In the early years of his working life, Billy Calvin Campbell realized something essential about who he was: “I didn’t want a job, I wanted an opportunity.”
Campbell wanted an opportunity to earn money based on his skills, not on what an employer decided his time was worth.
The insurance industry gave the Inglewood entrepreneur that opportunity, and more than four decades after he started working with two of the nation’s premiere African American insurance companies–North Carolina Mutual and Golden State Mutual–he has been recognized for his business success by the California Legislature.
The founder and chief executive officer of Allstate The Campbell Agency was recently recognized by Assemblyman Curren Price as Businessman of the Year for the 51st District.
“Opening my own agency was an opportunity to chart my own destiny,” said Campbell, who has been in business 41 years and spent 31 of them with Allstate.
His clients include the City of Inglewood, Hollywood Park Casino and Hustler Casino. Everything he has accomplished happened because the Mississippi native never wanted to work at a job. In fact, Campbell laughingly remembers begging his older brother to fire him from a job in order to find something that gave him more freedom and control.
In addition to forging his own path, entrepreneurship has given Campbell the opportunity to provide employment for other individuals and pay them a good salary.

It has also given him a chance to travel extensively. “I’ve traveled to Europe including Paris, France; London, England; and Hong Kong. My last trip was to the Greek Islands on a Mediterranean cruise. I had the opportunity to visit some of the areas where St. Paul spent lots of time. That was really gratifying,” added Campbell, who is a devoted member of Trinity Baptist Church.
Campbell will receive another honor next month.
“My wife and I, although she is deceased, are being inducted into our high school hall of fame in Brookhaven, MS. We’re also going to have a foundation established (at the school) for the purpose of (helping) people who want to go into the medical field. That’s because my wife was a licensed physician assistant, and she was the first black hired by Kaiser Permanente,” explained Campbell, who is the seventh of eight children and arrived with his family in Los Angeles in the late 1950s.
The key to his business success said Campbell has been providing customers exemplary service and maintaining a high level of integrity.
“You have to have integrity . . . or you will always have to look over your shoulder and wonder who is going to find me out. I never lived like that, and consequently 95 percent of my business has come from referrals.”
Down the road, Campbell is looking to see his daughter take over the firm, but he is not planning to retire. Instead, the Belmont High graduate intends to get even more involved in his newest business passion–real estate development and in particular, building housing in his hometown.