Chair, 2017-2018 Security Committee
Vice President, Security Officer/Branch Manager
Altamaha Bank & Trust Company, Vidalia
Q: What are some career-related lessons you learned early on that you still use today?
I started my banking career 25 years ago and I found out early on to have a mentor. I realized that for me to be successful and to grow in this business, having someone with long-time, real-life experiences who I could get direction and advice from was essential. I actually had two people I considered mentors. Colon Sammons, who was president of Altamaha Bank for 25 years, was a great leader and conservative banker. He guided me on the importance of serving and servicing customer’s needs. The other was Paul Eason, whom I looked to for advice on how to handle certain lending situations. He was always eager to help and gave me valuable insight using his long time real world experiences. Another lesson learned early on was that no matter how the industry changes, the people who are our customers and the life-blood of our business, still want good, quality customer service and individual attention. Rules and regulations may change, but people -- employees and customers -- still need and want to be treated as an important part of our bank.
Q: Will you share a little insight with us about how you chose bank security as a career focus?
Bank security is only a part of my responsibilities, as we are a small community bank with only four branches. But, it is still vitally important that our employees and the assets of the bank are protected. I enjoy keeping up with advances in technology with security systems and having the responsibility of sharing with our employees safe practices.
Q: As someone who oversees security at your bank, how do you personally benefit by participating in GBA programs like the upcoming Bank Security Conference?
I cannot express enough how important it is for me and other Security Officers to attend our Bank Security Conference. This is an event that brings in a lot of professionals willing to inform us of trends and activities pertaining to keeping our banks safe from people and organizations that have ill intentions.
Q: What session(s) are you most eager to hear at this year’s conference ?
I would have to say the session titled, “SafeCatch: Empowering Employees to Make a Difference,” is one that I look most forward to. However, each session is going to be informative and most certainly vital and important to all of the attendees in giving them knowledge and resources that they can share with their bank employees. We have some great people serving on the GBA Security Committee, and they are dedicated to putting together a program that will benefit everyone that attends. So, having said that, I look forward to all of the sessions.
Q: When you’re not on the job fulfilling your bank or GBA duties, what do you like to do?
My wife and I are pretty adventuresome. We enjoy traveling to places and looking for things out in nature. So, camping and hiking in the North Georgia mountains is high on the list. We have a small farm with about 200 pecan trees and an acre of grape vines, and these keep me pretty busy. I tell folks that my favorite hobby is burning gas and diesel fuel in my lawn mower and tractors. I look for grass to cut! And of course, with five children and eight grandchildren, it’s not an issue finding something to do with them!