Congratulations to Elise Giles on passing the CCIM Designation Exam and earning her pin! We’re so proud! A CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) is a recognized expert in the commercial and investment real estate industry. The designation process ensures that CCIMs are proficient not only in theory, but also in practice. The elite group of CCIMs includes brokers, leasing professionals, investment counselors, asset managers, appraisers, corporate real estate executives, property managers, developers, institutional investors, commercial lenders, attorneys, bankers, and other allied professionals. Senior Vice President & Specialty CRE/HBF Director with SouthStar Bank, Ms. Giles has broad knowledge of the commercial market. Her career spans over 30 years in commercial real estate in various South and Southwest markets including Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and California. Ms. Giles is an entrepreneurial banker adept at all types of development and commercial real estate finance. Throughout her long and productive career, she has enjoyed working with small and mid-sized developers, builders and visionaries to bring their CRE projects to life. She is always in search of new clients and new strategic positions that complement and grow her extensive knowledge base. “I enjoy creating a niche in a diverse and complex market to provide financing that meets my clients’ needs,” she says. Much of her experience has been in construction finance, including single-family residential lot development, mid-rise apartments, extended stay hotel projects and mixed-use office and retail. Additionally, she has experience financing bridge loans, mini-perms and permanent loans on all types of income property. Elise serves as Chair of the Sponsorship Committee for Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). She is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), as well as a member of Central Texas Commercial Association of Realtors (CTCAR) and Austin Board of Realtors (ABOR). A member and former elder of Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, Elise is active in the Flower Ministry and the Chancel Choir. Singing has been something of a lifelong passion for her. She is a former member of Houston Symphony Chorus. She also attended Southwest Texas State (Texas State University) on a voice performance scholarship. As often as she and her husband, Brad, and their two dogs, Kirby and JackJack, can get away from their busy lives in Austin, you will find them at their beach house in TerraMar on Galveston Bay. NMLS # 1493386
Allen Strickland joins the team at SouthStar Bank in Harker Heights as Senior Vice President and Branch Executive. With two decades of industry experience, he worked his way up from a teller and quickly earned praise as a strategic banker and team leader. Runner Up for Best Loan Officer in Brown County two years running, Stickland is confident in building relationships and recognition in the Harker Heights community. In his new role he hopes to expand SouthStar Bank’s presence in the market through his team’s personal involvement. As a community lender, he will offer residential mortgage loans as well as commercial financing. Strickland enjoys uncovering the specifics of each individual borrower’s needs. “It is fulfilling to sit with a client, discuss their situation and uncover deeper goals than just the present loan request they may have,” he says. Allen and wife Amie have been married for 10 years and have four children ranging in age from 17 to 5. Amie is an RN at Seton Hospital in the Harker Heights area. In his spare time Allen and his family love watching, playing, and coaching all sports. They are currently coaching their 5-year-old daughter’s soccer team- brave parents! NMLS # 1619700
Jesica Garza joins SouthStar Bank’s Georgetown Branch as Assistant Vice President of Lending. A Certified Mortgage Planner, Jesica brings three years of mortgage lending experience as well as her expertise from teaching mortgage and real estate investing to continuing education students. Garza is local to Georgetown, proudly graduating as a Georgetown Eagle in 2004 and continuing to Texas State University to pursue her degree in International Relations. A legacy to a family of builders, Garza especially enjoys working on construction and home improvement loans of all kinds. Active in the community, Garza previously served the Austin Board of the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women. In addition, she is heavily involved with her husband’s non-profit, Flatwater Foundation, and its mission to provide access to therapy for families coping with a cancer diagnosis. Jesica and her husband, Mark, have 2 kids; one smart-as-a-whip 6-year-old son and a beautiful 3-month-old daughter. NMLS # 1508061
Amber Gallagher, Assistant Vice President & Commercial Loan Closing Coordinator | Steiner Ranch Branch Amber Gallagher has been with the SouthStar Bank team for almost two years. In banking for 14 years, she enjoys working closely with clients on their loan needs and assisting loan officers carry out smooth transactions. Amber is proud of her 2018 nomination for SouthStar Bank’s Ride the Brand Award. She was voted by her peers, after a relatively short time working with SouthStar Bank, for going above and beyond her role. Amber and her husband of 20 years enjoy volunteering and cheering on their kids’ extracurriculars, including enthusiastic support for the Lake Travis High School Cavaliers. During her leisure time, Amber enjoys spending time at the lake with her family. They enjoy boating, surfing and being on the Lake Travis water. The family also loves attending boat races, wakeboard competitions and races at Austin 360. It’s no surprise that Amber describes her dream vacation as time away with family and friends around a body of water, a great view and a cold drink in her hand.
Greg Vesely, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending & Branch Executive at SouthStar Bank, was recognized as a ‘Top Residential Mortgage Producer’ in the Austin area. Vesely closed 28 portfolio mortgage loans with a volume of $14.78 million in 2018, 26 within the Austin MSA. This does not include his investor and ranch loans where his clients hold the property in an LLC. With 25 years of industry experience, Greg Vesely has a keen eye for strategy and a commitment to customer service. “I enjoy being my clients’ trusted advisor,” he says. “By understanding their needs, I’m better equipped to help them achieve growth and success.” Vesely is a graduate of Texas State (Southwest Texas). He also holds a Series 6,63, Group 1 license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA). His vast expertise in lending makes him a go-to resource not only for residential mortgages, but also commercial financing. Greg is involved in the Steiner Ranch community, a place he’s called home for over 18 years. He contributes his time to March of Dimes, the Chamber of Commerce, Toys for Tots and United Way. “I love to volunteer and help support the community,” he says. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Greg and his wife Kay love to travel. Especially when that travel involves watching their daughter, Kaylee, play in golf tournaments See the full Top Residential Mortgage Producer list here. NMLS # 621784
Christy Owen joins SouthStar Bank as Assistant Vice President and Portfolio Manager. Christy will be assisting the lending team at the Georgetown Branch and supporting the loan officers in servicing commercial and personal lending needs. NMLS #1766851
SouthStar Bank participated in the annual Come and Take It festivities as an event sponsor. The celebration takes place in early October in historic downtown Gonzales, TX. The Come and Take It festival is a tradition that goes back over 60 years. Come and Take It celebrates the firing of the first shot of the Texas Revolution that occurred on October 2, 1835. Each year the community gathers to celebrate its Texas heritage. Throughout the three days, multiple activities take place including live music, a parade, egg toss, 5K run, a chicken flying contest, and much more. This festival represents one of the most important points of Texas History. SouthStar enjoys being a part of such a historical event and looks forward to celebrating Come and Take It again. Click here to learn more about the “Come and Take It” Festival. Historic Downtown Gonzales, 78629
Bridget Robinson, Personal Banker at SouthStar Bank’s Moulton Branch, assists clients in opening, managing, and maintaining their accounts, assists clients in selecting best suited products and services, and builds long-term relationships with clients to optimize their banking experience.
Amber Bell, Commercial Loan Closing Coordinator | Southwest Austin Amber Bell has worked in the banking and finance industry for 4 years, and although she considers herself new to the industry, she is a great asset to the team. She is proactive in making the loan process as efficient as possible and always has a smile on her face. Amber enjoys interacting with clients and being a part of turning their dreams of home ownership into reality. On the weekends, Amber enjoys coastal fishing, bird/hog hunting down South, and family time on the lake in the Hill Country with puppies and parents. Amber loves being outside hiking, fishing, hunting, and running with her dog, Dixie. “Although I can come across as a girly girl, I surprise many people by being able to change my own tire, back a trailer, drive a standard and shoot.” says Amber. She believes in making a vacation out of any trip, big or small, by finding new things to do. Amber has traveled quite a bit within the United States, but her dream is to travel outside of the country and learn more about other people’s culture, eat the local cuisine, and site see the history of new places.
Kendra Thurman joins SouthStar Bank as a Loan Operations Processor at our Calvert office. She assists the team with their loan processing needs. Though she is new to banking, her new role suites her. She and her husband, Spencer, have two daughters who she aims to set an example for.