“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” – John Maxwell
Learn more about WNC’s leadership team.
Mr. Blandford joined WNC as board member in 2004 to focus on growth strategies. He assumed an operating role in 2011 as the Managing Director of Strategy and Finance. In that role, he led acquisitions, product line expansion and relationships with key capital partners, including Tokio Marine Kiln. He was named CEO in 2018 to lead WNC’s expansion plans.
Prior to joining WNC, Mr. Blandford spent 20 years investing in and advising growth services companies. He was a Managing Director of two private equity firms, Frontenac Company and CCCC Growth Fund. He led both firms’ financial services investments.
He began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Mr. Blandford serves on the boards of directors for ESCO Ear Services, GCH Capital Advance and Source Intelligence.
Linda Long joined WNC in 2001. As Chief Operating Officer, Linda is responsible for all of WNC’s operations and financial accounting functions including payroll, general ledger, cash management, budget, and financial statement preparation. She also oversees the annual financial audit and income tax preparation.
Linda has over 25 years of experience in both life and property and casualty insurance accounting. A graduate of Central Oklahoma University, Linda began her career at First Life Assurance Company and rose to Vice President of Subsidiary Accounting. She joined CSC Logic in 1989, serving as Division Controller and assisting the larger corporation in acquired company integration.
Linda is a Certified Public Accountant and a Fellow of the Life Management Institute.
Kiran Achen joined WNC in 2018. As Chief Information Officer (CIO), Kiran is responsible for defining and implementing a technology strategic vision aligned to WNC’s growth and performance goals. He has oversight of the technology organization and all technology initiatives.
Prior to joining WNC, Kiran Achen was Assistant Vice President in the IT organization of CNA Insurance focused on strategy, roadmaps, IT modernization & simplification, digital innovation, customer experience and cloud computing.
Kiran began his career with Deloitte Consulting and subsequently worked in Healthcare, Telecom, Transportation, Retail industries before joining CNA.
Kiran holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University.
Art Lee joined WNC in April of 2018. Art is responsible for overseeing, managing, and maintaining the company’s compliance management system for all the WNC businesses. Art and his team will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the company’s risk and compliance issues in an independent manner, and helping to keep the company current with regulatory issues and compliant with changes in laws applicable to the company’s products and services.
Art has over 20 years of legal, regulatory, product and compliance experience in the financial services and insurance industries, including the last 14 years as senior in-house counsel for a lender-placed insurance provider. A graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School, Art began his career at the Automobile Club of Southern California as a Claims Coverage lawyer and eventually as its Personal Lines Insurance Product Manager. In 2003, he joined the Balboa Insurance Group as in-house counsel and rose to the position of Senior Vice-President within the successive owners of Balboa’s lender-placed insurance business, including Bank of America, QBE Insurance and National General Insurance.
As President of the Private Flood Division, Norman Heinrich is responsible for the management, marketing and development of Private Flood programs administered out of the WNC First Miami office. His thirty plus years of Property and Casualty sales, marketing and underwriting experience have given Norman the expertise to develop, administer and underwrite Flood insurance programs for insurance companies, wholesalers and reinsurance partners.
Prior to joining WNC, Norman was the Director of Marketing and Flood operations for Capital Assurance Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Skandia Companies. His responsibilities included the marketing and sales functions for the Property and Casualty units and the marketing and underwriting functions for the Flood operations. The Flood operations included voluntary and NFIP flood programs.
Norman Heinrich holds a degree in Accounting from Florida International University and is a licensed Property and Casualty agent and a Surplus Lines insurance agent.
Rick Girden joined WNC in 2015. As President of the Construction Division, Rick is responsible for the P&L and all of the operations within the division.
He started his career 37 years ago with Prudential of England located in Winnipeg, Canada. He has focused the last 30 years in the construction property area. In 1996, he was transferred to the U.S. where he has held senior positions with some of the largest Insurers and Wholesale Brokers.
As President of the Financial Services Division, Robert Shekell is responsible for day-to-day operations, and the financial institution products and services provided by WNC's South Pasadena, CA and Dallas, TX locations. Before joining WNC in July 2016, Robert worked at QBE Insurance Group for 17 years where he held many leadership roles, including Director of Client Development, Operations, Executive of Best Shores Global Operations and Director of Account Management and Industry Relations.
At QBE, Robert Shekell was also responsible for client advocacy and best practices while initiating and facilitating strategic industry initiatives. Through more than 15 years of membership on the Loan Administration Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Robert has been instrumental in helping to modernize and protect the mortgage servicing and hazard insurance industries.
Further, Robert Shekell has held senior leadership roles in Corporate Training, Escrow Administration, and Default Management. He has been active in the Institute of Financial Education and was President of the Los Angeles Chapter for two terms and an instructor for six years, teaching among others, the fundamentals of Mortgage Loan Servicing and Loan Originations. Robert also authored a First-time Homebuyers Program that was used nationwide to facilitate minority homeownership.
As Senior Vice President, Jordan N. Gray serves as chief legal advisor to each of the Company’s divisions and departments, including Private Flood, Financial Services, US Construction, Reinsurance, Claims, Human Resources, and Information Technology.
With more than twenty-five years of experience in the insurance industry, Jordan holds licenses to practice law in California, New York and the District of Columbia, where he is also admitted to practice before California and New York federal district courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Jordan enjoys an “AV” rating in Martindale-Hubbell for his legal work in California.
Before joining WNC, Jordan served as a partner in Arias, Lockwood & Gray, a boutique litigation firm, and as a partner in Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, a national full service law firm. His private practice clients have included Allstate Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company, Protective Life Insurance Company, Specialty Risk Services, WNC Insurance Services, and the County of Riverside, California.
Jordan earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Montana, School of Law, where he served on the Montana Law Review.