Growing up, did you have any idea what you wanted to be?
I really did not. In high school I spent a lot of time working at the school radio station and was leaning toward a career in radio or TV.
When did you decide you wanted to be in banking?
In 1996 I was working in Cincinnati and an opportunity came available at the bank. This decision to work at the bank is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
From a quick search online it looks like banking runs in your family. Please talk about that.
I am very fortunate to be the third generation in the family to lead the bank. As a community bank, family values run strong. From our employees to our customers, we are the First Federal family.
What attracted you to banking?
Growing up in a family with strong ties to the banking industry and also being from a small town (Huntington), I was able to see the positive impact my father and grandfather made in the community. Banking is really about helping people achieve their dreams. Whether that is homeownership, starting a business or saving for their golden years, bankers help individuals reach their goals.
What skills do you have that mesh with your profession?
I think the one skill that is very important is the ability to communicate. Working with customers or providing guidance and direction to our team, having strong communication skills is essential. While I feel this skill is a strength, I’m constantly trying to improve.
How did you “climb the ladder?” What other jobs have you held on your way, and what companies did you work for?
Before joining the bank, I worked for a large corporation in Cincinnati. As third generation starting at the bank, my path was somewhat preset. Rather than coast, I did my best to work hard and earn the position and the respect from the staff. During my training, I was able to work in several departments in the bank. From teller operations, accounting and lending, I was able to see all aspects of the bank.
Did you have a mentor or mentors along the way?
I’ve been blessed to work with my father, Steve, for over 25 years. There has been no better teacher and mentor than my father. He has been instrumental in my development as a banker, a man and a father.
How has the business changed since you started in it?
The biggest change I’ve seen is the advancement of technology. It is amazing all of the ways we now are able to bank. Delivery channels, immediate access, and functionality have changed how our customers bank. To continue to be relevant in the future, we need to embrace technology to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Is there a dream job you’ve always wanted to do?
I really believe this is my dream job. I get to work with a great group of individuals that believe strongly in the mission of the bank. I get to work with customers to provide them financial solutions. I have the opportunity to work on nonprofit boards to help make my community better. I can’t imagine doing anything else that could be more rewarding than being a community banker.
What advice would you give young people considering a career in banking?
My advice would be, first find a career that you enjoy. Banking is an occupation that offers a ton of career paths. From lending, to operations, accounting, marketing or compliance, each area of the bank has something different to offer. Find which area fits you best and that will work better for you and your employer.
What do you see in your future?
I still feel that I am fairly young, so I hope to be doing this for years to come. I have the best job in the world, why would I do anything else?
What does it mean to you to be the 2021 chairman of the IBA? What do you do and what does the organization do?
The Indiana Bankers Association is a state trade organization representing almost 100 banks. This group provides education and training, government advocacy, products and services, and peer networking opportunities. I am very fortunate to have been selected to be chairman of the IBA in 2021. It is a great honor and it is my role to continue to promote and advocate for banking in the state of Indiana.