Jeff Byroads was definitely serious about becoming an ΣAE active. Since his days as an undergrad member of Cal Theta, he has been deeply involved with the fraternity.
Byroads (CA-TH’78) has served in numerous ways at the chapter, province and national level and his recent appointment to the San Diego Alumni Association Board of Directors is a sign that he doesn’t intend to slow down in the near future.
He came to San Diego State University as an 18 year-old soccer player, not necessarily planning to join a fraternity. “My best friend’s older brother was an ΣAE, so I thought I’d go through rush,” he said.“ΣAE was the only house I visited.”
Byroads subsequently served as house manager and pledge educator. “I also got involved as an IFC rep and Province Chi representative,” he noted.
He graduated with a BS degree in Occupational Safety and Health in 1978, with the goal of working in the insurance profession. “I had an internship with EBI Companies (a specialty west coast workers’ compensation insurance firm), and when I graduated was able to go right to work there.”
While steadily progressing in the insurance field, Byroads continued to expand his participation with ΣAE, eventually becoming Province Chi Archon and a 15-year faculty member of the ΣAE Leadership School. In addition, he has been a member of the National Risk Management Committee for 30 years, including five as chair; as well as a key player on the local House Corporation. “Cal Theta has always been part of the national ΣAE scene and I wanted to help continue the tradition by contributing my time and experience.”
Brother Byroads enjoyed his time with EBI Companies but when faced with a potential relocation to the Midwest, he opted to remain in San Diego. In 1984, he established the insurance division of TCS Financial, which Brother Tom Stickel founded and where several other Cal Theta bros worked. Then in 1991, he bought out the insurance unit and renamed it Wateridge Insurance. “We’ve grown Wateridge steadily as a full service independent insurance agency and it is now the third largest insurance brokerage in San Diego,” he said. Licensed in all 50 states, Wateridge works with clients in diverse areas of business and personal insurance.
Throughout the last 36 years, Byroads has deftly balanced his business career with volunteering. He has never wavered from his commitment to SAE. “I’ve been able to use my professional expertise in my role on the Risk Management Committee and that has been very satisfying,” he said.“However, I probably have most enjoyed being on the Leadership School faculty. It enabled me to get a sense of SAE’s undergrad population and to become acquainted with bros from throughout the Realm. I also greatly enjoyed being Chairman of the 1991 ΣAE National Convention that we hosted in San Diego. ” Byroads received the Order of the Phoenix as recognition for his substantial contribution to SAE.
He also has been involved in a number of civic organizations, including the Century Club of San Diego, the host organization for the PGA’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. “I saw the Century Club as a great way to combine networking opportunities with my love of golf, the organization’s charitable mission and my passion for military appreciation, one of the Century Club’s main focal points.” He has been a Century Club member for 23 years, including a term as president, during which he oversaw three major tournaments (2007 Nationwide Championship, 2008 Buick Invitational and 2008 US Open). In 2010, Byroads was honored with the Griff Hayes (longtime Century Club member) Award for Outstanding Service.
In addition, he is a founding member of Friends of Torrey Pines, life member of the San Diego State Alumni Association, charter member of the SDSU Presidential Leadership Fund, active member of the SDSU Athletic Foundation, and a board member of the San Diego chapter of the Insurance Agents and Brokers Association.
“I am involved because I believe in volunteerism,” said Byroads. “I’ve enjoyed success in business and feel it important to give back wherever I can. Certainly my participation helps to promote our company, but my prime motivation is to support ΣAE and deserving local organizations.”
Somehow he also finds time to spend with his family—wife Tami, three adult children and two granddaughters— and pursue his varied interests that include playing soccer and golf, water skiing, sailing, showing dogs, and traveling.
Byroads also makes a point to stay in touch with Brothers of his and other eras. “I’ve tried to stay very active and I see many bros on a regular basis, for example at Founders Day and the accompanying golf tournament, and other functions. We recently had a huge reunion of brothers from the mid-70’s to early 80’s era, which was fantastic. ΣAE has definitely provided me with camaraderie, lifelong friendships and many great memories.” ~ By David Robinson