Directory of Executives
- Austin James, CPCU, ARM
Austin James, CPCU, ARM
Associate Director – CAT Property Division
Austin started his insurance career on the retail side as a producer, after graduating with a degree in Finance from Florida State University. Eventually he moved into the wholesale space working for two large national brokerages. In 2014, he joined McGowan to launch McGowan Risk Specialists- CAT and Specialty Property Division. Since then, he has focused on building the organization to be a best in class property & casualty wholesaler to serve the needs of agencies nationwide. Outside of work, Austin enjoys golf, biking, traveling and spending time with his family. He currently resides in Central Florida with his wife and two young boys.
- Thomas P. Wilkens
Thomas P. Wilkens
Branch Manager & Director – Professional Liability Division
Tom graduated from Stanford University in 1998 with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, he was a highly successful Professional Swimmer until 2004. Tom was a two year Captain of the Stanford Swim team; and led them to the National Championship in 1998. He was a 5-time NCAA Champion, 16-time U.S. National Champion, American Record Holder, and World Champion. Most notably, Tom was Captain of United States Olympic Swim Team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia; where he won the Bronze Medal in the 200 Meter Individual Medley.
In 2004, Tom started his insurance career with AIG as a Management Liability Underwriter. In 2006, he joined Professional Risk Placements, LLC; which became McGowan Risk Specialists on July 1, 2013. He has his NJ Producers License and Surplus Lines Authority.
Tom is actively involved with the Professional Insurance Agents Association of NJ (PIA). He is currently a Director on the NJ PIA Board, and a member of the Government Affairs Committee. Tom is also a Board Member of the NJ Young Insurance Professionals; where he served as President for 2 terms. Tom was honored as the 2010 NJ YIP Director of the Year and also received the 2013 Distinguished Service Award.
Tom and his wife, Stephanie, have 2 children: Bryce and Kasey. He has been active in Municipal Government, as an elected official on the Middletown (NJ) Township Committee. Tom is also a motivational speaker; and is actively involved in community service including his membership on the Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He enjoys spending time with his family, coaching, and playing golf.
- Peter A. Wilkens, MBA, CPCU
Peter A. Wilkens, MBA, CPCU
Regional Vice President – Professional Liability Division
Mr. Wilkens received both his BS (Finance) and MBA degrees from Fordham University in New York City, and in 1984 earned his CPCU designation. After service in the U.S. Army, he started his insurance career with Wohlreich & Anderson, Ltd, a prominent Lloyds’ broker, rising to the position of National Marketing Manager. In 1980, Peter opened Swett & Crawford’s New York office; ultimately becoming Eastern Regional Manager/ Senior Vice President. In 1992 he joined Quaker Special Risk of NJ, and was involved in the development of a professional liability unit for that organization. Mr. Wilkens formed Professional Risk Placements, LLC in 1996; which became McGowan Risk Specialists on July 1, 2013.
Mr. Wilkens has over 40 years experience in the specialty insurance field, and has been active in many industry trade groups. He was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO), and the Society of CPCU Excess/Surplus Lines Section Committee. He is also a Past President of the New Jersey Surplus Lines Association. In addition to NAPSLO, CPCU and the NJSLA, other industry associations that he is active in include the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS), Professional Insurance Agents, IIABNJ and NJBIA.
Peter is a frequent speaker on Professional Liability topics and has served on the faculty of Brookdale Community College’s Continuing Education Department. Additionally, he has been an instructor for the PIA CIC program.
Peter and his wife, Laney, have three children and seven grandchildren. Outside of work, Peter is a “recreational” golfer, swimming official, and avid bicyclist. He is also devotes as much time as possible to volunteer work; and is on the Economic Development Committee for his hometown of Middletown, NJ.