P.O. Box 879,
Gastonia, NC 28053

(800) 849-9287

Protecting What's Important

Gastonia Team


AGENCY PRINCIPALS

Tom Watson
Thomas C. Watson, Jr.
President 
Email
 (704) 854-4650





Education:

Attended Gastonia public schools and Asheville School, Asheville, NC.  Tom completed his undergraduate work and earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1963.   In 1965, Tom graduated with a Masters of Business Administration majoring in insurance in 1965 from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania.

Insurance Associations/Organization Affiliations:

1980-1981 - Carolinas Association of Professional Insurance Agents –President
1965 – Present - Watson Insurance Agency, Inc. and Watson Investment of Gastonia, Inc. - President and Treasurer

Awards/Accreditations:

1994 – “Paul Harris Fellowship” Gastonia East Rotary Club
1992 – “Boss of the Year” Gaston-Cleveland Assoc. of Insurance Women
1979 – “The Professional Agent of the Year” by Professional Insurance Agents of America
1979 - “Carolinas Agent of the Year” by CPIA
1978 – Became Life Member  - Insurance Firemark Society of the PIA.
1976 – 1977 – “Boss of the Year” – Gastonia Assoc. of Insurance Women
1974 – Diploma in Risk Management
1968 – Received CPCU Designation (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) Community Involvement:
1993 – Gaston Co. Chamber of Commerce – Chairman Southern Specialty Printing, Inc. – Gastonia, NC
1990 – 1991 – Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium Inc. – President
1993 – 1994 – United Way of Gaston County – Chairman Executive Search Committee
1987 – 2001 – Asheville School Alumni Council (President 1997 – 2001)
1997 – Present – Asheville School Board of Trustees – Ex-officio First Bank of Gaston, Gastonia, NC – Director
1997 – 1999 – First Gaston Bank, Gastonia, NC – Chairman of the Board
Former Board Member:   Gaston Country Club
Gaston County Merchants Assoc. (Past President)
Gastonia East Rotary Club – Charter Member & Past President
First Union National  Bank of NC, Gastonia, NC City Board
Salvation Army Boys Club
Gaston Day School, Trustee
Gaston Skills, Inc. (Past President)
Wachovia Bank & Trust Co., Gastonia, NC – City Board

Hobbies: 

Water and Snow Skiing, Boating, and Gardening

Tom is the second generation of Watsons to work in the family agency.  Having started his career with the agency in 1965, Tom took over from his father, Thomas Craig Watson, Sr., in 19xx.  Tom has been at the helm of the agency ever since and his strong commitment to his community and dedication to his clients are evident in every part of Watson Insurance.


Craig_Watson01.jpg
Thomas Craig Watson, III
Vice President/General Manager
Email
 (704) 854-4653




Education:

Gaston Day School
Gardner Webb University - Graduated with Bachelor of Science in Business in 1987

Affiliations: 

Independent Insurance Agents of NC Insurance Association

Community Involvement: 

German American Chamber of Commerce
Organizer and Former Director of Carolina Premier Bank
Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
Gaston County Chamber of Commerce
Director Boys and Girls Club of Gaston County
President of Gardner Webb Alumni Board
Organizer and Former Director of Gastonia Police Foundation

Hobbies: 

Skiing, Fishing, Obstacle Racing, and Hunting

Craig is one of the third generation Watsons to join the Corporation in 1987.  Craig is a Vice President and General Manager of the Agency as well as the Information Technology Department and Life/Health Department. 

 


Rob Watson
Rob Watson, AAI, CIC
Vice President
Email 
(704) 854-4655





Awards/Accreditations: 

AAI
CIC

Community Involvement:

Lake Wylie Rotary
Catherine’s House
Lake Wylie Children’s Charity

Rob is one of the third generation Watsons who joined the Corporation in 1986.  Rob is the Vice President of the Agency and is the Commercial Lines Manager specializing in Metal Recyclers, Municipalities, and Transportation.


  WATSON MANAGEMENT


Amedeo DeCarolis
Amedeo DeCarolis
CFO
Email 
(704) 854-4685





Education: 

Associates and Bachelor Degree from University of Louisville

Amedeo joined the Watson Insurance Agency in 2004 and holds the position of CFO.  He has over 20 years’ experience in finance and operation of several international capital equipment sales. Amedeo was born and raised in Italy moving to the States as a young adult to study.  After receiving a degree from the University of Louisville, he was hired by an Italian financial institution in their credit foreign exchange internship program in their Atlanta branch.  He was hired and ran all financial aspects of an Italian multinational for the North American headquarter, prior to joining Watson. 


Walter_Gray01.jpg
Walter H. Gray, CPCU
Sales Manager for Commercial Accounts Dept.
Email 
(704) 854-4663




Education: 

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from UNC Chapel Hill – 1976

Awards/Accreditations: 
 
1983 – CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter)
1980 – “Project of the Year”  - Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival
1993 – “Boss of the Year”  - Gaston-Cleveland Assoc. of Insurance Women
2011 – “Five Star Business Insurance Professional” – Business North Carolina magazine

Community Involvement: 

1986 – First Chairman of Fish Camp Jam
1987 -  United Arts Council of Gaston County – President
1992 – 1999 – Founding member of Gaston Festivals, Inc. which ran Fish Camp Jam Festival
1995-2001 – Gastonia Planning Commission – Chairman for final year of service
2005-2010 – Board of Directors of Gaston Country Club  (President in 2009)

Walter joined the Watson Insurance Agency in 1979 and is currently the Sales Manager for the Commercial Accounts Department. His industry experience helps him specialize to serve accounts in manufacturing, contracting, real estate, health care, workers compensation, contract bonding, executive protection, and multi-location property.  He puts a special emphasis on controlling all costs of risk, especially workers compensation costs.

 


Debra_Hoffman01.jpg

Debra C. Hoffman, CIC, CPIW 
Information Technology Manager
Email 
(704) 854-4654





Education:

Associates in Arts Degree in Business Administration

Associations/Organization Affiliations: 

Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina
Insurance Women of North Carolina (Past President)
Gaston/Cleveland Association of Insurance Women (Past President)
Applied Client Network of the Carolina's (Past President)

Awards/Accreditations: 

CIC  - Certified Insurance Counselor Designation
CPIW - Certified Professional Insurance Women Designation
INS - Certificate in General Insurance
NC Property & Casualty License
NC Life & Health License

Community Involvement: 

Gaston Symphonic Band
Lutheran Chapel Church and Choir

After finishing college, Debra was hired by Watson Insurance Agency, Inc. as a file clerk.  She has moved throughout the ranks working as a personal lines agent, commercial lines agent, commercial lines account manager, and has been the Information Technology Manager since 2001.  She has worked for one company after college, Watson Insurance Agency, Inc. for over 40 years. Debra enjoys playing music with her Church and the Symphonic band and spending time with her family.


Heather Mercer
Heather Mercer 
Commercial Lines Operations Manager
Email
(704) 854-4673





Education:


Graduated from North Gaston High School Magna Cum Laude

Awards/Accreditations:

INS Insurance Designation – Certificate in General Insurance
CIC designation – Certified Insurance Counselor

Heather joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2003 as an intern in the mail room/switchboard. She then moved into the processing department and then to Account Manager Assistant where she trained to move into the Account Manager position which she held for many years. Heather was promoted in 2016 to Commercial Lines Manager. She specializes in commercial property and casualty coverage. 


Jan Wood (1 of 1).jpg
Jan Wood, CPIW  (Retired)
Personal Lines Manager
Email 
(704) 854-4641





Awards/Accreditations:

INS Certificate in General Insurance
CPIW (Certified Professional Insurance Woman)

Jan began her insurance career with Watson Insurance Agency, Inc. in 1977 as a Personal Lines Agent and was promoted to Sales Manager in 1991.  In 2002, she became Personal Lines Manager. Over the years, she has earned her INS and CPIW designations as well as the High Achiever Award in 2006 and 2009 from a National Insurance Carrier.  She currently serves on several national councils.

 


BENEFITS DEPARTMENT


Melanie_Davis01.jpg
Melanie Davis 
Benefits Producer
Email 
(704) 854-4638




Education: 

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Appalachian State University with concentration in Finance/Risk Management & Insurance

Melanie joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in September 2004 and specializes in sales and marketing for small to medium size groups as well as individual medical, life, long-term care, disability, and Medicare. 

 


Cheryl Gibby Cheryl Gibby 
 Employee Benefits Claims Specialist
 Email
 (704) 854-4620





Education: 

South Point High School

Awards/Accreditations:   
Life and Health License
NC Medicare Suppliement
Long Term Care Agent

Community Involvement: 
Volunteer Secretary at two local churches
Kids Church Teacher

Cheryl joined Watson Insurance Agency 2016, bringing with her experience in Human Resources, Account Management, and Employee Benefits.


Jennifer_Joyce01.jpg
Jennifer Joye
Benefits Producer
Email
 (704) 854-4684




Education:


Gaston College

Awards/Accreditations:

NC Property & Casualty License
Life & Health Licenses held in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

Community Involvement:
Lake Wylie Children’s Charity
Relay for Life

Jennifer joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in July of 2006 and specializes in Employee Benefits, Administrative Services Only, Individual Life and Disability Income Replacement,and has extensive knowledge on Healthcare Reform. She has also worked with consumer-driven products such as Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, and Flexible Spending Plans and is up to date on all new laws that apply to these products.

In 2012, Jennifer started working with outside vendors along with the Watson in-house Wellness Coordinator to create Wellness Programs that can be customized to fit the client's needs.   


Elizabeth Scott
Elizabeth Scott
Employee Benefits Account Manager
Email
(704) 854-4621





Awards/Accreditations:

NC Life & Health License

Elizabeth joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2011 bringing 20 years of experience in the Employee Benefits and Human Resources fields.  She is currently specializing in employee benefits and self-funded medical plans.


COMMERCIAL LINES DEPARTMENT


Brian_Bazemore01.jpg  Brian Bazemore 
  Commercial Lines Agent
Email
  (704) 854-4660




Education: 
Attended East Carolina University

Awards/Accreditations: 
NC Property & Casualty License
NC Life & Health License
SC Non-Residence Property & Casualty License
SC Non-Residence Life & Health License

Community Involvement: 
President of the Union Road Jaguars youth football program.

Brian joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2001 as a Commercial Lines Agent. He has experience in various types of risk management for large manufacturers and contractors ranging from executive risk to workers compensation. Brian specializes in loss control implementation, workers compensation, product liability, claims management, cost management, MOD analysis and management, market evaluation, and most of all client relations. 

Brian is married with children and is very active in his community.  


Michael Betters  Michael Betters 
  Business Insurance Executive
Email
  (704) 854-4657





Education: 

B.S. in Finance with a concetration in Risk Management

Awards/Accreditations: 
NC Property & Casualty License
CLCS - Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist
SBCS - Small Business Covreage Specialist

Community Involvement: 
President of the Rotary Club of Charlotte - Evening for 2017-2018
Distinguished Rotarian award for 2015-2016

Michael is a 2nd generaton insurance professional. He spent his first 5 years in the industry with a national agency in various roles, marketing, sales, and service.  Michael has experience in the servicing of commercial clients.  His industry specialization is as a generalist.   


Brandy Brown
 Brandy Brown
 Small Business Agent
Email
 (704) 854-4619

 Education: 
 Associates in Office System Technology

Awards/Accreditations: 
CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative)
INS (General Insurance Designation)
Currently working on obtaining CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation

Brandy has worked with Watson Insurance Agency since 2004 and specializes in Small Business Accounts. 


Susan DavisSusan Davis
Commercial Lines Account Manager
 Email
(704) 825-9641





Education: 

BA in History, Davidson College

Awards/Accreditations:   
CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) ARM  (Associate in Risk Management) ARE (Associate in  Reinsurance)

Community Involvement: 
Gaston Community Church

Susan has worked with Watson Insurance Agency since 2013, brining with her experience as a company underwriter.


Emily DicksonEmily Dickson
Scrap Metal Assistant
Email
(704) 854-4675





Education:


Gaston College
Carolinas College of Health Sciences

Awards/Accreditations:

NC Property and Casualty License

Emily joined the Watson Insurance team in February 2016 and specializes in the Scrap Metal Shield Program


Robin_Grigg01.jpg
Robin Grigg
Marketing Analyst
Email
(704) 854-4675




Education:

Graduate of North Gaston High School

Awards/Accreditations:

CPIW (Certified Professional Insurance Woman) designation

Robin joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 1998 and specializes in Commercial Marketing and Underwriting.

 


Boyce_Henley01.jpg
Boyce I. Henley, II, CIC 
Commercial Lines Agent
Email
(704) 854-4672




Education:

Bachelor of Science from Gardner Webb University

Awards/Accreditations:

CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation

Community Involvement:

Davidson Methodist Church Breakfast Club
Lake Norman Parks

Boyce joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 1984 and specializes in recycling industries, professional liabilities, restaurants, hotels, motels, as well as rental containers and trailers. 


Megan Henry
Megan Henry
Commercial Lines Account Manager
Email
(704) 854-4662





Education:

Bachelor of Science in Family Consumer Sciences Secondary Education from Appalachian State University

Community Involvement:

Myers Memorial - Church Youth Group Leader
All –Star Cheerleading Coach

Megan joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2011 and specializes in commercial claims handling and Commercial Property and Casualty.

 


Brenda Jenkins
Brenda Jenkins
Commercial Lines Account Manager
Email
(704) 854-4689




Education:

High School

Community Involvement:

Church Family
Grief/Alcohol-Drug Abuse Family Support Groups
Relay for Life Cancer Walk

Brenda joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2002 and have experience in various aspects of the industry from accounting, to agent, to CSR since 1986.  Brenda is currently specializing in commercial lines property and casualty coverages.


James_Jolly01.jpg
James C. Jolly
Commercial Lines Agent
Email
(704) 854-4677




Education:

Bachelor of Science from Gardner Webb University

Community Involvement:

Kings Mountain YMCA 
Board of Directors Cleveland County Schools 
Mentoring/Reading Program
NC Youth Sports Program – Coaching/Administrator

Jim joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2012 bringing 20 years industry experience in commercial insurance and bonding with him.  He specializes in commercial property, general liability, workers compensations, umbrella, contracting, manufacturing, and service related industries. 

 


Brenda Lengel Brenda Lengel 
Commercial Lines Account Manager
Email
(704) 854-4609




Education:

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education 

Awards/Accreditations:

NC Property & Casualty License 

Brenda joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2017 bringing several years'  industry experience in large commercial property and casualty accounts, small business accounts, and personal lines property and casualty insurance. She currently specializes ini Commercial Lines Property and Casualty Coverages.


Rebecca Staggs
Rebecca Staggs, CIC, MESH 
Commercial Lines Services Director
Email
(704) 854-4658





Education: 

Mildred Elley, Albany, NY - Major:  Court Reporting

Industry Affiliations:

Young Insurance Professionals of New York - Prior Member and Board Member

Awards/Accreditations:

CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative) designation
Pat Haddad Dyer CIC Scholarship
CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation 
OSHA Outreach Trainer
ASHI CPR/First Aid Instructor
National Safety & Health Council Defensive Driving Instructor
National Safety & Health Council Forklift Certification Instructor
MESH (Manager of Environmental Safety and Health)

Community Involvement: 

Cobleskill Fire & Rescue Department – EMT – Former Member - 1993 - 2003
First Things First of Gaston County – Board Member from 2010 - 2012
Praise Temple Family Worship Center 
Gaston County Hospice
Relay For Life Gastonia

Becky joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2010 as a Personal Lines Agent bringing over 15 years of experience in sales, service, and management.  In 2012, she joined the Commercial Department as Services Director and specializes in OSHA training, Risk Management, and Loss Control, along with teaching CPR/First Aid classes, Forklift Certification, and Defensive Driving Certification Classes.


Felicia TarteFelicia Tarte
Business Account Manager
Email
(704) 854-4669





Education:


Clover High School, Clover, SC

Accreditations:

NC Property and Casualty License

Community Involvement:

East Clover Church of God

Felicia joined the Watson Insurance team in April 2014 with a background in banking.  Felicia specializes in Commercial Lines Claims Processing and CSR-24 Website Administrator.


I.T. (Information Technology)

Lonnie Berry
Lonnie Berry
Hardware/Software/Network Support
Email
(704) 854-4608





Lonnie joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in August 2000 and has 25 years in computer repair and network administration.  Lonnie’s specializes in hardware/software and network support. 


PERSONAL LINES DEPARTMENT


Lora Brown
Lora Brown
Personal Lines Agent
Email
(704) 854-4642





Awards/Accreditations:

NC Property & Casualty License
SC Property & Casualty License

Lora joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in November 2013 and comes to us with 20 years insurance experience, 14 years of it spent servicing the Gaston County area.  Lora specializes in auto, home, recreational vehicle, boat, and motorcycle insurance. 


Carolyn BumgarnerCarolyn Bumgarner
Personal Lines Agent 
Email 
(704) 854-4683





Education:

Crest High School

Awards/Accreditations: 

NC Property & Casualty License
NC Life & Health License

Community Involvement: 

Least of These Gaston County
Samaritans Feet
Church Family
Gaston County Homeless Shelter

Carolyn is experienced in Personal Lines Insurance, Customer Service, and Account Management.  She specializes in Personal Lines Property and casualy coverages as well as Life insurance products.


Rosemary Drum (1 of 1).jpg
Rosemary B. Drum, CISR 
Personal Lines Account Manager
Email
(704) 854-4633





Education:

Received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a Major in Finance from UNC Charlotte.

Awards/Accreditations:

CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative) designation
Currently pursuing CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation

Community Involvement:

Hope for Gaston
Volunteer Susan G. Komen 5k Race
Participant Relay for Life

Rosemary joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2012 bringing with her 11 years of personal lines experience.  Rosemary specializes in auto, home, umbrella, boat, and motorcycle. 


Karen Guffey (1 of 1).jpg
Karen D. Guffey, AAI 
Personal Lines Account Sales Executive
Email
(704) 854-4637




Awards/Accreditations:

AAI (Accredited Advisor of Insurance) designation

Community Involvement:

Gastonia Evening Rotary Club
Paul Harris Fellow Distinguished Rotarian
Gaston Chamber Gaston Association of Realtors

Karen joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 1981 and specializes in auto, home, coastal properties, classic car coverage, boat, motorcycle, and personal life insurance.


Le Anne Harris (1 of 1).jpg
Lea Anne Harris
Personal Lines Account Sales Executive
Email
(704) 854-4640




Education:

Kings Mountain High School
Associates in Business Management  

Awards/Accreditations:

NC Property & Casualty License
NC Life & Health License Medicare Supplement/Long Term Care License
Five Star Professional 2012 thru 2016


Community Involvement:

Professional Women’s Association
Treasurer - Praise Temple Family Worship Center

Lea Anne joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2007 bringing with her 16 years of industry experience.  Lea Anne specializes in Auto, Home, Umbrella, Boat, Motorcycle, and Individual Life and Health coverages.

 


Crystal Sisk
Crystal Sisk
Personal Lines Claims Representative
Email
(704) 854-4632




Education:

Victory Christian Academy – Valedictorian
Montreat College

Awards/Accreditations:

NC Property & Casualty License

Community Involvement:

Facilitator of Book Bags of Love – Keeping Bellies Full for School Aged Children

Crystal joined the Watson Insurance Team in 2011 and specializes in handling personal lines claims.  


Susan Starnes (1 of 1).jpg
Susan Starnes
Administrative Sales Assistant
Email
(704) 854-4644





Education:

Associates Degree from Gaston College

Susan joined the Watson Insurance Agency team in 2008 with a history in banking and specializes in Personal Lines Insurance.