Episode 258: The Untapped Goldmine at Rough Notes with Walter J. Gdowski

Today’s journey dives into the rich history and dynamic presence of the insurance world. I’m your host, Mike Stromsoe, and I’m thrilled to have with us a venerable icon in the industry, the CEO and owner of Rough Notes Magazine Company, Walter J. Gdowski.

Walter, who joined Rough Notes in 1979 and eventually assumed the helm, will share the intriguing tale of how Rough Notes carved its niche in delivering top-notch technical information to independent agents and its historic contributions to the sector since 1878. Our discussion also touches on the evolution of the Accord forms and Rough Notes’ adept adaptation that resonates through Carmel, Indiana, where they’ve stood the testament of time. Plus, witness Walt’s passion for flight with tales that sweep through the skies on World War 2 trainer planes.

We invite you to buckle up for a ride into the past, the simplicity of ISO policies, and the electrifying potential of AI in insurance. Discover how Walt hints at new products tailored for agents, rooted deeply in Rough Notes’ celebrated content.


  • Diving into the rich history of Rough Notes Magazine Company.
  • Fantastic opportunity to tour the insurance industry history.
  • Insurance marketplace, essential information and tools available.
  • AI development gaining momentum, transforming industry processes.
  • Selflessly contribute to AI for greater impact.

About Walter J. Gdowski:

Owner & CEO The Rought Notes Company, Inc. Carmel, Indiana

Walter J. Gdowski began his insurance career in 1976 as a regional sales representative for The Rough Notes Company, Inc. in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut areas. Mr. Gwodski called an agencies of various sizes to promote the company’s manual and automated agency billing and accounting systems and sold advertising for its two publications – Rough Notes magazine and Life and Health Insurance Sales. He also handled promotions of the company’s various insurance textbooks and technical services.

In 1980, Mr. Gwodski was promoted to National Sales Manager and in 1982 became Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Mr. Gdowski was elected President and CEO of Rough Notes Company Inc. in 1988. and in February 1994 he purchased the company. He restructured the organization with an emphasis on leveraging the company’s wealth of technical data. Development of a host of software products to deliver Rough Notes’ technical data and services continued as technology evolves.

August 1996, marked The Rough Notes Company’s first anniversary of being on the Internet’s World Wide Web (http://www.roughnotes.com). Rough Notes magazine – the industry’s oldest national publication – was the first to appear in its entirety on the Internet. The company remains in the forefront as it has during its 146-year history, expanding its delivery of products and services on CD-ROM and the Internet’s World Wide Web.

Mr. Gdowski is a golf advocate and enjoys flying one of his three warbirds ( WW II trainers) to air shows after getting his pilot license at the age of 52.

Until next time, get out there and make a difference, be unstoppable, and leave no regrets!

Mike Stromsoe
The Unstoppable Profit Producer
Call 800-770-9984

Email: [email protected]

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