Magazine article Independent Banker

The Power of Appreciation

Magazine article Independent Banker

The Power of Appreciation

Article excerpt

How 1st State Bank is elevating local professionals and building brand recognition. By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

In 2005, the 1-year-old 1st State Bank in Saginaw, Mich., began offering the RUBY (Recognizing the Upward, Bright, and Young) Award. The reason? Partly, so the community would start to think of the de novo as the go-to bank for businesses in central Michigan.

Now in its 14th year, the distinction for outstanding young professionals has become one of the most highly sought-after awards in the area.

Bank president and CEO Rick Goedert was inspired to create the award after working in Detroit and witnessing the great success of Crain's Detroit Business's 40 under Forty award program, says Margo Winieckie, senior vice president of 1st State Bank, which now has $255 million in assets.

"A lot of young people were leaving our area, thinking there was nothing here for them, but Rick knew there's so much more here than people might realize," Winieckie says. "So he said, 'Let's highlight successful young professionals to show young people that there are plenty of reasons to stay.'"

Prime market

Indeed, the Great Lakes Bay area is home to major employers like the Dow Chemical Company, a Fortune 500 company; a number of colleges and universities; and a growing medical industry.

RUBY Award recipients come from a wide swath of industries, including health care, education and manufacturing, as well as corporate, nonprofit and entrepreneurial ventures. The key factor is professional excellence.

"We're looking for someone who has excelled in their industry," Winieckie says. "It could be an entrepreneur who overcame great odds to start a sporting goods store and now it's a great success, or a scientist at Dow doing a fantastic job getting patents under his name."

Each year, RUBY Award recipients are recognized at a celebration dinner and are also featured in the Great Lakes Bay Business magazine, one of the award sponsors.

Among this year's 10 recipients is Panchanan Maiti, a senior research scientist at the Field Neurosciences Institute, Ascension-St. Mary's of Michigan in Saginaw. Maiti wrote in his award application that his proudest professional accomplishments include "the positive impacts of my research publications on therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and glioblastoma for the global neuroscience community, especially for potential clinical applications. …

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