Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2003

First State bank president elected to statewide post

July 23, 2003

Tonganoxie banker Kent Needham probably won't be in his office at Fourth and Bury much during the next few years.

Recently, Needham, who is president and CEO at First State Bank and Trust, was elected chairman-elect of the Kansas Bankers Association. On Aug. 9, he officially will begin his one-year term. A year later, he will take over as chairman of the organization. And the following year, he'll serve the organization as the past chairman.

"I basically shadow the current chairman for a full year," the 50-year-old Needham said. "The first year, as chairman-elect, I'll be mentored by the current chairman."

Needham estimates his duties with the KBA will consume 30 to 40 percent of his workday.

"It could fluctuate, depending on the political climate of the industry," he said.

In addition, the work of the Kansas Legislature also will affect his KBA workload. The KBA offices also are in Topeka.

"I have an advantage because I'm so close to Topeka," he said. "Other chairmen who live in other parts of Kansas, specifically farther west, take more time away from their banks for travel to and from Topeka."

It won't be only Needham's time that's affected by his new duties. His wife, Terry, also will be involved.

"When this opportunity came my way, obviously, the first person to consult is your spouse," he said. "It's not only commitment for me, but it is commitment for her. She will accompany me on a number of commitments we have."

In addition, Needham sought the counsel of Bill New, chairman of the board at First State Bank, as well as the bank's management team.

"They needed to be asked about their willingness to help me," he said. "They were all very supportive and encouraged me."

Needham previously has served on the KBA board of directors and is completing a term with the American Bankers Association as state membership chairman for Kansas.

And although he's familiar with many of the banks and bankers throughout Kansas, he's eager to work more closely with them.

"They are wonderful people who support their communities," Needham said. "I know a large number of them, but I certainly don't know all of them. I'm looking forward to meeting and getting to know more of them."

In January, Needham celebrated his 10th anniversary with First State Bank. Before that, he had worked at Western National Bank in Amarillo, Texas, and Farmers Bank and Trust in Great Bend.

He holds a bachelor's degree in finance and economics from Fort Hays State University and a master's in business administration with an emphasis on banking and finance from Wichita State University.

Needham also is a graduate of the Colorado Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

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