Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Alumni Making Connections

by Elizabeth Moore


Searching for a job takes tenacity and patience–plus a healthy dose of flexibility and saying yes to the unexpected. Mason “Adequaker Oatmeal” Sims, a longtime Pine Cove staffer and Forge graduate, was in this position less than a year ago.

From 2009-2014, Mason worked at the Ranch, Bluffs, and Camp in the City and graduated from the Forge in 2013. He studied Communications at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Interior Design at O’More College of Design in Nashville. When he graduated from design school in the fall of 2017, Mason recognized that some aspects of the design industry might not be the best fit for him. “I’m a creative person, but was more interested in the business side of design,” says Mason.


So when Colby Paxton, a Chimney Point family camper and area president of Gallagher Benefit Services, reached out to Pine Cove looking for a new hire, Mason turned out to be a great fit! Pine Cove’s alumni director connected the two through our alumni network, and the rest is history. Colby knew he wanted to hire a Pine Cove staffer, and Mason knew he wanted a company with a strong others-focused culture.

When Mason met Colby and the other members of the team during his interview, he was immediately drawn to the company’s culture. Gallagher values their people, excellence, and positivity, and Mason wanted to be a part of that. Whether an entry-level employee, like Mason, or an area president, like Colby, everyone at Gallagher works together, shows mutual respect, and cares for each other beyond business. “There’s not a professional wall that I can’t cross,” says Mason.

Mason has been with Gallagher for five months now, and while he didn’t know that design school would lead him to become an account coordinator for a benefits services company, it’s better than he could have planned. Not only does he enjoy working on a team and learning the backend of insurance coverage, he loves being a thought-leader and helping clients understand the complexities of insurance.


Although the alumni network connected Mason and Colby, Pine Cove provided more than a professional connection. Mason’s five summers on staff and his year in the Forge trained him to work with people at a level of excellence, through a degree of adversity, and with a certain attitude that’s difficult to learn elsewhere. “Pine Cove teaches you to stretch your preconceived limits of what you can accomplish,” says Mason, “because you can do more than you think you can.”


From counselor to senior counselor, and Forge student to program director, each of these roles developed the personal and professional skills Mason needed to thrive as a benefits consultant. And now, Colby and Gallagher have taken up the baton of developing Mason into who he is and is becoming.

The Lord has truly gone before him every step of the way. Even when Mason didn’t know what his next career step would be, the Lord was already orchestrating it all. “And for anyone seeking a job or waiting on the Lord, that is the biggest encouragement,” Mason shares.

Posted Mar 26, 2019

Elizabeth Moore

Former Staff

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