The link has been called the workplace of the future. However, the state-of-the-art co-working space, business incubator and community centerpiece in Nocatee is something more. It’s also a space out of which offices of several major companies operate.
Case in point: Tim Simokonis, producer and partner for Lockton Companies’ Southeast region, does business with major, big-name clients all from his office at the link, a fact that he calls “amazing.” These are clients with universally recognized names; some of them multi-billion-dollar businesses.
Lockton Companies, the world’s largest privately held insurance brokerage firm, is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. It provides insurance, risk management, employee benefits and retirement services. In the fiscal year ending on April 30, Lockton posted record-breaking revenue of $2.7 billion and maintains a 97% client retention rate.
Much of its successful growth has been attributed to the philosophy of the company’s founder, Jack Lockton, who once said of his team, “Lockton did not make any of these people. Their specialness came from their moms and dads and all of their life experiences. We have just found each other, and the right kind of people have been very attracted to being part of what we are all about. It has almost been just that simple."
Lockton operates more than 100 locations in 125 countries, and one of those locations is Simokonis’ office at the link.
“My job is to bring new business to Lockton and retain Lockton’s existing business” in this region, said Simokonis.
He first moved to Nocatee two years ago as the pandemic was forcing professionals to find new ways to conduct business. Simokonis began by working from home, with the idea we would transition at some point to a traditional office building.
He found that working from home just wasn’t the right fit for him. But by fortuitous timing, he’d arrived in Nocatee just as the link was preparing to open. It was only a half mile from his house, which made it convenient.
Now, he finds that the excitement and activity at the link adds something to his workday, something he couldn’t find at home. Here, Simokonis can indulge in those things that he likes best about his job: interacting with clients, networking and collaborating on solutions to complex problems.
“I love it, because it allows me to get out,” he said. “I’m not in a room with my door shut. Even though I don’t know a lot of the people there, I get the energy from people working around me and interacting. To me, I feel like I’m part of a bigger office.”
He enjoys meeting new people and finds the environment at the link conducive to making connections. Where else can a professional interact closely with leaders in other fields over a cup of coffee, swapping ideas and exploring the business landscape outside their silos?
Simokonis was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. His family was in the insurance business, and though he entered the same line of work, he established himself in another sector of the insurance field.
“I took a commission-only sales job with an insurance firm during grad school because I needed money,” he said. “That just led from one job to a bigger job to a bigger job.”
Ten years ago, he met the woman who would become is wife during a vacation in Fort Lauderdale. They settled in Miami, and today have three children.
Three years ago, Simokonis went to work for Lockton. He said, “Part of Lockton’s great culture ingrains family organization and afforded my family and I to relocate a year later.”
“We love it,” Simokonis said. “You get, really, three seasons – compared to South Florida, where it’s just perpetual summer. We wanted some cooler weather.”
In some ways, he said this area reminds him of Cape Cod.
Of course, another thing you won’t find in South Florida is a facility like the link, which is known for its welcoming approach to the families of its professionals.
“I love it here,” Simokonis said. “My kids have participated in the programs. We’ve gone to the Daddy-Daughter Dance. I enjoy getting involved in the community.”
The link is located at 425 Town Plaza Ave., Ponte Vedra Beach. To learn more, go to thelink.zone.