President & CEO
Bank of Terrell, Dawson
GBA Board of Directors, At Large
GBA Agriculture Committee, Past Chairman/Current At Large
Q: What is one leadership lesson you have learned that you still think about today?
In 2003, during my first year at the Graduate School of Banking at LSU, the retired President of Hancock Bank (now Hancock-Whitney Bank), Mr. George Schloegel, taught a case study on human resources. He shared a quote concerning personnel leadership during the class that I wrote down and never forgot: “Feed the horses, shoot the wounded, and keep the herd together.”
While it initially may sound a little harsh, this quote has resonated with me ever since. In any business organization, you need to challenge, promote, and compensate your top performers, reprimand or let go your bottom performers, and at the same time provide a positive work environment and culture to keep the remaining team happy and productive. Despite growing technologies and efficiencies, the key to successful banking remains its people.
Q: Who gets the most credit for driving you to succeed and grow as an individual? From the beginning until now; who has made the biggest impact?
I have been fortunate to have had positive influences all my life, including those from my late parents who I credit in making me into the person I am today. When speaking in terms of my banking career, I credit my superior, who also happens to be my wife, Lucie, the chairman of the board and president of our holding company. We have been together for 27 years, celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this past April. In December 1996, she and I decided to leave our successful careers at the time (mine in sales, hers in capital markets) and move to Southwest Georgia to work at the bank and holding company that has been owned by her family for two generations. We have worked together for all 20 years of marriage and she has been my biggest supporter, however, she is not afraid to critique when necessary. We make a great team.
Q: What’s your favorite part of any day on the job at the bank?
Taken literally, it is at the end of the day. I am admittedly not at my best early in the morning, so you will not see me at the bank at 6 a.m. sipping a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. My quiet time is when the doors close and I can turn on my Bose speaker and listen to music. I get a lot accomplished after 4:30 p.m.
Generally, the best part of the day is interacting with customers. My office door opens up to the lobby and I do my best to keep it open so I can step out and say hello or invite a customer to stop in for a few minutes.
Q: How does involvement with GBA help you and your bank?
One of my earliest involvements with GBA was becoming a member of the Agricultural Committee. I continue to serve on that committee as an at-large member. The committee’s annual Rural Development and Lending Conference concluded a few weeks ago. It continues to be an excellent conference, providing useful information I take back each year to our agricultural lenders and the board of directors. Serving on the Agricultural Committee and attending the annual conference has absolutely made me a better agricultural lender.
Last year I was nominated to serve on the GBA Board of Directors, which has provided me the opportunity to meet and get to know bankers throughout the state, from large institutions to small community banks. They all bring great insights into banking and can be invaluable resources to meet the challenges and opportunities in our industry.
Q: When you’re not on the job at the bank or fulfilling GBA or other duties in the community, what do you like to do?
You can usually find me out on our property in my spare time. I love riding on my tractor, lawn mower or ATV. All I need is a nice day, a good set of ear buds to listen to music or a podcast and I literally disappear into the scenery.
I enjoy playing and watching golf. I do not have as much time to play golf as I would like to but I am looking forward to playing in the golf tournament at the GBA Annual Meeting in a few weeks.
Additionally, I enjoy traveling internationally. Most of our travel is food and wine themed. Lucie and I particularly love the Burgundy region of France and are traveling back there again this fall.