San Francisco, California

Oct 22, 2020

Welcome to San Francisco, CA

Our Third Sightseeing Excursion

We’re on a long journey between Sri Lanka and Hawaii. Along the way, we’re going on a few sightseeing excursions to take a peek at some of the other Artex offices that aren’t on our route.

Third stop: San Francisco, California.

We’re stopping for a brief visit in San Francisco to get to know Mike Madden, senior vice president of Benefits, Artex North America, a little bit better. Mike runs the Employee Benefit and Medical Stop-Loss (MSL) practice.

Mike is originally from the East Coast but relocated to San Francisco in 2000. He has worked for the company for eight years and previously worked for a P&C captive manager as well as an MSL carrier — he’s one of the early innovators when it comes to MSL. Mike and his team are responsible for new business development, as well as the management of the single and group captives focused on MSL.

When he isn’t working, Mike likes to bike the hills of San Francisco and is an avid runner. Throughout COVID-19, he has taken a keen interest in gardening as well, convincing his two teenagers to help build a garden in their backyard over spring break. He’s planning to donate money to the San Francisco Food Bank in recognition of his physical activity throughout this challenge.

Fun facts about San Francisco:

  • Levi Strauss invented denim jeans in San Francisco for the Gold Rush miners. Mike’s office, pre-COVID-19, was in Levi Plaza across from this iconic brand’s global headquarters.
  • The city is built on more than 50 hills. Mike lives on one of them, Russian Hill, and if you press him he’ll make up a story of how the name came to be.
  • While the city has a population of less than 1 million people, the entire Bay Area is home to more than 8 million.
  • San Francisco has the oldest Chinatown in North America, and the second largest outside of Asia. Makoto Hagiwara, from San Francisco, is the creator of the modern-day fortune cookie. Coincidentally, both of Mike’s teenagers speak fluent Mandarin.
  • San Francisco also has the largest and oldest Japantown in the United States.
  • The city’s cable cars are the only National Historical Monuments that move, with cables running 9.5 mph. The cable cars aren’t just for tourists. With a cable car stop just a block and a half away, Mike takes his kids on a cable car ride every Christmas to check out the lights and store displays in Union Square.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was not intended to be that color for the long term. It was the primer used to seal the bridge, but the architect changed his mind and didn’t paint it black and yellow as originally planned.
  • The crookedest street in the world is located in San Francisco ― Lombard Street. Since shelter-in-place began, Mike and his son Luke have gone for a walk each morning before school. In the “never seen anything like this before” category, Mike and Luke walked straight up the middle of the crookedest street (the top of which is only 3.5 blocks away).
  • The United Nations Charter was drafted and ratified in San Francisco in 1945.


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Follow our journey, including our milestones, as we trek nearly 28,000 miles around the globe here.