Graduation Year: 2001
Education after High School: B.S.B.A. in Actuarial Science from Drake University
Favorite Memory during your time at Bennington Public Schools?
My favorite memory was probably qualifying for State basketball my senior year. It had been quite a while since the boy’s team had been to State (I think 32 years). There was a lot of support from the school and community during the District and State tournaments. Didn’t finish how we would have liked, but having everyone so excited was fun to see.
Tell me about your job as a pension actuary at Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting? How long have you been there? What led you to this career?
I work as a pension actuary for Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting in Bellevue, NE. In general, an actuary’s job is to assess risk. As a pension actuary, I work with public retirement systems to help calculate the contributions that the system needs to make to ensure that they will have enough money to pay retirement benefits for all their employees in the future. To do this we make assumptions for when people will quit their job, retire, become disabled, what their salary increases will be and how long they will live. Basically, lots of number crunching.
I have been at CavMac for six years and worked at a large consulting firm in Chicago, IL for about 10 years before that. I’ve always enjoyed math and problem solving, and actuaries uses both of these on a daily basis, so it seemed like a good fit. I also like the fact that our clients help provide retirement benefits to essential public employees (teachers, police officers, fire fighters, etc.).
Favorite Teacher(s) during your time at Bennington Public Schools?
I’m assuming I’ll get in trouble if I don’t say my mom, so Mrs. Hoge! I also enjoyed the teachers and coaches that let you know you weren’t doing as well as you should be. If they knew you could do better, they let you know. A couple that come to mind were Mr. Witty and Mr. Harshman.
Activities you were involved in during school? How did participating in those activities impact your life in the future?
I was involved in a lot of athletics including football, basketball, track and legion baseball in the summer. I was also in band, choir, and on the quiz bowl team. Athletics have had a big impact on my life. They helped me earn a scholarship to run Division I track and be a 2x All Missouri Valley Conference performer. But more importantly, being involved in athletics teaches valuable life lessons such as teamwork, work ethic, time management, and learning how to fail.
Other family members who are Bennington alumni?
Sister Katie (Hoge) Pechek – 2003
Sister Megan (Hoge) Schmidt – 2004
Brother Kenny Hoge – 2008
Brother-in-law Aaron Schmidt – 2002
When we moved back from Chicago, we moved into the Bennington school district. So, my wife Molly and I have 3 future Badgers as well! Carter (Age 5), Owen (3) and Maren (1).
What advice would you give current Bennington high school students?
Well, I am a retirement actuary, so my advice would be plan for the future and know that things you are doing today will help shape your future. Doing that homework assignment isn’t just about passing your class, it is about boosting that GPA so you can get into the college you want. That summer job isn’t just about getting extra cash in your pocket now, it’s about building experience and skills that will help you land the job you want in the future.
Live in and enjoy the present, but know that the choices you make now will help shape your future.