Recruited from Illinois to Florida in 1976 to run an insurance brokerage organization, Bud Elias used a Chicago based business model to re-form his business in Florida. Even though Bud has been in the employee benefits market place since 1963, he and his team at Advantage Group are constantly re-inventing themselves. Since change means people cannot afford to operate the same as in the past, Bud’s business has three operating divisions: Employee Benefits, Consulting, and Wealth Creation, Transfer and Preservation.
Bud has been honored to have been married to Ann H. Elias, and together, they have two sons; Chet, a Director with Amgen in Thousand Oaks California, married with one daughter, and Scott, a futures trader in Chicago, married with one daughter.
As with his family, Bud is an active member of the community. He is a graduate of Leadership St. Petersburg and Leadership Pinellas. He served as president of Leadership Pinellas and is past chairman of the board and current board member of the Suncoast YMCA. He is a past chairman of the board of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, and is president of his homeowners association. He is past chairman of the board of governors of the Countryside Country Club, charter member of the East Lake Rotary Club, a member of the Pinellas County Economic Development Council, past board member of the Florida Prostate Cancer Education Network, a board member of the Clearwater Downtown Partnership and a City of Clearwater’s “Friends of the Phillies” committee member. Mr. Elias was selected as “Mr. Countryside” in 1999 and is involved in the Sigma Chi and University of Illinois alumni associations and serves as a Sunday school teacher at the Heritage Methodist Church.
Bud earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and his master’s degree from Southern Illinois University. He served as a Ford Foundation Intern in the Illinois State Legislature and as a consultant to the Illinois Budgetary Commission and the Commission of Spanish Speaking Affairs. Going into Insurance sales and consulting may seem like a bit of a departure from his direction since he was advised to follow in the family footsteps as a Funeral Director, but his internal ambition was to become politically involved. In order to accommodate that ambition Bud needed to find an occupation that would provide the freedom and the income to allow and encourage political participation. To that end he chose to enter the insurance business – and never left because he really enjoys what he does, and looks forward, every day, to making an impact. Bud knows each of us can truly make a difference in the lives of those we touch. He is tremendously thankful for his continued opportunity.