May 1, 2023
Today, Apex celebrates its 20th anniversary. In the past two decades, we have grown from a one-man operation to become Indiana’s largest independent broker dedicated to benefits. We are proud of that growth — and the many memories from along the journey.
Growing pains—it is a phrase that gets thrown around quite a bit as companies grow. It makes sense. Growth is hard, especially when you start from nothing. An idea becomes a reality one client and one team member at a time.
Apex was born in 2003. John moved into his first office and got to work. 20 years later, Apex has experienced three major moves and grown to over eighty employees. It’s a story of hard work, innovation, intentional growth and four buildings.
Building #1 — 8200 Haverstick Road — 2003-2006
When John Gause started Apex and moved into his first office, he was an army of one. But he was ready for the fight. There were a couple of things John knew for sure—Apex was going to save businesses money on their group health plans, and it was going to grow.
Not everyone shared his belief. When John announced his departure, his former employer presented him with a spreadsheet, telling him how much he stood to lose on his own. John keeps this spreadsheet close. “Every time I look at that spreadsheet, and how far Apex has come, I am reminded of why we remain proudly independent and ready to step into the next challenge for our clients—even if others say it can’t be done,” said John.
The Haverstick office building was the home base for several Apex firsts. The first client, the first employee, the first county client signed and the first of a long line of legendary Christmas parties. These earliest years of Apex can be summarized simply — hard work.
John sometimes describes it as “good old-fashioned quoting”, but that doesn’t really do it justice. In the early years, he had to do it all. He met with the prospects to identify their pain points, he ran the numbers and identified potential areas of savings, he got on the phone with carriers to negotiate pricing and he provided service for clients.
Growth did not come without a struggle. Some companies did not think a small team could match their broker’s capabilities. Incumbent brokers tried to throw up hurdles with legal action. “I heard a lot of nos, but I knew that I could outwork anyone. One by one, the wins started adding up”, said John.
Apex kept increasing capabilities and driving value. As clients started coming in the door, the team needed to grow. By 2006 the team had grown to six employees, and the office was a bit too cozy. It was time for a move.
Building #2 — 8500 Keystone Crossing — 2006-2012
A new office was secured, but the growth continued. Over the next six years, the team would expand from six to 30 members. It is during this time that a pattern started to develop that can still be seen today.
Each new member of #TeamApex was brought on intentionally and preemptively. They brought their skills to meet client needs, shape Apex culture and face the next challenge. One of John’s favorite sayings is “what’s good enough for today, isn’t good enough for tomorrow.”
The team grew to meet the challenges clients would face down the road. Here are a few notable additions:
With the affordable care act looming, and many companies in the industry selling out or unsure about the future, John Forrest was part of a task force to conduct a deep-dive on the legislation. They assessed the impact of the bill and made sure that Indiana companies were prepared. You can read the full story here.
Today, John heads up the compliance services department — still dedicated to ensuring clients have a strategic partner to help them navigate the ever-changing legal landscape.
As companies grow, they change. One of the primary challenges many organizations face is defining and maintaining its culture as the team grows. Often, young companies are shaped by their core values, but they are not well defined (or not defined at all).
“When I joined, we were growing quickly. One of the things I appreciated most was that I was given the freedom to fail fast, and the responsibility to succeed,” said Stephanie. It is a value Apex still holds to this day, in large part thanks to her efforts to define our cultural values and protect them with a recruiting and onboarding process that ensured growth would be intentional.
We believe the results speak for themselves — in 2010, Apex first started participating in the Best Places to Work in Indiana program. For 13 years straight, our employees have rated Apex as a Best Place to Work.
By 2012, Team Apex was overflowing their space. First, rooms were added on different floors of the building. But it became clear that this strategy just would not cut it anymore. It was time for a new home.
Building #3 — 3755 E 82nd street — 2012-2020
A crane dropped the Apex Logo into place, cubicles and conference rooms were filled and the team went to work.
The mission was the same as it had been since day one — bring benefits strategies to the public sector that create cultures of health and costs savings.
The team and its capabilities continued to evolve to meet the needs and challenges our clients would face tomorrow:
2016: Team Apex hits fifty total employees!
2016: Population health team formed— a team of nurses, pharmacists, financial analysts and clinicians driving savings through predictive analytics and workplace wellness solutions. This group still continues to move organizational health in a more positive direction through the use of data and actionable insights. Many benefits advisors and wellness consultants can provide reports about the health of an employee population. No one offers the same depth of expertise and experience this team brings to the table.
2018: Founding of the Pharmacy Team — Apex recognized the need to help clients navigate the complexity of the pharmacy benefits industry and fight back the ever-increasing costs of drugs and pharmaceutical spend. Pharmacists and industry experts were added to the team, bringing a deep knowledge of PBM contracts and driving clarity and value for our clients.
2018: Apex receives the AchieveWELL Five Star designation from the Wellness Council of Indiana, celebrating continued dedication toward a culture where employee health is encouraged and supported through wellness programs.
2019: Apex leadership team identified that current building was reaching capacity. But this time, the move would be different. A plan was put in place to design and build out a space that would serve as a long-term home and could grow alongside Apex.
Building #4 — 9400 Priority Way West Drive — 2020 to Present
In 2020 Apex completed the buildout of our new world headquarters in Indianapolis. The project started in 2019, and from the beginning was an intentional effort to create a space that would position Apex to effectively meet our clients’ needs and accommodate continued growth.
In the middle of the excitement, life threw us (and the entire world) a massive curveball—the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of a grand opening of the new office, the team now faced the challenge of sustaining momentum as teams tuned in virtually from around the city and state. Today, we look back on Team Apex’s response to the challenge with awe.
Employees dug into their work from home, refusing to let client needs fall through the cracks. Team’s found new ways to stay connected and dedicated to a positive, healthy culture.
Tim Musholt, Apex’s VP of Finance and Accounting, weighed in on how the team managed to elegantly handle the challenge:
“We talk a lot about how we can prepare for the challenges our clients face before they arrive. Our COVID response was simply a matter of practicing what we preach. We developed a thorough emergency plan, and we practiced it regularly. The technology was already set up to allow the entire organization to work from home. Perhaps most importantly, our team is dedicated to overcoming challenges and putting clients first, which united us in an extremely difficult time.”
United by Mission
During the darkest days of the pandemic, the organization held together through a shared mission—help organizations save more, so they could do more for their employees. Every individual in their home office across the city and state continue to bring their unique skills and experience to bring solutions in a time where they were more desperately needed than ever.
As the world started to recover, #TeamApex was finally able to bring the team into their new home for the first time in 2022.
Envisioning our Future —Momentum
When disaster hits and uncertainty knocks, it is hard to keep moving. But Apex kept momentum through yet another challenge.
In May of 2022, Apex acquired InnovativeRx Strategies and moved them into world HQ. This acquisition vastly expanded our capabilities and industry leadership on medical claim surveillance and pharmaceutical benefits strategy.
2023 marks 20 years of Apex. Much has changed over the years and the course of 4 moves and there is so much to be proud of. The team is bigger, our home base is primed for continued growth and there are new innovations and challenges around every corner.
But we are most proud that some things have not and will never change.
Apex is a group of exceptional, talented, and tenacious caregivers united around a singular vision — to simplify a complex industry and help organizations improve their competitive position with group benefits plans that save them money and improve their health and wellbeing.