Who’s in your family? My wife is Tonya Cain. We’ve been married almost 18 years. Our children are Kate, who’s 13, and Emily, who’s almost 10.
How did you and Tonya meet? She was in the same sorority as my two older sisters at UGA — Alpha Chi Omega. She was a year ahead of me in school. She saw my picture on my sister’s bulletin board and she said, “I’m going to marry him.” Our first date was in 1990. I left school for a couple quarters and we started dating again in the fall of 1991. We got married in 1993. I guess you could say it was divine intervention.
Where are you from? I call Atlanta home. We lived in seven different states before we moved to Atlanta when I was 11. My dad was in corporate America, and then he became a builder/developer. My parents, Bob and Vicky Cain, live in Athens. I have a twin brother, Mike, and he’s in Athens; and our sister Lori is also in Athens. They live across the street from each other, and our parents live in the same development. Another sister, Linda, lives in Dacula, Ga.
You’ve always commuted in your work? I used to drive from Warm Springs to Athens every day, for 18 months. It never bothered me. When Tonya and I were first married, we lived in Cataula. I was a pharmaceutical rep straight out of college, for Merck and AstraZeneca. I did that for almost 10 years. When we first moved to Cataula she worked at Hughston Hospital. Then she got her master’s and nurse practitioner degrees at Troy.
Where is she now? She’s a nurse practitioner in Dr. Joe Lewis’ office. She started in May of ’97. Five days later we found out she was pregnant with Kate. Joe is a great person to work with. She loves it.
What did you do after pharmaceuticals? I went to work for my parents in their building, development and real estate business in Athens. My grandfather, Roscoe Simpson, was a builder. Pharmaceutical sales was a good job but it was not personally fulfilling. It changed a lot in 10 years. I loved building and real estate. In August 2004, I started building houses in Coweta County, and later some in Meriwether and Harris counties. My company was called Sticks & Stones Builders. It was great until the market crashed in 2007 and 2008. I had a true passion for building; no two days were the same. It was challenging and very rewarding. The declining market forced a change. It was a big struggle for us and it took awhile for me to see the writing on the wall. I struggled with what I wanted to do, but it also brought me closer to my faith.
How did you get to be a State Farm agent? I didn’t think you could be an agent without first working in the corporate office. I saw an ad for an agency opportunity with State Farm, but I didn’t think anything would come of it. Six weeks later, I heard from them. That started the process in March 2009. It’s long, and it’s challenging. If you are not committed to the process you won’t make it. Patience was the main lesson I learned. I put my full faith in God and prayed daily that His will be done. There were times when I struggled to keep the faith but continued to pray. In February 2010, I interviewed and was awarded an agency. It was an answer to prayer. Right now I report to the developmental support group in Atlanta and later this year I’ll report to our Agency Field Executive, John Gay. John is a man who is proud to share his faith. He encouraged me throughout the process and prayed for me as well.
Describe your church. It’s on Ga. 18 between Pine Mountain and Warm Springs and it’s two miles from our house. Our pastor is Louise Elmore. She came in June. At first she was part-time but now she’s full-time. She’s vibrant and full of faith. Trinity UMC is a wonderful church with a loving congregation. Many of our members have been members their entire lives. I believe Trinity could be found in a Norman Rockwell painting. It is a very special place for me.
Say more about how your faith changed during your career struggle. In my entire career, I’ve had a lot of windshield time. I find myself thinking a lot about my life, my family, and everyday issues. It is a great time to pray. For me, prayer is a conversation between me and God. Sometimes I am moved to prayer by something I hear on the radio; so I just start talking as if God’s riding along in the passenger seat. With the State Farm opportunity, I went into it differently. Rather than orchestrating the outcome, I left it to God’s will. I think to find God’s will, you have to have humility and be open. To lose my dreams and passions in home construction was humbling. I’d accumulated a lot of toys and material objects. I was forced to make some tough choices.
Such as? I had to sell some cars and equipment. I put them out on the highway where we live. It is a long walk back to the house when you put your toys up for sale. That walk was humbling each time I made it. As challenging as the last 1.5 years has been, it’s been more rewarding than anything. We have more than we will ever need and God has been faithful in his provision.
Are you dug in with your new career? This is it. I have faith that God put me where I’m supposed to be. I am proud to represent State Farm and to work with great Christians like John and Peggy Gay.
Were you raised in the church? My mom was raised Baptist but then we became Methodist. Moving around a lot caused her to try a lot of different churches. For mom it was more about what church was best for us kids, not really the denomination. I was baptized Methodist. Tonya was born and raised in the church where we are now. Her mom and dad live across the highway from us. They’re Betty and Penny Mitcham. My brother-in-law and his wife live next to us. It’s wonderful. We moved to the farm because my mother-in-law offered to help take care of the kids as they were born. She helps us all the time. She picks the kids up from school. We couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for her.
What are your hobbies? Hunting, reading, grilling, being a dad, coaching, supporting, cheerleading — whatever falls under the “dad umbrella.”