This will be my last submission to the West Virginia Banker, as I will retire at the end of February 2023. As I told the attendees at our 2022 Annual Meeting and Convention, serving as your CEO for the past six years has been a tremendous honor and privilege. Thank you for entrusting me to lead and manage this remarkable organization. I hope I have made a small difference in promoting the interests of this great industry.
As I reflect on my career and how I got here, I cannot help but also think about my father and how proud he would be. Bill McLaughlin was a career banker who rose to the top of his field. He and other bankers across the state began a campaign in the early 1980s to change state banking laws to allow for branch banking and bank holding companies. He was the first President of the Progressive Bankers Association, formed to advocate for modern banking laws. His accomplishments in the industry were often recognized, but his greatest honors were being inducted into WVU’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics West Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2004 and Roll of Distinguished Alumni in 2011. The respect I had for my father as a banker was immeasurable, and although I could never match his level of accomplishment, he inspired me to pursue the career I am in today.
Some of you may also come from a family of bankers, and others may have accidentally found your way into banking. Unfortunately, banking is not necessarily presented to our youth as a prominent career path, so we, as an industry, need to develop a more concerted effort to educate young people about the exciting and rewarding careers banking has to offer.
Banking careers are broad and varied. New hires can pursue paths in operations, lending, trust and wealth management, finance and accounting, human resources, technology and data security, marketing and business development, and regulatory compliance. In addition to providing loans and financial services, bankers are deeply committed to volunteerism, community leadership, and philanthropy. Bankers take pride in giving back to their communities, and the rewards are great. It is up to each of us to create awareness around the financially and personally rewarding opportunities this industry has to offer so that my legacy, and yours, can continue for years to come.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all my best to my successor, Mark Mangano. Like many of you, I have known Mark for many years. He is knowledgeable and experienced and has the right skill sets to take this organization to the next level. I do not doubt that with your support, he will be successful. I also offer my gratitude to the amazing staff – each of whom is passionate about our mission – and to the board of directors and committee members who volunteer their time, talent, and treasure to promote our standing as one of the state’s leading trade associations.
Again, thank you for the opportunities you provided to me. I admire and appreciate your leadership, partnership, and support, and I will for years to come. Working with each of you has been the highlight of my career.
My deepest gratitude and best wishes for a bright future.