Gordy Bunch Gordy Bunch is CEO and founder of The Woodlands Financial Group and also serves as board chairman for The Woodlands Township. He has lived in the community since 1995.[/caption]

Since moving to The Woodlands more than 20 years ago, Gordy Bunch has immersed himself in the master-planned community through service as an elected official and as a leader in the business world.

Bunch, who grew up in College Station, came to The Woodlands in 1995 with his wife after serving four years of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard. His sister-in-law lived in The Woodlands at the time—when the population was roughly 40,000—and kept sending him real estate magazines about the community.

“It’s hard to say it now, but this was the cheapest and safest place I could find to live that my wife would agree to,” Bunch said. “We bought our first house in The Woodlands with my VA loan.”

Although Bunch had experience with federal law enforcement and emergency response during his time in the military, those credentials did not transfer to employability at the time, he said.

Bunch sent his resume to the city of Conroe for a comptroller position, but it ended up in the wrong P.O. box. The error led to a job offer as in insurance agent for Texas Farm Bureau Insurance.

“My family calls it divine intervention because I was never seeking a career in insurance,” he said. “It wasn’t on my top thousand things I thought I would ever do.”

After accepting the position and working for three insurance companies, Bunch decided to branch out on his own and founded The Woodlands Financial Group in 2001.

“[There was] one employee, one office, one foldout chair [and] one table,” he said. “My brother-in-law and I shared our office because neither one of us could afford our own.”

Sixteen years later, The Woodlands Financial Group occupies more than 20,000 square feet in Town Center and has more than 300 other locations across the U.S. offering a broad range of services, such as automobile, home, life, health and commercial insurance.

In addition to serving as CEO for his company, Bunch was re-elected in November to serve a third term as a director for The Woodlands Township.

“It’s really a balanced approach to making sure I’m not overweight in work [or] community service, or spending too much time on myself while trying to model behavior so our kids understand there’s more to life than just them,” Bunch said.

Bunch, who now serves as board chairman, said he thought about running for various offices before choosing to run for the board in 2012 because it was the most local office.

“I signed up on my way home from work at 4:59 p.m. on the last day you could file,” he said. “On the way there, I figured if I got lost or missed the cut-off it just wasn’t meant to be.”

In his four years on the board, Bunch and other directors have dealt with numerous issues affecting the township ranging from debates on mobility to flooding and drainage problems. The best part of the volunteer position, however, is receiving random letters in the mail or hearing from residents directly affected by decisions the board makes, he said.

Through his position on the township board, Bunch was also appointed to serve on the board of The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau, for which he served as chairman for three years.

“When I arrived 4 1/2 years ago, the edifice was on producing community events and raising sponsorship dollars for those events,” he said. “There was not enough focus on marketing the hotels and growth of sales tax revenue.”

Last year, Bunch and the CVB board reorganized the organization to focus on group sales, visitor’s activities and growing hotel sales tax revenue.

Bunch and his family also contribute to numerous community events and charities, such as The Woodlands United Methodist Church, Texas Children’s Hospital, The Woodlands Financial Group Muddy Trails Bash, Leaping Butterflies and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“By being constantly active and working with others and for others, we’re trying to teach [our children] how to give back and be productive but also be balanced,” he said.

Bunch said he hopes The Woodlands community knows there is more that unites it than divides it.

“Even though we’ve had a national negative narrative, there’s a lot to be proud of in The Woodlands,” he said.