The story of how Trae Wieniewitz began his career in the insurance industry is common enough. He started off working as an agent at a large insurance company. Three years later, Wieniewitz’ entrepreneurial spirit spurred him to strike out on his own. This is where his story starts to become uncommon.

“In 2004, a business associate, Ron Knowles, told me about Asset Marketing Systems (AMS),” Wieniewitz said. “AMS appealed to me because they gave me the support I needed to be independent. They opened up the whole concept of seminar marketing and I no longer had to worry about where I’d find my next client.”

Over the following year, Wieniewitz built his practice, splitting his time between his home in Baton Rouge, La., New Orleans, and Biloxi, Miss., where he held seminars. Business was good. But that was all about to change.

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast. New Orleans suffered considerable damage and Biloxi was devastated.

“The hurricane wiped out everything,” Wieniewitz remembered. “So many homes were destroyed. I didn’t know where most of my clients were. Even the restaurants I used for seminars were completely gone.”

Not only did Katrina scatter his client base and destroy his seminar locations, it also forced the residents who remained on the Gulf Coast to focus on rebuilding their lives, not on longer-range needs like retirement planning. Wieniewitz found himself at a crossroads. He could either stay in Baton Rouge and wait for life on the Gulf Coast to return to normal, or he could start again somewhere else.

The decision came down to the business model he had created with his AMS business consultant, Dee Costa. Wieniewitz believed strongly that he could take that model, which was a proven success, and rebuild a prosperous practice in a new area. Working closely with AMS, Wieniewitz and his family scouted out new territories where they could start a new life for themselves.

“I must have talked with my AMS team six to 10 times a week at that point,” Wieniewitz said. “They created a list of areas where I could continue to do seminars. Then my wife and I had to figure out which of these places we’d want to live in and raise a family. We decided on Knoxville, Tenn.”

While the Wieniewitz family worked on relocating, AMS researched the Knoxville market and formulated a strategy that would allow Wieniewitz to hit the ground running, identifying target market areas and restaurants where he could hold seminars.

Six weeks after the hurricane, Wieniewitz held his first seminar in Knoxville. By the end of 2006, Wieniewitz achieved an impressive milestone. He was named to AMS’ Dream Team, representing the company’s top 100 producers nationwide.

Wieniewitz’ resurgence continued in 2007. His annual production nearly tripled to $8 million and he finished the year as one of AMS’ top 25 producers. He has established himself in Knoxville as a respected agent for fixed index annuities, life insurance, and securities. Wieniewitz specializes in clients who are looking for simple retirement strategies that offer safety of principle and a reasonable rate of return.

“I’ve been very blessed to find success at what I do in a very short period of time,” Wieniewitz noted. “I have really worked hard to build a sustainable business model and teaming with AMS gave me the best chance for success.”

Securities offered through Madison Avenue Securities, Inc. (MAS) Member FINRA & SIPC. MAS is an affiliated subsidiary of Asset Marketing Systems Insurance Services, LLC (AMS). MAS and AMS are not affiliated with Wieniewitz Financial.