If you're at a community event in Corbin, you're likely to see a couple familiar faces at many. The State Farm father-daughter duo of Mike Sparks and Mallory Davis love being involved in their community and have been for the 21 years they have lived in Corbin.
Sparks has worked with State Farm for 35 years, 14 in Cynthiana, Kentucky, and 21 in Corbin. Davis is wrapping up 10 years with State Farm.
State Farm is well-known for its catchy slogan: "Like a good neighbor"; and for Davis and Sparks that has always meant being a part of the community and helping customers through the good and the bad — just as if they were family.
"I couldn't have told you what insurance was," Davis said of growing up with her dad being a State Farm agent. "The definition of what he did as an insurance agent was being a part of the community. We were involved in every sporting event, involved in going up to the Fourth of July event, we were just always involved in doing things in the community."
Now that Davis is also an agent, being that staple in the community has continued to grow and her agency that she just opened last year has already been giving back to the teachers in the school system and area nurses to recognize their dedication to helping people.
For Davis it is all about "taking time to be a part of the community and give back to the people that help us do what we do," she said.
Sparks said he was interested as he was growing up in working for insurance as many of his mentors were in the insurance business.
After graduating from college and working as a plant manager in New Jersey, Sparks jumped with both feet at the opportunity to work for State Farm. His stepfather was an adjuster with State Farm and had heard the company was hiring so he presented it to Sparks who was excited at the chance to move into the insurance business.
"It goes deeper than just the two of us," Davis said, noting the family ties to State Farm. Sparks' brother-in-law is also an insurance agent with State Farm.
"I was born into the State Farm family from day one because Dad was already an agent when I was born," Davis said, so knowing those opportunities that she was given as a child because of his community-involved career was something she considered when looking to her future career. She wanted to be able to provide those opportunities for her children as well.
After graduating from college, Davis started working as a team member for an agent with State Farm in Lexington. The goal was to get her own agency one day, though she didn't know where that would be, but she hoped it would be in Corbin.
After her husband got a job in Corbin, they moved back to their hometown and Davis was able to work for her dad at his agency for a few years.
In January 2018, Davis opened her own State Farm agency at 515 Master Street, Corbin. Davis has four full-time team members.
Sparks has five full-time team members at his agency at 1121 S. Main Street, Corbin. One of his team members has been with him in Corbin for all 21 years, and the others span from 16 to two years. Sparks said State Farm trains for longevity and he said the team members become just as much his family as the customers do.
"Just having the opportunity to help people and grow with them," Sparks said as being the best part about working in insurance. "I've got customers I've had in Cynthiana that are still with me — that I've had for 35 years. You grow with those people and they're just like family."
Sparks and Davis enjoy working for State Farm specifically because of the top of the line insurance it provides as well as the multiple lines of insurance it provides with auto, life, home and property and more. State Farm also has banking options.
"It's a multiple line company and it's a good company," Sparks said.
"We get to help people in many different ways," Davis said, by saving customers money and being there to help them when they have a claim.
Although they are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that's part of the job.
"It's a good feeling to be there for them," Sparks said — no matter the time of day.
Sparks has watched three generations grow as he has been working with State Farm. He has watched grandparents who brought their own kids in as they started driving and now he is watching those kids as adults bring in their kids as they start driving.
"It's just family," he said.