BISMARCK, ND – Financial advisor and military veteran Bleau Hoge fights the good fight for his clients and country.
It’s another bustling Monday at Gate City Bank’s Gateway office, and Bleau Hoge grins from ear to ear as he plops into his chair and reaches for a pen. “I really look forward to coming to work every day,” he says, eagerly shifting his gaze to his desk, where a heap of documents awaits review. Like other military veterans, he used to dread the grunt work of paperwork. But this is different. This is fun.
This is investing.
It’s been a year since Hoge rose to the rank of LPL financial advisor at Gate City Investment Services, and the rush hasn’t quite worn off. Being on the front lines of finance is every bit as awesome as he always dreamt it would be, and his clients are happy, too. In the midst of what many currently consider to be a hostile and unforgiving economic warzone, Hoge isn’t just holding the line – he’s gaining ground.
Upon reviewing the last of the documents before him, Hoge gives a satisfied nod – he has his marching orders for the day. As he reaches out to collect the now neatly organized stack, the sandy texture of an intricate tattoo peeks out of from under his left sleeve. Unbeknownst to those used to seeing Hoge in a dress shirt and tie, it’s merely the edge of a much larger and detailed canvas stretching up his entire arm.
Each design tells a story, and every inch of ink holds symbolic undertones of Greek mythology, a lifelong curiosity of Hoge’s.
Like Mars, the god of war, representing Hoge’s service as sergeant in the North Dakota Army National Guard. Or the gladiator locked in combat at the Roman Colosseum, a reflection of his tenacity in defending democracy and pursuing prosperity. And the skull donning Julius Caesar’s iconic laurel leaves, signifying triumph in times of trial, like when Hoge tragically lost his mom to cancer in high school.
From wrist to shoulder, each work of art is symbolically and optically conjoined by the Latin phrase “Vincit qui se vincit” – “He conquers who conquers himself” – a transformational truth that has inspired the trajectory of Hoge’s military and fiduciary life.
“Those words are a powerful daily reminder for me,” Hoge says. “You often can’t help others unless you overcome difficult life circumstances yourself. This ultimately leads to wisdom.”
Wisdom. That’s another word that holds great meaning for Hoge – because building wisdom leads to earning trust. Whether you’re defending your country or guiding clients toward financial success, when it comes to completing any mission, Hoge knows that earning trust is half the battle. It’s something he takes to heart. It’s also something he expounds on with his signature humor.
“Unlike the average financial advisor, I’m young and have a baby face, so I should count myself lucky that folks trust me with anything!” Hoge jokes. “All kidding aside, I love helping clients achieve their financial goals, especially with retirement. I enlisted in the military to help people, and I joined Gate City for the same reason. Whether someone invests $1,000 or $1 million, I enjoy helping them grow their wealth.”
Hoge initially set his sights on the investing world at age 18, while serving under his first Guard team leader, who was a financial advisor himself – and a remarkable mentor. A couple surprisingly enjoyable accounting classes later, Hoge was officially sold on an investment career, and he went on to earn his bachelor’s in business administration with a focus in finance from Dickinson (ND) State University.
“As it turns out, I was pretty decent at math,” he says.
While serving in the military and going to school helped Hoge expand his knowledge, confidence and ability to adapt quickly, he also gained wisdom through the good old-fashioned school of hard knocks. Indeed, there’s often no better teacher than a real-life mistake, like when Hoge was 17 and blew some inheritance money on a brand-new Dodge Charger. He still catches flak for that one to this day.
“What a waste of money,” Hoge says. “Looking back, I wish there would have been someone to show me a smart way to invest those funds, rather than spend them on a depreciable asset. But it was the first of many invaluable life lessons, and I love educating people so they can avoid making those same mistakes.”
In addition to his helpful real-world insight, clients love working with Hoge because he communicates well. If they ever have questions, they know he’s by his phone 24/7, ready to show them the ropes.
“Many of my clients have had difficulties with past advisors who hardly ever talked to them,” he says. “I care about being easy to get a hold of and talk to. I also think it’s important to simply listen to people.”
Hoge joined Gate City Bank in December 2018, initially serving as customer service representative and eventually moving over to Gate City Investment Services, where he climbed the ladder to client services associate and his current role. He’s beyond thankful to have experienced such amazing career growth in a short amount of time, especially in light of being activated for military duty throughout those years.
For Hoge, the past three years have been especially busy: Serving as part of the protective detail for the 2020 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Manning testing sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to protests in downtown Fargo, ND, following the death of George Floyd. Reporting for routine military training. No matter the situation, his supervisors and team members backed him 100%.
Gate City is known for its strong military appreciation, and has been proud to support Hoge. The company provides all team members who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces with continued full pay and benefits when they’re activated, as well as two weeks of paid time off to be with family and relax before returning to work following deployments. For Hoge, that level of dedication is worth a salute.
“Other soldiers are always in disbelief when I tell them about the benefits that I’m provided with at Gate City, which are unheard of,” Hoge says. “I’ve never worked for another company that takes care of its military team members the way Gate City does. They even reached out to me regularly to see how my family and I were doing. I’ve been proud to serve my country, and I’m truly thankful to work here.”
Hoge adds that, unfortunately, some employers don’t always offer that same kind of flexibility to the service members who work for them. He even knows some service members who have feared for their jobs and not received regular pay while away serving their country. Hoge thinks that’s missing the mark.
“Gate City has never made me feel like that,” he says. “Everyone has actually encouraged me to serve. That’s why I felt moved to recognize them for their support. I ended up nominating Gate City for some prestigious awards, and my prayers were answered – the company won.”
Thanks to Hoge, Gate City was selected to receive the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Each year, this prestigious honor is given to only 15 employers in the nation, and the company was selected out of 2,777 nominated organizations in 2022.
We’re honored to have received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, which recognizes our exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve members. This is the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense.Read More
Also, thanks to its unwavering support not only for service members but also their loved ones, Gate City received the Patriot Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) in 2021. Hoge, his wife, Phoenix (who’s also a veteran) and their daughter, Ember, are one of many families that have experienced such profound care from Gate City in the midst of a team member’s service.
In addition to military support, Hoge loves how much value and focus Gate City puts on family. He became a dad for the first time in June 2022, and has loved every precious minute with his baby girl. Hoge especially appreciates how accommodating the company has been with flexible work schedules and a month of paternity leave, as well as other great benefits, which are among the best in the region.
“The biggest thing is knowing that I have a bigger goal in life now – protecting my family. Something inside you just takes over. It’s no longer just about your career or anything else, ” Hoge says. “There’s nothing more important than family, and it’s so refreshing to know that Gate City agrees.”
Hoge also finds great joy in serving alongside his work family. The fellow team members at his office are definitely a tight unit. On the average day, they like to give each other a hard time, but it’s all in good fun – part of a great companywide culture that’s more than 100 years in the making. Because of this, team members tend to stay long term.
“We’re comfortable with one another enough where we can be goofy like that,” Hoge says. “We have a very solid team here. Everyone is very motivated to make things happen, and I think that sense of camaraderie and purpose is contagious throughout the rest of the company. There’s just an energetic atmosphere wherever you go, and a lot of that comes from great leadership across the board.”
At the end of each workday, as Hoge packs up to head home to his ladies, he’s reminded of how thankful he is to handle investments for an employer that’s invested in him. Like the military, Gate City has played a monumental role in Hoge’s life, and he feels honored to fight the good fight every day.
“This is the career I’ve always dreamed of,” Hoge says with a smile. “Gate City has definitely helped me become the person I am today.”
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