What’s your biggest challenge right now?

My biggest challenge right now is assuring the transition from me to my successor at the bank goes well, and that we preserve the best parts of the culture of the bank going forward.

I told my board of directors that I was going to be retiring at the end of this year and we had an internal candidate. We’ve got employees and customers we want to make sure are comfortable with the succession, and we have a governing body, which are corporators in a mutual bank, that we want to make sure are comfortable.

So first we hired an hired an outside person to do an assessment of myself and of Dave (David Cyr), and give the board some feedback as to the attributes of each of us, and what they could expect with David as a future leader. At the beginning of this year, in January, after the board made the decision to have Dave be my successor, we announced it to the employees, and he became the president of the bank.

And then at our annual meeting in April we announced it to our corporators publicly. It’s gone really well, I think, having that lead time and the communication has made it go very smoothly. And I have been willing and able — maybe more willing than most; I’ve known him a long time — to step back and let him go ahead and basically take the reins of the bank. So it’s gone very well.

The strangest thing is that in the last several months, you know, toward the end of your career, you’re still here and your successor is here and realizing that you’re not going to be in charge. I’m very comfortable with that. It’s kind of an odd time, anyway, for the outgoing executive.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to surround yourself with really strong, capable people and let them do that jobs. It took me a while.

When you started your career, what was the biggest misconception that you had about what your work life would be like? 

I started my career in banking so I could ski. I started at a little bank in Kingfield near Sugarloaf and I had the impression that banks and banking was little old men with green eye shades and it was a boring back-shop type of work. And in fact I told my wife when she came to Kingfield that we’d only be there for five years and I’d get myself a real job. And I was with that bank for 25 years. But in any case, it was opened my eyes to the impact and the importance of having a bank in a community. And what’s cool about it is the ability to work with a very diverse group of individuals and businesses and try to help them reach their goals.

I was made president of that bank when I was 27. At that point, I realized it was going to be fun. I was having fun, so it was going to be a longer-term gig. I still ski. I’m going to retire and ski all winter.

What are the most valuable workplace skills you have encountered? 

I think the most valuable workplace skills I’ve encountered is the ability to understand and value everybody in the organization for what they bring to the organization. The term is emotional intelligence, to understand people where they’re coming from and realize that everybody provides value even though they’re different than you.

(It’s important) because it takes a variety of different viewpoints and ways of thinking to come up with the best solution to a problem or the best thinking, really — diversity of thought.

And even in today’s technological world, the ability to deal with other people is going to be a skill that’s never going to go away.

What advice would you give to someone just starting a career today? 

I have three kids, so I think I have done that. My advice would be to find something that you enjoy and are happy or passionate about and feel good about. And don’t worry about what the money or the titles that might accompany it. And have fun.

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