Warren Barhorst

Dean's Advisory Board Member

President and Chief Executive Officer


Warren Barhorst ’81is a talented and seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in entrepreneurship, risk management, insurance, financial services, distribution strategy and consulting. He brings a wealth of expertise with particular strengths in setting the vision, strategic direction, and leadership of a company. Warren has a strong understanding of enterprise risk management, captive insurance formation, implementation and management. He is an industry leader in organic insurance distribution growth as well as selecting, developing and motivating talent.

Warren is extremely competent at managing the P&L and Balance Sheet. He truly understands how to minimize taxation and leverage finances. Currently, Warren operates a private risk management, insurance and financial services firm, Iscential, (pronounced essential), which he founded in 1993. Warren serves as both President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition, he is a Principal and Managing Partner of Renovo Partners, LLC a business management-consulting company.

Warren has grown Iscential from a start-up to a 100-million-dollar firm. Iscential, or the Barhorst Insurance Group as it was originally named, was listed on the Inc. 5000 list from 2008 to 2011 as well as the Houston Business Journal Fast 100 from 2008 to 2010. Barhorst has managed Iscential’s CAGR over 130% from inception through 2016. Iscential is frequently ranked as a best place to work by the Houston Business Journal, Best and Brightest Companies as well as Texas Monthly Magazine.

As a consultant, Barhorst has worked with more than 100 companies ranging from small-scale start-ups to mid and large size corporations. Projects including: M&A, business valuation, distribution effectiveness, process improvement, call center design and implementation, sales, leadership and business acumen training. His largest project to date was his contribution to an 18-month 60-million-dollar board funded distribution strategy project for a Fortune 100 insurance company.

Prior to forming Iscential, Warren started his career after college at Mannesmann Demag. He started as a sales engineer trainee and quickly rose through the ranks becoming Demag’s number one District Manager, responsible for sales in seven states across 60 distributors. Warren’s ability to take complex technical subjects and make them easily understandable, coupled with his unique understanding of how manufacturers and distributors are at cross-purposes allowed him to build relationships at an exponential rate driving everyone’s success.

In addition to his executive career, Warren serves on several advisory boards and boards of directors. He is the Chairman of Legacy One Reinsurance Co. Ltd and donates his time as a member of the Rapport Society for the Texas A&M Medical School as well as an advisor, investor and mentor to the University of Houston Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. Warren held an advisory board position to the CEO of Starrex International, Ltd CNSX: STX. He is a past board member of the Texas A&M University Industrial Distribution program advisory board and the Texas Association of Business. His consulting work led him to be named as the Catastrophe plan CEO for the Kansas Farmers Service Association Insurance operation from 2010 to 2012. He is an active member of the National Association of Financial Advisors, Private Risk Managers Association and the Million Dollar Round Table. Warren is also deeply committed to the cause of helping those in need by just offering a helping hand, teaching entrepreneurship to our youth or his strong belief of furthering society through education. He is the past Chairman of Jackie Sherrill’s 12th MKOT Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping others in need. He and his wife Lisa have an endowed scholarship at Texas A&M University, funding student Research in Service Distribution as well as a scholarship at the University of Houston for students studying entrepreneurship.

Over the past twenty-five years, Warren has established himself as a thought leader in the field of entrepreneurship, risk management as well as teaching business owners how to get the wealth out of their company. He wrote and published his first book, Game Plan, The Definitive Playbook to Starting and Growing Your Business in 2008 and his second book, Game Plan, The Definitive Playbook for Selling in the Connection Culture was released in February 2016. He is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer. Warren is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner and he recently appeared on the cover of Smart Business Magazine with a feature article on how he changes mindsets through passion and viewing employees as assets.

Warren Barhorst obtained his bachelor’s of science in industrial distribution from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University as well as an honorary diploma from the University of Houston for Excellence in Mentoring. He holds a Series 6, 7, 24, 63 and 65 securities registrations as well as his Group 1 Life and Health insurance license, General Lines Property Casualty license and is a Licensed Risk Manager. Warren Holds the National Association of Financial Advisors (NAIFA) LUTCF Designation and is a 17 year qualifying Life Member of the Million Dollar Round Table. Warren also holds his Chartered Private Risk and Insurance Advisor (CPRIA) Designation from the Private Risk Managers Association as well as his Financial Services Certified Profession (FSCP) from the American College for Financial Services.