155 Pinelawn Rd, Suite 210N, Melville, NY 11747
Ed Probst and Vincent Blasi are childhood friends that grew up on the baseball fields of southeast queens together. It is there that they first formed a friendship that now spans over five decades. After college, still close friends, and at the time working in unrelated fields, Vinny and Ed started working in the life Insurance industry together on a part-time basis. Their original business model was to help small business owners with their life Insurance and retirement planning needs. However, Ed and Vinny quickly recognized that there was a developing need for health insurance planning. With premiums on the rise, they saw that business owners were in need of, a consultative approach to controlling these costs. In 1999 they took a chance and opened a small office in Bayside, Queens which was the advent of Vanguard Insurance Agency.
In 2002, Vanguard became a member of the Bayside Business Association. It was then that their relationship with Tommy DiMisa first started. Tommy, a rising star at ADP became a great referral partner and later producer serving business owners’ payroll and benefits needs.
During these earlier years, while Tommy was at ADP, he and Vanguard developed a strong relationship of referrals and they networked to connect each other to other centers of influence. As Tommy moved on to other companies including TriNet PEO, this relationship continued to flourish, and Tommy was developing skills and knowledge that would later be valuable to his skill set.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land, and health insurance premiums continued to spike. With businesses having more regulation, costs continuing to rise, and the health insurance market in turmoil there was a greater need than ever before for a consultative approach from benefits advisors. As the market became increasingly difficult, Vanguard had a tough decision to make. Do we move away from the health insurance market all together or do we embrace the environment and provide a desperately needed expertise? It was at that time that Vanguard made a decision that would shape its organization into what it is today.
With a commitment to excellence, and to providing their clients with the highest level of expertise they continued to evolve their skills and education. Ed earned and now holds several designations including certifications in Healthcare Reform studies, Registered Health Underwriter-RHU, and the prestigious Registered Employee Benefits Consultant-REBC. In the meantime, Vinny was investing his time in perfecting what would become the Vanguard Client Service model. Vanguard Insurance Agency was now laser-focused on providing employee benefits solutions.
The relationship with Tommy DiMisa continued to grow over the years, and it was in the fall of 2016 when it was made official that Tommy was joining the Vanguard team. With forward-thinking minds, Ed, Vinny, and Tommy quickly took to brainstorming what the future should look like. It was later that year, during Christmas week that the three met at a local restaurant in Valley Stream to discuss the future. Inspired by what Tommy had seen at TriNet around having a niche market or industry focus, they explored what their target market should be over lunch. It was that afternoon when Vinny mentioned the idea of specializing in the Non-Profit sector. He pointed out that the firm enjoyed working with Non-Profits and it was clear that the support we provided truly made a difference. That was it!!! Since then, the team has become very involved in the nonprofit sector, often testing out ways to give back and be involved.
They have recognized the importance of giving back to their clients and, the community and have woven that into the fabric of their business.
Their commitment to the nonprofit sector has made the guys well known in the region as philanthropists and resources to NY Metro nonprofits. They have been major sponsors of the LI Imagine Awards, and The Generosity Series 5K, and were part of the team who created The Nonprofit Resource Hub, which provides support, networking, and education to the nonprofit sector. Between their board service, social impact, and volunteerism the team at Vanguard Benefits is showing the importance of being involved in the community.
In 2018, Vanguard moved to Melville, NY where they are presently located. 2021 embarked on a rebrand of their Name, Logo, and Website with their partner Spirit of Huntington. In October of 2022, they officially launched their new Website under a new name, Vanguard Benefits.
Growing up in the blue collar neighborhood of Ozone Park, Queens, I quickly learned the value of hard work and family. I had a great childhood with loving parents and two sisters who shaped me into the person I am today. I spent much of my time on the Baseball field where I developed some of the greatest relationships of my life, and learned many life lessons.
Baseball was and still is one of my greatest passions. Learning how to work towards a common goal as a team is something that has helped me tremendously in all my business and personal endeavors. I carried that with me into my educational experience and was a student athlete at St, Francis Prep, Queensborough CC, and finally NY Tech where I received a Baseball Scholarship.
If you have ever met me, you know that I bleed Orange and Blue. I’ve had a 53 year love affair with the NY Mets, started by my Dad when I was born in 1969 and witnessed my first World Championship. Although I’ve had many ups and downs with the team they have created incredible bonds in my family and now with my own children which I will always cherish.
In 1999 I co-founded Vanguard Benefits with my lifelong friend and teammate Vinny Blasi. Together we have built a family like business that has evolved over 23 years to be a reputable Employee Benefits Firm that cares a lot about their clients. I believe that benefits are personal and that every client, and employee is important. I’ve dedicated myself to ensure my business acumen conveys this message to our clients, partners, and staff. It has always been important to me to continually expand my knowledge base, in order to deliver an expertise that my clients can rely on. I have studied through the American College and National Association Of Health Underwriters to receive the designations of Registered Health underwriter (RHU) and the prestigious Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC), as well as a certification in Affordable Care Act Studies.
I’ve always felt that giving feels far greater than receiving. This is a value my wife and I are determined to instill in our children. I’ve enjoyed all of my volunteer experience including time serving on the Board Of Directors at Cerebral Palsy of Nassau County, as President of the Bayside Business Association, and as a youth Baseball and Softball Coach. I’ve been a coach for over 25 years and now get to experience coaching my own kids which has fulfilled a dream that I’ve always had.
When not working or volunteering you will find me spending time with my wife Justine and our children Edward and Sophia, at our home in Albertson, NY. We love to attend Mets games together, and you will often find us at one of Edward’s baseball games or at Sophia’s theater productions. Personally I enjoy playing Basketball, Golf, and watching the Mets. I do it as much as I can.
With over 20 years of industry experience and knowledge, Vinny’s focus on organizational skills and operational management for the firm has proven to be a significant asset to the high level of client retention and satisfaction. Vinny maintains consistent relationships with carriers, clients, and his team to ensure that all clients and their employees have an informed and cone.
Always a team player, Vinny maintains strong relationships with both his team of account managers as well as Vanguard’s sales team.
Vinny’s conscientious and calm nature that have proven to be a major benefit during what at times can be challenging and sensitive conversations as employees need access to specific care.
In his time away from the office, Vinny is inspired by his wife and 4 children and their passion for sports & the outdoors. After many years of playing & now coaching, time on any field is a second home.
Director of Strategic Alliances
He brings over 17 years of expertise in strategic alliances with business owners and trusted advisers and is known as a selfless connector who consistently adds value to his networking partners, clients, and community.
Tommy’s work at ADP, TriNet and CoAdvantage honed his expertise in PEO and HR outsourcing. During his time at Safeguard Global, Tommy helped businesses tackle the global need for easy and agile global employment outsourcing solutions. Through this variety of experience
Tommy has become keenly aware of the options available in the HR & Benefits market positioning him as a consultant with Vanguard Insurance Agency.
Tommy’s passion for the nonprofit sector has made him a beloved philanthropic activist. Tommy created Philanthropy in Phocus, a project that provides support to nonprofits through networking opportunities, thought leadership, and a soon to be launched podcast series. Tommy sits on the boards of The Bayside Business Association, TSI CARES, The Health & Business Alliance, and TNG-THE Networking Group as “Chief Culture Officer” and The Lindy Loo Foundation.
Vanguard Benefits is continually striving to differentiate itself from the competition with innovation, strategic planning, and by providing the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to offer the most robust employee benefits package to our clients.