I first met Howard Fluhr over 20 years ago at a policy conference for the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). I was filling in for my then-boss, Harry Conaway (who later became EBRI’s President), and happened to sit at the same table as Howard. What I remember clearly from that meeting was that, while I found the presentations from the prominent industry panelists interesting, it was Howard’s keen editorial comments audible by only those of us lucky enough to sit closest to him that were wholly more captivating. From then on, I made it a point to sit as close to Howard as I could and benefit from his astute insights and wit. Who would have imagined that more than two decades later, I would join Segal and have the privilege of not only being Howard’s fan, but also his colleague?
Segal is no stranger to industry legends. Our halls have seen the likes of employee benefits and HR innovators for over 80 years. But few have had both the professional and personal impact that Howard has had. He’s been a sagacious, trusted advisor to his clients and colleagues for decades and has dedicated his career to strengthening the U.S. retirement and health care systems. He lacks no professional accomplishments, having held various roles throughout his career, including Segal’s President and CEO, after which he served as EBRI’s Board Chair. It’s no wonder that the Ray Lillywhite award seems a fitting tribute to Howard. It celebrates extraordinary lifetime contributions to the employee benefits profession and recognizes outstanding service that has enhanced the economic security of Americans.
But as the particulars of a consulting project pass, and the lights of a public policy debate dim, Howard’s most meaningful influences persist for those who know him. This is because it’s impossible to meet Howard Fluhr and not immediately realize that you’re in the presence of someone extraordinary. Someone whose humility is second only to his intelligence. A man who is capable of listening with such acuity that you walk away from your first conversation certain that you must have met before. He’s one who elevates those around him and makes every interaction memorable.
While there’s no substitute for meeting him in person, in true storytelling fashion, Howard was kind enough to let us memorialize him in the “Howard On” video series. In these videos, Howard gives us his insightful perspective on retirement and financial security benefits, the future of health insurance, and the vital role of deep, technical knowledge in our industry and public policy. In addition, this tribute video includes stories and accolades from clients, colleagues—and even some familiar faces from professional sports.
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