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Charles Smith of Palm Beach, Fla., known for his work in support of the agency management system, was named recipient of the 64th annual John Newton Russell Memorial Award. The award recognizes sustained and meritorious service to the life insurance industry.

Smith received the industry’s highest honor at a gala event during the 2005 National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) Convention and Career Conference, held here Sept. 11-14.

A youth minister with degrees in divinity and theology before entering the life insurance industry in 1969, Smith dedicated most of the next 35 years to effective agency management. He launched his career with Prudential Life Insurance and within three years became a division manager.

Three years later, he was named agency manager of the company’s Palm Beach office. Under Smith’s leadership his producers ranked among the company’s best.

His agency earned 15 Prudential President’s Mastery Agency Citations; and in 1995, he was inducted into the Prudential Preferred Hall of Fame for all-around performance. He and his agency earned industry-wide recognition, including NAIFA’s 100 Percent Agency Award from 1970 to 1998.

Smith furthered his commitment to effective agency management and agent development with his involvement in GAMA International, formerly the General Agents and Managers Association.

He first served as presidents of the Palm Beach County GAMA and then Florida State GAMA before heading up the organization’s global operation as president in 1997. He then served as its chief executive officer from 1998 to 2003. He has since directed GAMA’s strategic vision as chair of the GAMA International Leadership Team.

For much of the last year, Smith has been involved in the work of the Task Force for the Future, an industry-wide team of professionals examining challenges within the industry and how best to address those challenges.