When Argo Surety Underwriter Associate Pablo Gomez started with the Commercial Surety Credit Analyst Program, he had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance but knew little about the world of surety. After finishing the yearlong surety bond training program in the summer of 2019, Gomez began work in Argo Surety’s Houston office, where he’s handling his own book of business and thriving in a supportive team environment.
Q: How did you learn about the Argo Commercial Surety Credit Analyst Program?
A: I saw a post on Texas A&M’s career website. I had no clue what surety was. I never learned about it in college.
Q: What was your favorite part of the program?
A: We traveled to Argo’s offices in New York, New Jersey and Chicago, and that gave me the opportunity to meet most of my team members and allowed me to see the industries each region focuses on.
Q: How has the program set you up for success?
A: Argo has a key focus on training and development. My managers have been in the industry for years, and by being in a hardworking environment, I feel confident that I could compete at the top of the industry.
It’s a surety bond training program, but what was really interesting and cool to me is that it’s highly focused on credit analysis. So, five years down the road, if you decide you don’t want to do surety anymore, you have a solid credit analysis background.
Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about applying to the program?
A: I tell possible candidates you want to work for a company that takes care of you. I think Argo does a great job of that. It’s crazy to think that one year out of college, I have had the opportunity to sit in meetings with CEOs. Coming out of college you want to soak up as much knowledge as possible, and you want to work for a company where you have the opportunity to sit with high-level engineers or management. At Argo, there will never be a time when you are bored. You will always have a lot of work. There is always business that needs to be taken care of.
Q: Has anything about the surety space surprised you as you have learned more about it?
A: It’s something new every day; I’m surprised every day. And there’s never a day when I’m not challenged and don’t have questions.
Q: How would you describe Argo Surety’s commitment to training?
A: I was lucky enough to have Director of Portfolio Management Michelle Stukey, who was a senior underwriter at the time, give us one-on-one training. We were getting that hands-on experience, learning as new business was coming in. I tagged along with underwriters to lunches and got to meet agents and practice how to communicate with them. At the very end of the program, you start to look at submissions. They take off the training wheels and ask, “OK, what do you think?”
Argo also encouraged me to go for my Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding (AFSB) designation. They pay for books, training and exams, and you get a bonus if you pass the exam. Within my first year, it’s incredible to think Argo was paying for all these books, training materials and exams. The company was invested in me from the beginning.
Q: How would you describe your team at Argo Surety?
A: You want to work at a place where you feel comfortable. You want to go to work every day and feel like you are not afraid to ask questions. I think the best thing here at Argo is how we can collaborate successfully as a team, bounce ideas off each other and find the best solutions. This is not a job you can do by yourself. You always have questions to ask, and no one knows the answer to everything. I never find myself in a position where I can’t ask someone a question. Whenever I ask my teammates a question, they go above and beyond to help.
Learn more about the Argo Commercial Surety Credit Analyst Program.