R. Forrest Fitts, CPCU
Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer
A Tuscaloosa native and Fitts Agency partner, Forrest received his Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in 1985. Upon graduation, Forrest was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the United States Marine Corps. He served on active and reserve duty as an infantry and artillery officer for 12 years and was honorably discharged at the rank of Major in 1998.
Prior to joining the firm, Forrest worked for two years as a commercial lines underwriter with USF&G Insurance Company in Atlanta, GA. Concentrating on Commercial insurance and contract surety services with emphasis in the construction and marine industries, Forrest works closely with his clients to help them evaluate and address the risks and exposures presented by their operations. Committed to professional development, Forrest holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Marine Insurance Management and Certified Insurance Counselor designations. Forrest has served as Ducks Unlimited State Chairman, Tuscaloosa Independent Insurance Agents Association Chairman and YMCA Men's Club President.
T. Gary Fitts, CPCU
Chairman – Emeritus
A graduate of Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Economics, T. Gary Fitts, CPCU joined the firm in 1959 after returning from the United States Marine Corp. While in the Marines Mr. Fitts was a designated Naval Aviator and during active duty served as a jet fighter pilot and flight instructor, continuing as a reserve pilot following active duty and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1977. Mr. Fitts purchased a majority interest in the firm in 1968. He also serves as Vice President and Secretary of Security Bank and Security Federal Bank Corporation, Inc.
Highlights of Mr. Fitts’ civic involvement include serving as Chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority in 2004 & 2005, Past President and Board Member - Tuscaloosa Rotary Club, American Cancer Society and American Red Cross, United Way of West Alabama, Black Warrior Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Charter Member - President’s Club of the Tuscaloosa YMCA. Mr. Fitts was recently appointed to the USS Alabama Battleship Commission which operates the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile.
On a professional level, Mr. Fitts is a board member and Past President of the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents, Independent Insurance Agents of America - Past State National Director, Chairman National Errors and Omissions Control Committee and National Legislative Affairs Committee member. He has also served in advisory council roles with several of the carriers represented by the Fitts Agency.
J. David Fitts, CIC
A University of Alabama graduate and agency partner, David focuses on risks within the construction, manufacturing and energy fields. He joined the Fitts Agency after working as a New Orleans-based claims representative for The Hartford. Considering his background in claims mixed with his years of experience as a producer, David is able to offer professional advice to clients with complex or specialized needs.
David currently serves on the YMCA of Tuscaloosa County Board of Directors as well as the Home Builders Association of Tuscaloosa and has been active in fundraising for the United Way and Boy Scouts of America. He is a past President of the Tuscaloosa Independent Insurance Agents Association and has served on their State Associations Board Of Directors. He is a member of The Church of the Highlands. David is married to the former Stephanie Edmondson of Columbus, MS and has four children.
Virginia Parks, CIC, CRM
A self-professed "Army brat" for the first 15 years of her life, Virginia was born in Heidelberg, Germany but has called Tuscaloosa home since 1978. She holds a B.A. in Advertising and an MBA from the University of Alabama. In addition to her role as an agency partner she serves as the Marketing VP with an emphasis on commercial lines. Before joining the Fitts Agency in 1996 Virginia worked as a commercial lines and work comp underwriter for several large, nationally-known companies, including USF&G.
Virginia is married to Sam Parks and they have two children - Marla and Shelley and a rescue terrier named Sadie.
Charles F. Horton Jr., CIC
A native of Tuscaloosa, Chass is a graduate of the University of Alabama and began his insurance career in 1987 at USF&G as a commercial underwriter. He joined the Fitts Agency in 1991 and became a partner in 1994. Chass has received the insurance designation of Certified Insurance Counselor "CIC" and serves on the Agent Advisory Boards of Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company and Union Standard Insurance Company. Chass has a reputation for providing his clients with a unique combination of experience and superior customer service. Chass works with both commercial and personal accounts, with a concentration on construction, surety bonds and real estate.
He and his wife, Leigh, have three children.
Timothy L. Donahue, CIC
While completing his B.S. in Corporate Finance from the University of Alabama, it was an interview with the Fitts Agency that first introduced Tim to the possibilities of a future in the insurance industry. Through this introduction, Tim eventually spent ten years with the Aetna/Travelers Bond Department in Birmingham and Nashville from 1991 - 2001, with the last four of those years serving as the Construction Services Bond Manager for the state of Tennessee. While there he handled the surety needs for various contractors ranging in size from SBA Plan B participants to contractors included on the ENR 400.
In 2001, Tim took advantage of an opportunity to move back home to Tuscaloosa to join the Fitts Agency and in 2005 he became a partner. Based on his insurance company background, Tim has a unique insider's knowledge of the surety industry and has maintained a focus on this contruction niche allowing him to use the experience gained from one client for the benefit of all clients. Tim says if he wasn't specializing in construction surety and insurance at the Fitts Agency he would probably be in the construction industry.
Just as important as his service to his clients is his service to his country. As a member of the Alabama Army National Guard, Tim spent a large portion of this time serving with the Alabama Military Academy where he was involved in teaching and evaluating leadership skills of young Soldiers for their deployment overseas. Tim retired in 2012 with 23 years of total service to the military.
Thomas A. Humber
A lifelong resident of Tuscaloosa, Thomas attended and graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication and Information Sciences.
He holds a Life and Health Underwriter's license, which was awarded by The State of Alabama Department of Insurance as well as numerous agent and broker licenses with the Top Ten Insurance Companies of America. Currently, Thomas is pursuing the industry's two highest professional designations: Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant, which are awarded by The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Thomas began his insurance career in 2007 in Beaufort, South Carolina. He joined the The Fitts Agency, Inc. as an associate in October of 2010 and became a partner in 2018.
Thomas is a member of the Tuscaloosa Estate Planning Council and Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa. He also serves as a board member for Junior Achievement of Tuscaloosa.
Jeffrey S. Hogg, CLCS, CPIA
Born and raised in the state of Georgia, Jeffrey S. Hogg joined the Fitts Agency team in 2004 and primarily concentrates on commercial insurance. As an agent, Jeff has focused his attention on the garage industry, including towing operations. He also maintains a strong relationship with all types of religious organizations as well. Although his focus are in these areas, Jeff is still highly qualified for all types of industries within the commercial arena including contractors, manufacturers, retail, and service risks.
Jeff attended the University of Alabama where he holds a B.A. in Political Science and English. Outside of the office, he spends most of his free time giving back to the community by serving on numerous non-profit organizations boards, coaching youth athletics, and serving as a commissioner for the City of Northport.
Jeff was awarded the Young Agent of the Year Award by the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents in 2009. This award is given to an agent under 40 years of age who demonstrates dedication to the insurance industry by being a positive example to his peers and clients, while working outside the office within his community. He also served as a President of the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents in 2016.
Jeff is married to Nicole, and the proud father of one son, Hayden and three daughters, Addison, Keltie, and Anna Grayden Hogg.
Luke Lawrence, CLCS
Luke was raised and spent most of his life in Tuscaloosa and is a graduate of Hillcrest High School. He was awarded a football scholarship to Troy University and decided he wanted to focus on a career in the insurance industry. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Risk Management in 2015. His hard work and drive was visible not only on the football field, but also in the classroom where he was able to obtain his degree in three and a half years while lettering with the Troy University Trojan football team.
After graduating, Luke accepted a position as a Commercial Underwriter with Auto-Owners Insurance in their Montgomery branch. He was promoted to Commercial Field Underwriter and traveled to various insurance agencies across Alabama working hand in hand with agents. He joined the Fitts Agency in 2018.
Luke has a unique perspective when working with clients and understands what underwriters look for when evaluating risks. He uses his knowledge and experience to develop custom risk management programs that best serve his clients.
Aubrey D. Ellis
A native of Selma, Alabama, Aubrey graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS degree in Marketing. Upon graduation, he began his insurance career as a property and casualty field underwriter for the Aetna Casualty & Surety in Birmingham, Alabama. His expertise includes business risk analysis in the manufacturing industry, religious and educational organization, and various wholesale and retail entities.
He later returned to Selma, where as a partner, he led and managed the successful growth of an independent insurance agency for over thirty years. Aubrey earned the professional designation of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and with his extensive experience, he is able to offer his professional knowledge to his clients and their specific insurance needs.
Upon the merger/sale of his agency in Selma, Aubrey chose to move to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and become a part of The Fitts Agency. Aubrey and his wife, Connie, enjoy time with their sons and daughter-in-law and two grandsons, Ander & Grayson.
Born in Moundville, Alabama but a resident of Tuscaloosa County most of his life, Joe Phares has been with the Fitts Agency since 1992. Prior to joining Fitts he had a successful career in sales with Liberty National Life Insurance Company. When Joe is not in his office giving his customers the personal service they've grown to expect from him he can probably be found somewhere watching his grandchildren play ball.
Joe Nichols, CIC, MSM-RMI
Commercial Lines Manager
Joe is the Commercial Lines Manager here at Fitts Agency. Joe has served the insurance industry in various roles with several different companies and agencies throughout his career. His past positions have included being an agency owner, operations manager, marketing manager, personal lines manager, and other varying capacities. Joe's undergraduate degree is from Freed-Hardeman University and his Masters in Risk Management and Insurance was received from Florida State University. Joe has served in leadership positions and on boards of many non-profits and civic organizations.
Joe and his wife, Cathy, live on a small cattle farm in northwest Alabama.
Chief Financial Officer, HR Manager
David joined the Fitts Agency after spending 15 years in the media business arena working as a financial officer for a national media company. Prior to his media experience he worked for a regional utility contractor also as a financial officer. Before moving to Tuscaloosa in 1992 he spent 10 years in Birmingham practicing as a CPA in addition to working in the corporate headquarters of a large family owned conglomerate of companies, involved in the construction, real estate, oil & gas, and alternative energy industries.
David graduated from the University of Alabama business school in 1983 with a degree in accounting. He is active in the Tuscaloosa Community serving on several boards including the DCH Foundation and Counseling Ministry Professionals. David and his wife, Shannon, are also active members at First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa. David and Shannon have two children, Elizabeth who resides in Nashville, TN and Miller who is attending the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL.
David is also a Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants.