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Employee Awards & Anniversaries 2021

Employee Awards & Anniversaries 2021


The ride for the brand award recognizes those individuals who have gone above and beyond to uphold the SouthStar Bank. In the cowboy days, when you worked for a big ranch or participated in a trail drive the cowboy was loyal to the Brand he “rode for.”  Guys that rode for the brand had deep connections representing the ranch that transcended their daily work.  To strengthen our culture, we continue to need employees that are a good example of this type of steadfast loyalty and who support our mission, vision, and values.

  • Loan Officer- Jesica Garza
  • Operations- Julie Gamez
  • Support Operations- Derek Kapavik
  • Support Lending- Blake Feste
  • Mortgage Support- Dawn Embry
  • Executive- Cole Schindler


The Star Leader award is a special award given to applaud and promote the work and contributions of our most senior team. These individuals articulate a compelling vision for the institution and to have inspired others to that vision. They actively support all aspects of our Bank’s advancement and show the highest commitment to professional growth. Recipients deserve exceptional notice and praise.

  • Brent Gibbs
  • Kevin Knesek


This year, we also wanted to recognize a few individuals who have stepped up in their leadership role. On a cattle drive, Trail Boss is the one in charge of the entire operation – keeping track of all the different elements of the drive, selecting routes, and making key decisions. Our Trail Boss awards go to those who have helped guide our teams, selected routes for new and expanded operations, and supported key initiatives to exceed expectations. We can all agree that this year brought many new challenges, and I appreciate those who helped set the path for success.

  • Bryan Buck
  • Jo Ann Biezenski
  • Ryan Noyce
  • Trip Ray


This prestigious recognition is awarded by the bank president, David Kapavik, to the individual he and the executive team feel has made the strongest contribution to the organization over the past year in each region. They review many aspects including performance, leadership, service, and related organizational benefits.

  • Urban North – Curtis Wren
  • Urban South – Elise Giles
  • Rural North – Roni Nickelson
  • Rural South – Tamara Siegel


We have a new award category this year recognizing our Rising Stars. These individuals have been with the bank for less than two years, but have already made our star shine brighter. These emerging leaders were selected by the executive committee in each department because of their exceptional growth and contributions to the organization as well as increased levels of leadership, responsibility, and sphere of impact.

  • Operations- Melissa Chavez
  • Support Operations- Keely McCarthy
  • Support Lending- Shelby Mossman
  • Mortgage Support- Christine McGinnis


New award! This award recognizes one individual who has embraced our partnership Hilltop Securities. We look forward to the continued growth of this relationship and the benefits it provides for our clients.

  • Tina Zander


SouthStar Bank takes great pride in supporting our communities. The Community Involvement Awards recognize one recipient in each of our four regions for exemplifying the community bank spirit through active involvement in worthy causes and initiatives throughout the area.

  • Urban North – Davonica France
  • Urban South – Kimberly Watson
  • Rural North – Justin Kleiber
  • Rural South – Melissa Thompson


The Star Service Awards recognize one recipient in each of our four regions for service above and beyond the expected norm. Recipients consistently demonstrate exceptional knowledge of our products and services, as well as an intuitive understanding of our clients’ needs. Recipients consistently exemplify the SouthStar mantra of providing friendly, flexible common-sense financial services

  • Urban North – Aften Serrano
  • Urban South – Melissa Swift
  • Rural North – Deanna Ford
  • Rural South – Mariela Tinajero


30 YEARS: Billy Fleming

10 YEARS: Amanda Thurber, Brent Gibbs, Carl Bozon, Greg Holub

5 YEARS: Blake McNicoll, Diane Romo, Elise Giles, Greg Vesely, Jennifer Bellavia, Meghan Rabel, Melissa Swift, Steffani Scarborough, Stephanie Nevlud, Trip Ray

Congratulations to all award recipients and nominees!

RIDE FOR THE BRAND NOMINEES: Amy Coldeway, Amy Elliott, Blake Feste, Christine McGinnis, Cole Schindler, Davonica France, Dawn Embry, Derek Kapavik, Greg Holub, Greg Vesely, Jesica Garza, Julie Gamez, Kimberly Watson, Linda Van Doren, Melissa Swift, Riley Martine

STAR SERVICE NOMINEES: Aften Serrano, Alysa Bergam, Amber Gallagher, Amber Minnick, Andrew Denny, Betty Roznovsky, Blake Feste, Blake McNicoll, Bridget Robinson, Brittany Edwards, Caitlyn Le Pori, Chelsey Carothers, Christine McGinnis, Claudia Gonzales, Davonica France, Dawn Embry, Deanna Ellison, Deanna Ford, Debra Morris, Donna Stephenson, Erica Boller, Erica Carillo, Gary Mobbs, Greg Vesely, Jenny Currie, Jeremy Bernal, Jesica Garza, Jesse Miller, Jo Ann Biezenski, Joyce Pitmon, Julie Gamez, Justen Salcido, Justin Kleiber, JW Smith, Kacy Kirk, Kay Lynn Rothbauer, Kimberly Watson, Kristin Ross, Kristy Hollis, Laura Blackstock, Laura Desselle, Laura Pauza, Lora Scasta, Lucia Fernandez, Mariela Tinajero, Meghan Rabel, Melissa Greger, Melissa Swift, Melissa Thompson, Michelle Felde, Monica Leal, Nathaniel Walls, Pam Browning, Patty Barron, Riley Martine, Roni Nickelson, Ryan Noyce, Samalia Huggins, Samantha Alexander, Sara Huggins, Sarah Ortega, Sche Kehner, Sharon Green, Shelby Mossman, Sherri Steadham, Steffani Scarborough, Susan Forrest, Tamara Siegel, Taryn Vandenberg, Terry Austin, Tina Zander, Tyler Waldrep, Virgina Roberts

COMMUNITY SERVICE NOMINEES: Aften Serrano, Alexis Michael, Amanda Aaron, Andrew Denny, Blake McNicoll, Carl Bozon, Davonica France, Debra Morris, Elise Giles, Gary Mobbs, Jeff Harris, Jenny Currie, Jesica Garza, Jesse Miller, Jo Ann Biezenski, Julie Gamez, Justen Salcido, Justin Kleiber, JW Smith, Kacy Kirk, Karen Mode, Kevin Knesek, Kimberly Watson, Kristy Hollis, Larry Weisinger, Laura Desselle, Linda Martinez, Lora Scasta, Mariela Tinajero, Melissa Greger, Melissa Swift, Melissa Thompson, Monica Leal, Pam Browning, Ryan Noyce, Samalia Huggins, Sarah Ortega, Shelby Mossman, Tabitha Griffin, Tamara Siegel, Tina Zan, Tina Zander, Trey Bertelson, Virginia Roberts

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