Our History

The partners of Huffine, McMillan, Artnzen & Ruckman celebrate the firm's 60th anniversary with founder Fred Schell.

The partners of Huffine, McMillan, Artnzen & Ruckman celebrate the firm’s 60th anniversary with founder Fred Schell.

Looking Back…

1953 – During a visit to Lewistown on a state audit assignment, Fred Schell notices a need for a tax practice and likes the community. He resigns from the state and moves to Lewistown in February.  Fred initially works with another practitioner but after two years he opens his own firm – Schell Accounting.  There was a lot of work available right away and he dived right into interesting estate cases and was able to resolve them in a favorable way for his clients.

1956 – Fred sits on the hospital board, where he is instrumental in passing legislation for funding to build the new hospital.  He serves on the hospital board for several years.

1958 – Fred passes the CPA exam and practices on the third floor of the Montana Building.

1960s – The firm helps set up a business model for Sports, Inc., a group initially comprised of seven sporting goods stores. Fred works closely with them until they expand and become a prominent business in Lewistown.

September 1960 – Marvin Stephens joins Fred and becomes a partner in 1964.  Marvin continues to work for the firm until a few months before his death on December 30, 2004.

1963 – Wayne Riley joins the firm and becomes a partner in 1967.  He retires in May 2004.

1968 – Dale Huffine joins the firm and becomes a partner in 1972.

1969-75 – Fred sits on the first ever State of Montana Board of Public Accountants.  Fred works with the Montana Society of CPAs in its effort to establish a board of accountants.  He works closely with senators to ensure the bill passes, after previous attempts by the society had failed.  While on the board, he has the honor of signing CPA certificates.  He helps set the requirements for obtaining certification and also helps establish reciprocity for CPAs that want to practice in other states.  After his term ends, Marvin serves a term on the board.

1982-83 – Fred helps found the Central Montana Foundation.

1984 – Mickey McMillan joins the firm and becomes a partner in 1999.

1990 – Fred retires by selling his partnership shares. He continues to work with the firm in a consulting and advisory capacity.  He still keeps a few clients to stay busy. During his tenure, Fred is part of several successful cases before the Montana and US Supreme Courts where he has represented clients. He continues to practice because he truly loves it – not only the numbers, but the challenges and quirks he faces.  He is now meeting the second and third generations of some of his initial clients; not only helping clients with tax issues, estate and succession planning issues, but joining the hearts and families of many.

2002 – Stacie Arntzen joins the firm and becomes a partner in 2009.

2004 – Jodi Ruckman joins the firm and becomes a partner in 2011.

2013 – Huffine, McMillan, Arntzen, Ruckman, PLLP celebrates 60 years in business with the grand opening of its new offices on the sixth floor of the Montana Building.

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