Joe Pregont is the President and CEO of Prent Corporation.
Tell me about growing up in Janesville:
I was born, bread and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin. I attended St. Mary’s School, Adams, Roosevelt, Marshall and graduated from Joseph A. Craig High School.
What were some of the school activities you were involved in?
I played football, hockey and track.
What were your ambitions after high school?
After high school, my whole focus was to come and run Prent Corporation. My father started Prent 50 years ago in 1967. I went to college at UW Stout for a degree in Packaging Engineering. In 1984, my dad left the business and left me in charge. I was a 26-year-old CEO of a company of several hundred employees.
Did you feel that was a challenge?
I’ve never felt I was in a position where I couldn’t figure out a solution. I still run the company today with phenomenal people and we’ve had tremendous growth.
Who have been your role models in life?
My father was a role model for me. He inspired me by taking the ultimate risk when he started Prent Corporation. I’ve also looked up to my father-in-law, William Ryan. He has given me great advice in business and in life.
How did the idea of remodeling the Rock County Historical Society’s Tallman Carriage House begin?
Chuck Rydberg came to me. He told me the plan and said, “Here’s what we want to do.” So, I said, “Okay, let’s do it.” I love history. I love Janesville’s history. And I thought this was something that could keep our Rock County history alive.
Once I got involved with the Rock County Historical Society and met the RCHS Executive Director, Mike Reuter, I realized how important it was! Mike is an asset to RCHS and to Janesville.
I move forward to preserve Janesville. And I challenge other capable people, companies and the City of Janesville to keep promoting and preserving our heritage.
What are your hopes for the Tallman Carriage House?
I just want it to be a successful community asset that the people of Rock County can enjoy, a place where people can learn.
What has inspired you to give back?
It’s the right thing to do when you have the ability. And I think more people who are in such a position should step up to the plate. It’s also in our corporate mission statement to be an asset to the community in which we operate our business.
What are some of the things you enjoy in life?
I love to run our business and to protect our employees. I try to make the world a better place. One of my joys is collecting antique boats and the restoration of them.
What are some of the changes you’ve seen over the years in Rock County?
I’ve had the opportunity to see Rock County advance from large industry dependent communities to vibrant, growing new-age economies.
How do you see Janesville’s development today?
It’s moving forward … we’re going to be a great city!