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Generation Next: Dugas Patton

Age: 36

Company: The Coastal Bank

Title: Vice president

Top accomplishments

• Doubled fee revenue for my portfolio in 2012. Grew loan production by 6 percent in 2012. Maintained consistent $42 million loan portfolio in 2012 while cutting problem assets by one-third

• Expanded The Coastal Bank’s SBA lending opportunities including $400K in additional non-interest income to the bank in 2012

• Delivering on The Coastal Bank’s community banking model for our local nonprofit sector including a portfolio of loans to nonprofits that will top $6 million in 2013

Top philanthropic leadership roles

• Savannah Community Foundation Emerging Leaders Council

• Clean Coast board of directors

• Metropolitan Savannah Rotary

 

Q. As a proven local leader, please share your vision of Savannah’s future.

By the end of 2013? Savannah will have either stitched together a pretty solid turnaround year or will suffer a recession brought on by our friends in Washington.

By the year 2020? The port, the military, 40,000-plus college students and a constant influx of retirees have Savannah set up to outperform our peers, but we won’t succeed if we don’t maximize our economic development opportunities.

By the year 2030? Improvements in our public education system are our biggest long-term opportunity. I’d like to see us become leaders in public education for the benefit of our citizens and our economy, but most of all to promote a broader world view and empathy.

 

Q. How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?

A. I’ll leverage technology and do more study to become a subject-matter-expert in some target industries. The goal will be to get to “yes” faster and play more offense than defense.

 

Q. What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?

A. Broadband infrastructure improvements (especially in rural areas) coupled with innovations in distance learning, video conferencing and telemedicine will drive down the cost of higher education and health care thanks to local Savannah innovators like inVisionCam and OnPoint Digital.

 

Q. What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?

A. The Port and other transportation infrastructure, the military, 40,000-plus college students and a near-constant influx of retirees have Savannah set up to outperform our peers.

 

Q. What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?

A. Exporting. I truly believe that small and middle-market businesses can create life-changing growth by opening export markets.

 

Q. What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?

A. Health care-related degrees will continue to be in high demand such as pharmacy, nursing, treatment therapies, medical assistance and medical lab technicians. Technology related fields will also fare well, including software engineering, computer science and management information systems.

 

Q. What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?

A. Maintain the life-work balance and remember why we all chose to live in Savannah. Appreciate the natural beauty, cultural diversity and economic advantages our community has for our children. Spend a little less time in your office and a little more time outside. And when you run into me, remind me to do the same.

 

Q. What innovation do you hope will be remembered by future generations? I hope my work will help small and middle-market businesses be more successful and grow into major forces in our economy.

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