2018 Businessperson of the Year: Chris Manfredi

Taking a national brand and turning it into a trustworthy, household name known for personal touches and services is no easy task, but Allstate agent Chris Manfredi has done just that.

For his years of dedication to Southold Town, along with his avid involvement in the local schools and community, Mr. Manfredi has received The Suffolk Times’ 2018 Businessperson of the Year award.

“Having been here on the North Fork since 1987, I have come to know many of my customers not only on a business but also a personal level,” he said.

In 2019, Mr. Manfredi will celebrate three decades in business as an insurance agent on the North Fork. Throughout his career in Southold, he’s also taken the time to give back to his community.

Mr. Manfredi is a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Southold. He visits the Southold, Greenport and Mattituck school districts to teach students about saving money on car insurance. He also goes gives texting and driving awareness seminars in local schools, and teaches defensive driving classes.

In addition, he is known for sponsoring local sports team and events.

“You’ll see my name in a lot of places,” he said. “And my pens are very famous, all around town,” he added, laughing.

Mr. Manfredi pioneered Greenport and Southold schools’ involvement in the “Hands-Only CPR” training during physical education class.

“He’s always looking out for the students in the community to ensure their safety when possible,” said the districts’ shared superintendent, David Gamberg. “We’re just very grateful. He’s very community-minded. And it’s not just once; he does it consistently.”

Mr. Manfredi has been teaching CPR in high schools for four years. Providing CPR training to students has led to higher cardiac arrest survival rates, according to the American Heart Association.

“It’s a valuable skill or ability to have at any age,” Mr. Gamberg said. “God forbid, in an emergency situation, whether it’s at home or at school or anywhere, it’s helpful.”

A former high school science teacher, Mr. Manfredi said that experience helps him tremendously in his job today.

“I think that my teaching background helped me to expand my business, in the sense that I really enjoy getting out there and educating the public,” he said. “Especially the children at the high schools, because insurance is something that is intangible. I really teach them to get to know what it is you’re buying and be educated so that they can make the best choices.”

One year, while he was teaching at Buffalo Avenue High School in Patchogue, he met some insurance agents during the summer break. They got to talking, and his life trajectory shifted overnight.

He prides himself on getting to know clients personally.

“Though nowadays we do a lot of business via phones, fax and internet, we still do many of our appointments via good old-fashioned face to face interactions either in home or office,” Mr. Manfredi said.

His job can be challenging, he said, because although he gets to serve his friends, he experiences many bittersweet moments, such as when a customer is injured or passes and he’s able to help the family by delivering an insurance check.

“The most rewarding thing of all my 30 years is that I get to live and work in my community and to help the people that I’m most close to,” he said. 

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Photo caption: This year will be Allstate agent Chris Manfredi’s 30th year in the insurance business on the North Fork. (Rachel Siford photo) 

Previous Winners

2017: George Giannaris
2016: Lucy Senesac
2015: Wendy Zuhoski
2014: Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
2013: Charlie Manwaring
2012: Jill Schroeder
2011: Shelley Scoggin
2010: Peconic Landing
2009: Rocky DiVello
2008: John Romanelli
2007: North Fork Press/Academy Printing
2006: Soundview Restaurant and Inn
2005: Joe Frohnhiefer
2004: Dan Damianos
2003: The Arcade
2002: Kate McDowell
2001: Mattituck Chamber of Commerce
2000: The Harbes Family
1999: Sue Rempe
1998: Bob Scott
1997: Jackie Copas
1996: Richard Mullen
1995: The Claudios
1994: Jeff Strong
1993: The Hargraves
1992: The Rowsoms
1991: Mark Middleton
1990: John Wickham
1989: Ray Terry
1988: Dave LeFreniere
1987: Linda Livni