www.wvbankers.org 8 West Virginia Banker How did you become a banker? I worked for about five years for the Farmers Home Admin- istration, with my last position being the community devel- opment manager in Parkersburg. I was responsible for a five-county area. In 1996, after the birth of our son, we decid- ed to move closer to my wife’s family in Petersburg, so I ap- plied with various banks in the area, as my primary responsi- bilities with FmHA were in lending. I ended up going to work for Grant County Bank in October that year as a collector. Are there any individuals who had a major impact on your career? It’s difficult to single out individuals as so many along the way helped shape my career, but I would single out Butch Porter, Virgil Smyer and Gerald Sites here at the bank and Joe McMillion with USDA. I learned a lot from each of them. I also have to give credit to my good friend Alan Harris who Meet Your Chairman – George Ford, The Grant County Bank convinced me to intern with FmHA for a couple of summers, and that really started me down the path that led to where I am now. What is the best advice you’ve received so far in your banking career? Surround yourself with good people. They will make your job much easier and make the organization and you look good without you having to do all of the work yourself. What is the most rewarding part of your career? For me, the most rewarding part of my career was probably when I was a loan officer. I distinctly recall making several young couples their first home loan, and while I’ve had other satisfying moments in my career, I’m not sure it gets any more rewarding than that feeling. What do you think will be some of the dominant trends within the banking industry in the next 5-10 years? The two trends that I believe will continue are related and are the continued push to get bigger and more efficient and the move to a more digital banking experience. The big banks such as Bank of America/Wells Fargo/Chase will continue to grow because they can spend billions of dollars on technolo- gy research and attract customers who increasingly want the ability to do all of their banking remotely. This will continue to incentivize banks to merge to be more efficient and competi- tive in the digital realm. Why is being a West Virginia Banker member important? As community banks get squeezed by credit unions on one side and mega-banks on the other, the only chance we have to survive is to band together to make our voices heard. WVBA is the organization that can coordinate and help shepherd all of our voices into one strong chorus that will get the attention of lawmakers at the state and national levels. What makes it beneficial? Beyond the political aspect, there are many other benefits that banks enjoy by being members of the WVBA. The ability to have a curated list of vendors that have been vetted by the WVBA is helpful when looking for a new product or to replace an existing vendor or product. Educational schools and seminars are another significant benefits of membership. The ability to have a well educated and informed workforce is critical to our success as a bank, and we rely on WVBA for a lot of those needs. How long have you been active in the West Virginia Bankers Association? I’ve really only been active since I became CEO in 2011. My activity up to that point consisted mainly of attending various seminars and schools.