Title: Vice president
Company: Ameris Bank
Savannah neighborhood: Richmond Hill
• Commercial loan production of $20 million-plus in 2013
• Low cost deposit production of $10 million-plus in 2013
• Oversaw the expansion into Richmond Hill in August 2013.
• Chosen one of 2008 Savannah Morning News “40 Under 40”
• 2010 graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU
• Board Member for Leadership Georgia Bankers Association (2008–2012)
• Member of the Richmond Hill Rotary Club
• Member of the Richmond Hill Exchange Club
• Past chairman of the Richmond Hill–Bryan County Chamber of Commerce; served on the board from 2007–2012.
Questions for BiS
Q: As a proven local leader, please share your vision of Savannah’s future. What growth or challenge do you foresee by the end of 2014?
A: Washington needs to get its act together and put the country on a path that solves our fiscal problems and gives its citizens confidence in the future of America.
Q: By the year 2020?
A: It would be great to see the (Pooler) mega-site completely full with several thousand additional jobs added to our local area.
Q: By the year 2030?
A: Savannah is the largest and most active port in the world, which would equate to huge dividends for all local business leaders.
Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?
A: Banks are relying more and more on technological advances that keep customers from having to physically visit a branch to conduct their business. While this is great for helping banks to control their overhead costs, it puts a greater responsibility on banking officers to get out from behind their desks and go visit the customer.
Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?
A: The smartphone will continue to evolve to help organize and better manage our day. It is amazing to think that almost everyone in our business community uses this, relatively-speaking, new device to set your daily calendar, keep your contacts, manage your finances, bring you any piece of news or information you request, etc.
Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?
A: Savannah’s charm with its great natural beauty and abundance of history will allow for it to maintain the same feel that is has today no matter how much we grow.
Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?
A: Everyone in Savannah, no matter who you are, has a direct connection to the long-term outlook for the Savannah Port. … we must all work together to make sure the port is always receiving what it needs from our local officials all the way to Washington.
Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?
A: Medical degrees. Savannah is becoming a hub for medical care for not only the Savannah MSA but also various surrounding counties. With all of the changes in health care coming our way, more and more medical offices will need to consolidate to decrease their overhead costs, and I see them moving towards population centers, like Savannah.
Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?
A: We need to focus on bettering our public school system. Effingham County and Bryan County enjoy great public schools, but Chatham County needs to make sure we are taking the steps needed to graduate kids who are ready to participate in the local industrial and professional opportunities available here locally.
Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?
A: I hope the art of maintaining a personal relationship with a customer will be continued in the future and not replaced by technological advances.