At Large Member, GBA Board of Directors
President and CEO
Legacy State Bank
Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first job was mowing lawns in our neighborhood. I was a couple of years away from being able to drive and my father told me that if I wanted a car one day, I was going to have to pay for it. Thinking back, there were a lot of lessons learned from such a simple act by my father. One in particular that can translate pretty easy to banking is I learned to approach people and “ask for their business.” At $10 per yard, I needed to mow a lot of yards to make enough money to purchase a car. The more people I asked, the easier it got, and the better job I did, the easier it was to win the next door neighbor’s business. I ended up earning about $3,000 over a couple of summers and bought my first car – cars were a little cheaper back then!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your career journey.
A: I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Real Estate. I was planning to enter the commercial real estate industry, make millions and be retired at a beach by the time I was 50. However, when I graduated (1989), the real estate market was in a recession. My father had always worked in banking (Trust Company Bank at the time), and he encouraged me to interview with Bank South for their Management Training Program. Bill Linginfelter hired me, and I was exposed to a number of areas of the bank in the one-year program. It was a great way to learn a lot about banking in a short period of time. I left the training program and managed several retail branches over the next few years. I enjoyed managing people, and I really enjoyed the lending side of the bank. As larger banks began centralizing the lending function away from branch managers, I made the switch to commercial lending, working at the main office in Atlanta and in Conyers. When NationsBank acquired Bank South, I stayed on a short period before having an opportunity to open a new bank in Conyers with Bill Daniel – Rockdale National Bank, at the time – where I was the bank’s Senior Lending Officer. We ultimately sold the bank to United Community Bank. After some time with UCB, I was hired by Legacy State Bank in Loganville as Senior Lending Officer. I have worked for Legacy State Bank for over 12 years now, and was recently given the opportunity by our Board of Directors to be President and CEO of the bank.
Q: What has surprised you most about working in the banking industry?
A: That’s a tough one. There have been a lot of surprises along the way. While I have been in banking for almost 30 years, I continue to be amazed at the variety of products and services sold and the niche businesses there are in our communities. There are a lot of different ways to make a buck in this world! We live in a wonderful country that has afforded many individuals the ability to translate an idea, a product, or a service into a good living for their families and in many cases their employees’ families.
Q: How has your involvement with GBA affected your career?
A: The Georgia Banker’s Association has been a tremendous resource for me over the years. The knowledge I’ve gained and the friends I have made in the industry through Senior Lender and CEO Roundtables, Credit Conferences, Annual Meetings and numerous other events and training sessions will last a lifetime. I have never been to a GBA event where I did not bring something back to my bank that made us better. The challenge is trying to identify the one or two KEY ideas. Our industry is blessed with so many bright people, and there is no shortage of examples from whom we can all learn. The GBA offers great forums for those ideas to be shared.
Q: If you could thank someone for helping you become the person/banker you are today, who would it be and why?
A: Another very tough question… While I have been fortunate to work and learn from many great people through the years, I owe the greatest thanks to my parents. I was blessed to have two great parents who instilled in me the values of hard work, being kind to others and always trying to have a positive attitude. I have tried to pass these lessons on to my kids and to others I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. While there are many reasons for people attaining success, if you are willing to show up every day, work hard, treat others well, and stay focused on the positives, you are going to outshine most of your competition.