with a "Little" again, something that's been most rewarding for him.
"If someone tells me I'm too old or I don't have enough time - I do," he said.
Mosher and his wife are involved with Union Presbyterian Church where Mosher served as a Sunday School teacher and now stays active in the church's building campaigns. Although he jokes that he shouldn't touch tools, he said he feels honored to be asked to be on building committees because he can motivate people and get things done.
Mosher said that wherever his business has an office, it's important to him to be present in that community. When he opened an office in Evansville, he started the Evansville Community Partnership and became the first president and later became the Evansville Chamber of Commerce president. He said it was something he saw that was needed in the town.
"Like Yogi Berra says, "If you open your eyes, you can see an awful lot,'" Mosher said.
Mosher earned the Outstanding Young Citizen for the Jaycees and is a past president. Mosher served on the New Glarus Chamber Board for 20 years, spending 12 as president. He is very proud of his help with the group's annual budget to promote New Glarus.
"You have to give back," he said. "There's so many people that could buy insurance but how many are going to give what you make back? I want to give back to the community."
He is the vice president of the Monroe Country Club and served as a board member for the Green County Development Corporation. He said he regularly asks himself how to make Green County a place where people want to raise a family and work. His goal is to make and keep Monroe a place where young people will want to come and stay.
Mosher also recently landed his first acting gig with the Monroe Theatre Guild, playing Max Finger, a businessman from his own distant family background, that he recreated for the performance. It was an enjoyable experience and reminded him that he's not beyond trying something new.
A dream came to fruition recently for Mosher when his son, Scott, decided to join the business. In many ways, he sees his son following in his footsteps in business and philanthropy work, and it brings him a great amount of pride. He can see differences, too.
"He's steady. I'm reactionary. It's a real complement to each other," he said of Scott, now the operations manager, being involved with business decisions. "I'm bright enough to know the future of this agency isn't what I envision - it's what someone 30 years younger than me envisions."
Mosher enjoys his free time today spending time with his three children and seven grandchildren, and he looks forward to their get-togethers.
He said his wife is so supportive of his involvement because she, too, is known for her time spent making a difference in the community. Mosher is still a big-time Badger fan and gathers with those frat brothers at several games, belting out in unison a cheer adapted from the 1960s.
"You grow roots by being a part of a community," he said.