Joe Arkin, Property Loss Specialist (PLS)

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Joe Arkin, claims supervisor, Property Loss Specialist (PLS).

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

As an independent insurance adjusting company, we partner with insurance carriers across the country that call on us to help them handle anything from a small water loss to a large catastrophic event like a hurricane. We have a roster of adjusters from across the United States to help us when storms affect an area. So, in the event of a catastrophic storm, our office personnel, field adjusters, and desk adjusting workforce may balloon to 10 times the normal staff. It takes an incredible amount of organization, teamwork, communication, and hours to react quickly when a storm event has devastated an area. Assembling all the pieces and implementing each one specifically tailored to each client can be very challenging. The most rewarding aspects are when you can help the insured that had their business or home damaged by a disaster, and see the people you have hired and trained become professionally successful.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

A local businessman who I admire is Hawk Sullivan. He is the owner of Hawk’s Bar and Grill, Atomic Koi Cocktail Lounge, Jade Monkey, and Star Bar. He started his first location, Hawk’s Bar and Grill, back in 2002. After successfully owning and working in his first business, he added three more restaurants/bars. His next two establishments, Atomic Koi in Fitchburg and Jade Monkey on the east side of Madison, were in locations where similar businesses failed. With Hawk’s vision and ability to create unique settings, each business has thrived and added to its specific neighborhoods. His hard work, dedication, and continued involvement in trying to add to Madison are admirable.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

I would say the past two years been a huge high point. After many years of hard work, long hours, wearing multiple hats, and sacrificing nights and weekends, we have taken our company from a small vendor to a much larger national multimillion-dollar company. It has been one of the toughest but most rewarding things I have been a part of in my professional career, and I look forward to the continued challenges ahead to keep the company moving in the right direction.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Be patient. We all want to be successful within our careers, make more money, and advance our roles. It isn’t something that just happens overnight. I have had three different career changes over a 21-year work life. Each experience, mistake, failure, success, boss, and friendship has led me to where I am now and will continue to lead me to where I end up. I would tell any young professional to not expect immediate success and to accept failures and grow from them. If you put in the time and hard work, it will pay off — just not overnight.

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What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

I have lived in the Madison area since 1991 and have enjoyed all it has to offer — lakes, bike/running paths, parks, sports and recreation, a great selection of restaurants, and entertainment, to name a few. It is an active city and there is always something to do. The best thing about working in Dane County may be the stability in economic growth. With the Capitol and university anchoring Madison, there are always new businesses and opportunities coming to the area.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I think people in my current industry are surprised when I tell them I was carpenter for several years before I got into the insurance industry. I worked for a high-quality residential remodeling company here in Madison, where I learned many great skills. I still enjoy working on projects and have helped remodel a couple of neighbors’ kitchens, bathrooms, and basements over the years. I also enjoy fine woodworking and hope to have my own shop to work in someday.

What are your guilty pleasures?

I have a passion for smoking meat. I read books, watch videos, and have many recipes that I have tried and, occasionally, have found success with. A few years ago, when I was out on an inspection for wind damage, I noticed a nice smoker in the backyard of the property owner. When I had finished with my inspection and began to go over the damages with the insured, I commented on his smoker. What started out as an insurance claim ended up being a two-hour discussion on how to smoke meat; we even traded a few recipes. He and I still chat occasionally via email to discuss different recipes and techniques.

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