A new generation at Prudential

When Hunter Kontz joined the Prudential Financial office in Marshall, he became the third generation of the Kontz family to be part of the business

Photo by Deb Gau Prudential financial advisers Jim Kontz, at left, and Hunter Kontz are the second and third generations of their family to be part of the business. Jim started working with his father Dick Kontz in the 1980s, and Hunter joined the business after graduating from college in 2016.

MARSHALL — One of the meaningful things about being in the financial services business, Jim Kontz said, is that the connections you make with clients last a long time.

For the Kontz family, and the Prudential Financial office in Marshall, those connections have now lasted into a third generation. Financial advisor Hunter Kontz is the son of Jim Kontz and the grandson of Dick Kontz, who opened the Marshall office in the 1960s.

It’s a big step, Hunter Kontz said of joining the family business.

“But it’s also exciting, because we have people come in and say, ‘I worked with your grandpa, I worked with your dad, and now you,'” he said.

Jim and Hunter Kontz said they hope to keep the business growing and moving forward. It’s something Dick Kontz, who died in 2012, would have been proud to see, Jim Kontz said.

“I think he would be pleased,” Jim Kontz said.

Members of the Kontz family have been part of the Prudential Financial office in Marshall for more than 50 years. Jim’s father Dick moved from Canby to Marshall in 1962.

“He opened the Prudential office in town,” and started out selling life insurance, Jim Kontz said.

“In general, my dad had a great career,” Jim Kontz said. Dick Kontz earned top Prudential awards over the course of 33 years. Not only did Dick believe in putting his clients first, Jim Kontz said, “He could flat-out sell.”

In 1988, Jim Kontz joined Prudential, working in Sioux Falls for a year before coming back to work with Dick in Marshall.

“I liked the size of the town, and I liked knowing a lot of people,” Jim Kontz said. Jim had also seen how having his own office helped Dick Kontz be able to balance work with family and a love of the outdoors.

Some parts of the Marshall Prudential office’s business have changed over the years, Jim Kontz said. For most of Dick’s career, and early in Jim’s, they mainly sold life insurance. Some of the policies they sold were to farmers, to cover debt. The interesting thing, Jim Kontz said, was that many of those policies were small — for example, a $10,000 policy to cover the debt on 80 acres of land. Those same 80 acres today might take a $500,000 policy to cover the debt, he said.

Over the years, the Marshall Prudential office has also expanded the kinds of financial services it offers, to include annuities, mutual funds and stocks, retirement planning and farm transfers.

A new chapter in the Kontz family business began last year. In 2016, Jim’s son Hunter Kontz graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, and interned with both Renaissance Financial and Prudential.

“The experience helped me decide, I did want to come back here,” Hunter Kontz said. After his internships, Hunter came back to Marshall to work at the same office as his father and his mother Jill Kontz. Jill is a marketing assistant at Prudential Financial.

Hunter said there’s a mix of pressure and excitement to joining the family business. On one hand, he’s following two people who have done well in their jobs. On the other, it’s exciting to carry on a connection with the community.

“I’m also fortunate to have knowledge from two generations,” Hunter Kontz said.

Although parts of their business have changed over time, it all still comes down to helping clients, the Kontzes said.

“We’re problem-solvers, I feel like,” Jim Kontz said.