On two occasions over the past 30 years or so, Craig Holley says he found himself looking for work and uncertain about his future.
Each time, he turned to banking with the first instance resulting in a 26-year career with AmSouth Bank and the second leading to creation of the now $710 million-asset CapitalMark Bank in Chattanooga.
“What I’ve done is because of those around me,” said Holley on Wednesday as he accepted the Chattanooga area Manager of the Year Award.
Holley, 55, chairman and chief executive of CapitalMark, told a group of several hundred that when he was a young Auburn University graduate, he was unsure about what he wanted to do.
“I said, ‘I’ll take this job at the bank for a couple of years,’” he recalled, adding he put in a two-and-a-half decade career with AmSouth until his post as regional vice president for the Southeast Tennessee/North Georgia area was cut in 2005.
Holley said “a lot of good things happened to me” over his time with AmSouth, including meeting his wife and taking part in a management training program he put to good use over his career.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” the banker said about losing his prior banking slot. “Leaving [AmSouth,] I had no idea what I’d do, but I knew I’ll stay in Chattanooga.”
After taking about 90 days off and initially turning down suggestions he start a new bank, he began approaching prospective organizers.
In 2007, CapitalMark raised a record $35 million in private capital as a startup bank. Starting with 13 employees, the bank now has nearly 90. In the first quarter of 2012, profits hit more than $1.5 million and the bank has plans to expand its Tennessee footprint to Cleveland and Oak Ridge in addition to its Chattanooga and Knoxville locations.
“I surrounded myself with great people,” said Holley, who leaned on the bank’s team when he had quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year. “Despite serious industry issues, these people established a very solid foundation. It’s truly a collaborative effort.”
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger termed Holley’s award “certainly something you meet the criteria for.” He cited Holley’s leadership skills and his volunteer service on a number of boards in the city.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...
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