Up Close & Personal: Sean Cornelius
Successor to Gary Ross of the Weed Ross Agency
By Kim Wade
Sean Cornelius, friendly and soft-spoken recently shared with The Villager some of the journey that led to his becoming the successor to Gary Ross, of the Weed Ross Agency. Coming on board in 2014, just two and a half years later on March 16, Sean became the head of the agency that has served Ellicottville, since the fifties. He comes by his chosen profession honestly; his father ran a State Farm office in Kane PA and his grandfather once ran a claims office in McCain County, PA.
Sean has a wife, Erin, a psychologist and two sons, Finn –age 2, and Harrison-ag 5. As a family they all share a love of the outdoor life. Sean even met Erin on Chautauqua Lake in 2007. Sean’s father and he were racing their sailboat when they flipped over. They were rescued and towed in, by his wife to be! Not your average “first date,” but coincidentally, they were both living in Florida at the time. She in Miami and he in Jacksonville and the rest…well you know… is their story. Even their dog, Bemus (your regular mutt-type, named after Bemus Pt.) went primal on a bobcat who happened to drop in, on one of their hikes! The dog successfully fended it off and sent it running for the safety of the woods. Beyonce ( a French bulldog) loves her family.
That love of outdoor life is what drew Sean back to Ellicottville. He started
carving it up when he was just ten and twelve years old snowboarding in Erie PA. He worked at the first terrain park in Holiday Valley, also at “Mud, Sweat and Gears.” He graduated St. Bonaventure University with a B.A. in Philosophy/Pre-Law, in 2003. In his twenties he was working as an insurance adjustor in Florida and was assigned to the “State Farm Catastrophe Team”, traveling throughout the country as needed. He has helped homeowners face such losses as hurricanes, tornadoes, severe water damages, snowstorms, hail events and even wildfires.
As we now have year round events with more activities and more varied people being drawn to settle here, Sean is wholly appreciative of his very experienced staff and considers them an integral part of being able to continue the legacy of longevity that being “Ellicottville’s Insurance
Agency” has meant to so many, for so long! In fact, no other agency has continuously served EVL, generationally speaking! Roseanne has been with Weed Ross since 1974, Kelley for twenty years and Lindsey, ten. Both Roseanne and Lindsey are Evl natives whereas Kelly and Sean, grew up elsewhere. All to create a team uniquely fit to serve the needs of locals as well as newcomers.
The Weed Ross office itself has an ethic that matches the sports/fun loving atmosphere of Ellicottville, while their longevity and experience gives them more than ample knowledge to navigate life’s unexpected and sometimes rough water! Sean updated the office to the current level of performing electronic signings for things to a re-vamp of the “weedross.com” website. Currently dormant; but look for its expected “re-emergence”, in coming months. Weed Ross also has an active Facebook presence.
The staff is small family style, not a corporate image. That said, Sean has a total of eighteen insurance companies, national providers as well as local. This allows him to be able to check on the best rates for his clients across a wide range of products for Auto, Home, and Life; with Second Homes being a specialty! The beauty of being an independent gent! He also can insure your boats, farms, local retail businesses, restaurants, mechanics’ garages, car washes and Dr.’s offices!
With his eye toward longevity, Mr. Cornelius and staff have moved to 4 Monroe Street, to a separate, stand-alone grey house, sporting a new Weed Ross logo embodying the foothills of the Allegany Mountains. Stop by for a visit! Sean even leaves his cell phone number on the answer machine if you call after hours as he knows from his previous life as an insurance adjuster that claims do not just happen during business hours.