Because of the broad background that I have, I may not be able to look into the future, but I think I understand people pretty well. And with the practice that I've had, there are some trends that are very predictable. I have a strong belief, probably from my Airforce experience and flying in Vietnam – processes executed well, have a tendency to win.
Chuck Lucius was born and raised in Moorhead, Minnesota. He grew up in a family where his father worked as a traveling wholesaler for Continental Insurance Company and his mother worked as a bookkeeper. At age 16, Chuck spent his summers working over 70 hours a week as a heavy equipment operator. He worked across the Upper Midwest on the Soo Line and slept in railroad bunk cars at nights. It's during this time in his life that Chuck developed his work ethic that he prides himself on to this day.
After graduating high school in 1966, Chuck enrolled at North Dakota State University. During his time at NDSU, Chuck majored in psychology and joined the Air Force ROTC program. Following his graduation from NDSU in 1970, Chuck left for pilot training with the United States Air Force. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, where he flew T37s and T38s for a year and then C130s for four years. For a young man at that time, that was something ‒ an experience, a dream. That power changed Chuck. It helped him realize what he was capable of achieving and taught him lessons about freedom and independence that still guide him today.
In 1975, after serving in the United States Air Force, Chuck began his career in the insurance industry with Prudential Life Insurance Company. He successfully served in the field and in numerous leadership roles, including estate planning specialist, director of advanced marketing and director of fee-based financial planning. Chuck also served as managing director overseeing the leading Prudential Agency in Minnesota, earning Prudential's highest honors as the recipient of the President's Citation Award. Over the course of his career, Chuck has attained the following designations: Series 7, 24, 63, 65 as well as CLU®, ChFC®, CFP® and a master's degree in financial sciences (MSFS).
In 2001, Chuck began his tenure as president and principal of a carrier-owned insurance marketing organization. Under his leadership, the organization grew to become an industry leader, expanding from a group of 15 professionals to a team of more than 150 professionals and more than 200 registered representatives. Annual premium soared under his leadership, and a wealth management business model was created which included fixed annuities, securities, long-term care and life insurance divisions, as well as a top-tier practice management program. He earned a reputation for operational excellence.
Chuck co-founded Independent Brokerage with his wife, Tami, in 2005. They later changed the name to Gradient Insurance Brokerage, Inc. and formed Gradient Financial Group, LLC and its member companies. Chuck's oldest sons, Brian and Nate, have large leadership roles within the company, and he hopes his youngest sons, Chaz and Cruz, will follow in the family tradition and work at the company in the future.
Today, Gradient Financial Group offers a diverse portfolio of products and services, including insurance products, investment advisory services, asset management, securities, non-biased case support and tax strategies, and compliance services. They also offer a full-service creative design firm and the proprietary KonnexME technology platform. Chuck and Tami also founded the Gradient Gives Back Foundation in 2009.
In his role as CEO of Gradient Financial Group, Chuck provides the vision for the cutting-edge platform of products and services available to independent financial professionals. He also serves on numerous insurance company leadership councils.
Chuck is a sought-after knowledge leader from insurance carriers and associations, where he is often chosen as a keynote speaker for industry events. He actively spends time furthering his industry knowledge to continue the growth of Gradient Financial Group and its member companies.
Chuck was a pioneer in merging independent insurance agents with registered independent advisors. In an industry defining decision, Chuck saw that insurance agents would have a hard time surviving without additional licensure. He thought that as long as there was complete transparency upfront with the consumer, one could serve as an independent insurance agent and a registered independent advisor. Many in the industry were highly critical of his decision to merge the two at the time, but it's since become the industry norm.
Hey there, insurance agent: We can make you an RIA , Investment News, 2007
Gradient Financial Group, LLC Wins Best Sales and Marketing Team Award , InsuranceNewsNet.com, 2011
“When I think of Chuck, I think visionary. He has the amazing ability to think very far into the future, decide how he wants things done, and then empowers us to perform the execution for that vision. I have always admired how real he is and the level of support he provides to those of us on his team. He is truly one of a kind.”
– Gretchen Beatty, Senior Vice President of Business Development, KonnexMe
“Chuck saw something in me when I didn't. He is someone who pushed me more than I've ever been pushed, and he has taught me to always be a student, to always listen and to always do what's right. As his ‘student', I have seen how he has been an industry influencer and cultivator of ideas and how he has been able to take those ideas and bring them to life like no one else has in the industry. He truly is a leader and mentor because a true leader doesn't create followers, they create more leaders.”
– Dustin Leonard, Vice President of Marketing, Gradient Annuity Brokerage
“Chuck is one of the smartest people I've met. He is very much a pioneer and innovator. I've never seen anyone that thinks the way that he does and can step back and look at a problem, break it down and figure out ways to move the ball forward and improve processes.”
- Jeff F.
Chuck and Tami founded Gentry Academy based on the passion they share for athletics, elite academics and leadership. They are inspired by family and guided by responsibility, innovation, leadership, discipline and relationships. This ideology is evident in their desire to teach and inspire youth to achieve their fullest potential.
Gentry Academy is an accredited school under the stringent Standards for Quality Early Learning of AdvancED, the largest community of education professionals in the world, and the organization that provides accreditation to many of the top schools in Minnesota.Learn More
Gradient Gives Back Foundation is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that supports the Gradient Gives Back Community Outreach Program and devotes its resources to assisting Americans. The Foundation strives to help poor, distressed or underprivileged American families who are at risk of losing their homes. It also seeks to unite communities by inspiring Americans for the purpose of charitable giving.
Since its establishment, Gradient Gives Back Foundation has awarded mortgage or lease payments to numerous families across the United States and continues its commitment to actions that make immediate and real differences in the lives of families who have fallen on hard times.Learn More