Purchased the Huff-Riverview Agency in early 2006 from Gary Huff in Mendon who had owned the office since 1971. Gary had purchased the office from a previous owner of 25 years so the business is now over 60 years old. Pete retired from the City of Battle Creek in 2006 and worked in Mendon until 2012 when Andy sold his captive insurance agency and joined in the daily activity by bringing the Battle Creek office into the fold. In 2012 the business was renamed Baum-Johnson Insurance Agency. Heidi has been on board as the #1 Customer Service Rep almost the whole time, elevating herself from one day a week early on to full time in the Mendon office. Jim Baum, Pete’s Dad, helped develop a commercial arm of the operation beginning around 2008 when he retired from ReMax Perrett Realty to “re-enter” the Insurance Industry. Jim had spent his young adult professional career as an Insurance Agent as an employee and then owner of the Baum Insurance Agency started by his father Ed Baum in 1947. Deb Smith, Andy’s sister, also sold her captive insurance agency in 2011 and began writing insurance for “her brothers” on a commission basis. Marty has just joined the team in 2019 after spending over 30 years in the education field all in the Battle Creek area and will be concentrating mostly on personal lines sales and service. Together, this “family” of staffers are working hard with their companies to provide the best coverage, service, and price to new and current customers.
Our Team: Andy Johnson
Andy is a proud graduate of the “U”, MSU that is. Having graduated from Michigan State in 1990 with a Finance Degree Andy soon found a Farmers Insurance Agency for sale in Battle Creek, his hometown, and swiped it up. He quickly learned how the Insurance industry worked, how to run his own business, and how to create a successful customer centered operation. Andy is a bit into sports and spent many a night and weekend courtside and field side coaching youth teams for over 20 years. His floor hockey, basketball, softball and probably even badminton teams won championships all over the state and region. He was awarded “Coach of the Year” by the Michigan Recreation and Park Association in 2007 for giving so much of his time to help shape area youth into successful athletes and young people. Andy married Deb (also a Spartan Alum) in 1991 and together their children are Nicolette, Jozlyn, Drake, and Dane. In 2012 Andy sold his Farmers Agency and joined Pete to form the Baum-Johnson Agency. Andy enjoys helping people with all of their insurance needs and educating people about different insurance products, always has and always will. He also loves watching sports, especially his Detroit Redwings, Tigers, Pistons, and …..even the Lions, also watching all sports Michigan State. At the top of his bucket list is hitting a hole in one in golf, and the guys in his league would love that too.
Our Team: Pete Baum
Pete graduated in 1990 from Central Michigan University (fire up Chips!) with a Parks and Recreation degree and began working for the City of Battle Creek right after his Recreation Internship. He gained many worthwhile experiences, met a lot of great people, and learned a lot about helping others while working for the city – and he met his wife while there too. In early 2006 Pete dove into the Insurance world hook, line and sinker when he bought a small Independent Agency in Mendon, MI. Having grown up with a family owned Insurance Agency history all was not foreign, but it sure felt like it. His favorite parts of the job are getting to know his customers, explain coverages and insurance in general, and provide better than expected customer service. Pete married Carrie in 1995 and created a family of Aiden, Chloe, and Owen. His interests include sports, travel, home projects and learning new things. It’s on his life agenda to travel to every US state, Germany and Great Britain, and he’d also like to partake in events known to a particular area ie; Punxsutawney, PA on Groundhog Day or Augusta National Golf Course for the Masters.
Our Team: Jim Baum
Jim is Old School, loves paper copies of documents, visiting with clients face to face, drumming up business with a cup of coffee and conversation, and rehashing his favorite “back in the day” stories. He too grew up in the insurance world as his father Ed was an agent as was his grandfather Joseph Baum. His destiny was to become an insurance agent and that’s what he did upon the completion of his schooling at Michigan State and New York’s Royal Globe Insurance School back in 1959. Jim worked for Ed through many years of learning and growing the business into a nice size of commercial and personal accounts. Ed retired in 1974 and it was Jim who bought the business and ran it until an offer to sell came along in 1985 and he took it. Shortly after that he got into the Real Estate field where he worked for the Stetler Vanderveer folks before landing a great opportunity to sell homes for RE/MAX Perrett Associates. In 2009 Jim retired from real estate and moved back into insurance to help the gang out by creating a book of commercial accounts and teach the lingo to the young bucks. It worked well and Jim continues to come in daily to greet staffers, call on his customers, and lend an ear when needed. His civic duties haven’t ceased as he’s still very active in the Cereal City Lions Club (60 year member and founding father), Friday Honor Squad at Ft Custer National Cemetery (30+ years), St Philip Catholic Church volunteer (since about birth), Friend of Bill W (34 years), Battle Creek Ski Club member, and 28 Gallon Blood Donor for the American Red Cross.
Our Team: Deb Smith
Deb is family, literally, and she’s proud of it. She is also a born and bred Battle Creek native and she too saw the fruits of Insurance Agency ownership early in her formative years as her mom Nancy was a local Allstate Agent. Deb worked part-time for Nancy beginning in 1989, and in 1991 she studied for and received her Insurance Licenses. In 1999 Deb bought her mom’s Agency and it was a classic case of working hard, creating lasting customer relationships and growing a successful family business. After 12 years of going it alone, Deb joined our Agency as a Sales Producer and that decision created a triple win for her, her customers, and us. Deb continues to flourish in sales and service and enjoys having options of which carrier to use for her customer’s needs. She claims she has the best co-workers and we’re not into arguing so we’ll take the compliment. Deb’s been married to Greg since 1994 and she calls him her handsome firefighter, again, no argument. Deb and Greg have one kiddo, Jeremiah, who just so happens to be in the United States Air Force Academy, not too shabby. Deb enjoys music, gardening, and home and office re-decorating projects (which we all appreciate). And it’s funny because her bucket list is to someday be done with those very re-decorating projects!
Our Team: Heidi VanNest
Heidi grew up a proud Sturgis resident and continues to thrive there with husband Tony and energetic sons Dane and Luke along with Dutch, their fluffy, boisterous Sheltie dog. Heidi was hand-picked to work at our Agency in 2009, and boy has that decision proven to be a winner. Her demeanor, patience, problem-solving skills, determination, and work ethic (to name just a few of her skills) made her the perfect person to tackle the sometimes tricky Customer Service position. But let’s not kid ourselves, she’s the office manager with a great memory for detail, sans taking the PO Box key home a couple of times. She prides herself on making customers happy and the results are clear as she’s won the employee of the month award right around 120 times. Heidi enjoys decorating, crafting, and watching cooking shows, though she isn’t much of a cook and leaves that to Tony. She also loves camping, concert going, watching her children play sports, and spending time with family and friends. Her bucket list is also filled with taking trips to places like Scotland, Hawaii, and a Caribbean Cruise.
Our Team: Marty Pessetti
Marty is a retired teacher and education administrator who hails from Battle Creek. Marty taught and coached for ten years in the Battle Creek Public School system before working for Gull Lake Schools for two years as an Assistant Principal. He spent his last 21 years in the Lakeview School system, eighteen as an Assistant Principal and three as the Director of Operations. Marty is married to Jennifer and is the proud Father of Cory and Staci and Step Dad to Cameron and Connor. Marty ended 2018 getting his Insurance License and started at our Agency in early 2019. He’s learning more about insurance every day and really likes helping people save money and providing the right coverages for customers needs. Golf, travel, working around the house and restoring his 1971 Porsche 911 are some of his favorite things to do. And it’s no surprise that traveling the world and golfing in Scotland is on Marty’s bucket list.