Argent shows it’s large and in charge
Breaks ground for larger facility Monday

By Anne Matteucci - Special to the Freeman

Sept. 30, 2014

State Senator Paul Farrow presents a citation from Gov. Scott Walker to West Bend Mutual Insurance Company CFO Dale Kent during a ceremony before the groundbreaking for the company’s Argent division headquarters in the City of Pewaukee Monday afternoon. 
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

CITY OF PEWAUKEE - Argent, a division of West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to celebrate kicking off their soon-to-be new office building in the City of Pewaukee to house their growing company.

Argent is a monoline worker’s compensation provider. It specializes in working with much larger than normal businesses, such as hospitals, large retail chains and large contractors. To get an idea of how much these policies cover, the average premium is $200,000.

The company started with just 10 core employees with an entrepreneurial mindset, according to Paul Hingtgen, Argent vice president.

So why the big move?

“Well, we’re out of space,” said Hingtgen. “We have now added another 45 people onto that, and in the space that we’re in right now, we’re pretty cramped.”

From left, Argent assistant vice president for claims, Dave Nettum; Argent assistant vice president for operations; Jim Keal, Argent assistant vice president for loss control, Mike DeLaney; West Bend CEO Kevin Steiner; State Rep. Adam Neylon, State Senator Paul Farrow; West Bend CFO Dale Kent; Argent vice president Paul Hingtgen; and Bill Schwartz, director of development for Interstate Partners, LLC, the company constructing the new building, break ground for the more than 25,000 square foot building Monday afternoon in the City of Pewaukee.  
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Of 55 employees, 12 of them live in their jurisdictions, which include cities in Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Their job is to help prevent or contain the cost of a workplace injury - which requires them to work closely with their clients.

Whether meeting with them once a month or every other month, Hingtgen said, they have to have people geographically situated because it would be unproductive otherwise.

Even with some of their employees strategically dropped across three states, space was scarce in their old building.

“We had to go off site and rent a room to have meetings,” Hingtgen said.

The new building will have expandable meeting areas so that conferences with the entire staff are plausible. One of their larger meeting areas is designed to open up and accommodate 90 to 100 people.

Along with larger conference rooms, the new location will have an exercise facility for staff, large windows, ambient lighting, and a walking trail outside - with as many preserved trees as possible.

The future home of Argent, a division of West Bend Mutual Insurance, will be located at N25-W23645 Watertown Road in the City of Pewaukee. The 25,700-square-foot, two-story office building is being built by Interstate Partners. It will be on 23 acres,
with a natural walking path circling the property.  

Submitted rendering

Lot once had farmhouse, barns

According to Hingtgen, the lot at N25-W23645 Watertown Road was once the home of a farmhouse and two old barns - all of which they will be incorporating into their new building.

The barn wood and timber found on the lot will be saved and repurposed.

Whether it be using the timber for chairs or picture frames, Hingtgen said the company is very interested in keeping the legacy of the property. Unsure of what exactly that legacy is, Argent is in contact with the county historical society as they try to figure out who was there before them.

“It used to be a living, working farm with a ton of history,” said Hingtgen. “We respect that - it’s a very nice place. We’re really happy with it.”

He said in the coming years, Argent can expect to operate in three additional states by the end of 2016, and six states will be the core states.

That means 12 or 13 jobs in the next year and a half, not counting when they move to the three additional states. But it’s not an easy hiring process.

Hingtgen said there are still job positions open because some of them can be difficult to fill.

“It’s like an NFL draft pick,” he said. “We’ll wait and wait until the right pick comes along - sometimes there just isn’t the right match.”

And finding the right match for the company is important - especially to its founders.

“The building is an exclamation mark for the original 10 people that wanted to come with their entrepreneurial spirit and their desire to build something, along with the other 45 staff members - this it the exclamation mark to say you did it,” said Hingtgen.

Argent expects to be in the new building in the beginning of May.