Drew Johnston didn’t know much about risk management and insurance before college, but a little research piqued his interest and clinched his choice of major.
“I found out the job placement was 98%,” he recalls. “I’ve always been a risk-aware person, and it seemed like a very good industry for my personality.”
Now an underwriter with Argo Environmental and based in Alpharetta, Georgia, Johnston finds no greater professional satisfaction than binding a particularly challenging environmental casualty risk that required him to dig in and learn something new.
“I love binding the accounts I work on for days, on something I had no knowledge of before,” he says. “Diving in and learning and winning the deal after some hard work.”
Environmental casualty underwriting is specialized
Johnston is particularly excited about specializing in environmental liability insurance.
“I get to learn new things every day that are pretty important to the world we are living in right now,” he says. “Environmental issues are at an all-time high, and learning about them at a very base level is something I enjoy.”
The subject matter can be challenging.
“It’s a specialty market, and you never see the exact same risk twice,” he says. “Every risk is different. And learning all the scientific lingo and how environmental insurance works – whether for chemical manufacturing, mold abatement or an excavation contractor – they are all different things I did not have much experience in.”
The key is staying on top of things and learning as you go, he says.
“The marketplace is fast-paced, and you have to think on your feet but along with that challenge is great reward,” he says. “You are creating a base of knowledge for yourself going forward.”
Be patient and flexible
Johnston knows people usually hope to experience immediate success in a new job or career, but he urges patience and an unerring commitment to hard work.
“There’s so much to learn. Be flexible with how many things are coming in and have patience when not knowing exactly what to do,” he says. “You have to go out there and get it. Work hard.”
Inspiration at the office and in the kitchen
Work is Johnston’s major focus, and he finds inspiration there – particularly in how his more experienced colleagues balance their work and personal lives.
“The leadership team inspires me,” he says. “My boss, Kelly Killimett, head of environmental, and some of the higher-ranking people on my team are really good at their jobs and are rock stars.”
Johnston is something of a rock star himself when it comes to his grill, where he turns out crowd-pleasing steaks, chicken and vegetables. When his first foray into cooking for a group resulted in chicken that was charred on the outside and raw on the inside, Johnston decided to seriously work on his cooking skills.
“From there I made a strong effort to try and master the culinary arts, and I would say I’m pretty good at it,” he said. “I like experimenting with different flavors and sauces for chicken. Butterflied chicken breast stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach with Tuscan Italian seasoning is a current favorite.”
Learn more about Argo Environmental.