Bo Bittle’s father has been an insurance executive in Fayetteville since 1970, and in his office is a framed piece of paper from one of Bo’s first-grade writing assignments: What do you want to be when you grow up?
“I want to be an insurance agent like my dad,” was Bo’s handwritten answer.
On March 1 this year, Bittle officially launched his own independent insurance agency. Until then he had built his career in the financial services sector, working for some of the state’s largest and most recognizable companies.
“I wasn’t sure if I was unemployed or self-employed,” he joked about his first day as a small-business owner.
A Fayetteville native, Bittle comes from a family full of insurance executives dating to the 1950s. But he chose his own path after graduating from Ole Miss in 2001. He spent the next three years working for Gary Head at Arvest Bank, then the next decade at Head’s startup Signature Bank of Arkansas, ultimately becoming Fayetteville market president at the age of 33.
In 2014, Bittle was recruited by Dennis Hunt to Stephens Inc. to handle municipal bond funding in Northwest Arkansas.
In the background, though, adding to the family’s professional legacy in the insurance business was never far from Bittle’s mind.
“I loved my banking career, but I feel like I am doing what I have always wanted to do,” he said.
Bittle’s community involvement started when he was just 23 with a seat on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWA board of directors. He still sits on many boards, including the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and Life Styles Inc. (president), and is strongly motivated to give back to the community.
“If you give back, you will be amazed how rewarding it is,” he said.