A familiar face at one of Hermiston’s largest employers has taken on a new role.

Josh Burns, who served as general manager of the Walmart Distribution Center in Hermiston, left that role at the end of May. As of July 1, he now works as an insurance agent for Swanson Insurance Group.

Burns said owner Luke Swanson told him months ago he should join up and thought he was joking when he said, “Sure.” But Burns took the necessary test and applied for a license.

“I’ve been in large-scale leadership for almost my whole career,” Burns said. “Now I get a little bit more say in what my day looks like.”

He said he had always admired Swanson’s work-life balance and the way he makes time for coaching sports and volunteering.

One thing that drew him to Swanson Insurance Group is that it doesn’t have an office — everyone works from home, allowing them more time with family, and then visits customers at their business or another public place.

“These are all folks who are really busy, so we don’t want to make them come to us. We can go out and meet them where it works for them,” he said.

Burns spent 14 years in total working for Walmart, after a career in the Air Force before that. He said his position at the distribution center meant that to move up he would need to move away, and his family had already decided that Hermiston was “home.”

“I’ve only ever worked for the government and for the world’s largest corporation, so this is a big change,” Burns said.

Swanson said he was pleased to be able to work with Burns, who has been prominently involved in the community not only as a business leader but also in roles, such as a Rotarian and former Hermiston Chamber of Commerce board president.

“I’m super excited to have Josh,” Swanson said. “His reputation in town is second to none.”

Swanson Insurance Group started in 2018 and at first had a partnership with Simmons Insurance Group, but as of July 1 is now independent.

The business deals in several different types of insurance, including personal, commercial and agricultural policies. They currently have a staff of four people.

Swanson said his aim to go beyond selling insurance policies and to help guide businesses.

“We want to be there with them as their business is growing,” he said.

For more information, visit swansoninsgroup.com.

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