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Employee News

Congratulations Jesica Garza! New Branch Executive

Congratulations to Jesica Garza on her promotion to Branch Executive! Jesica Garza has been promoted to Branch Executive of the SouthStar Bank Georgetown Branch. Jesica has been with SouthStar Bank for three years as a portfolio lender, specializing in land and construction financing. She has multiple years of prior experience in mortgage lending and has also taught mortgage and real estate investing courses to continuing education students as a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist. A local to Georgetown, Jesica proudly graduated as a Georgetown Eagle in 2004 and continued on to Texas State University to pursue her degree in International Relations. As Branch Executive, Jesica is looking forward to broadening and sustaining the branch’s relationships with the community. Active in the community, Garza previously served on the Austin Board of the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women. In addition, she stays 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 two kids: one son and one daughter. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 1508061

Congratulations Riley Martine! New Assistant Vice President

Riley Martine has been promoted to the role of Assistant Vice President at the SouthStar Bank Southwest Austin branch. She will continue in her role as Portfolio Manager and will also be taking on the official role of Executive Assistant to the Chief Lending Officer. Her initiative, positive attitude, and ability to multitask have given Riley a great reputation amongst her coworkers and clients. Riley is looking forward to continuing to assist in the management and growth of the bank’s portfolio. “I love learning and SouthStar never ceases to give me the opportunity to do so,” she says. In her free time, Riley enjoys running, reading, and going to concerts. Her biggest personal achievement was when she completed the Austin Half Marathon in April 2021. Congratulations Riley!

Congratulations Miguel De La Riva! New Branch Executive

Congratulations to Miguel De La Riva on his promotion to Branch Executive of the Harker Heights branch! Miguel De La Riva was promoted to Branch Executive at the Harker Heights Branch. He joined SouthStar Bank at the beginning of 2022 with over 20 years of industry experience. In his long career, Miguel has funded everything from small business loans, home loans for first-time buyers, and multi-million-dollar commercial real estate transactions. In his new role, Miguel is excited to continue working with the team in Harker Heights, or as he calls them, the Harker Heights Heroes. He also enjoys serving his community and is looking forward to continuing to get to know the citizens of Harker Heights and the communities surrounding Ft. Hood. He specializes in using his strong analytical and problem-solving skills to find solutions for complex loans. “ I always look forward to helping more people accomplish their goals and realize their dreams,” he says. “Helping the clients who were told ‘it cannot be done by everyone else is one of the best parts of my job.” Miguel is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and bilingual in Spanish. Outside of work, Miguel enjoys spending his time in the great outdoors, enjoying various bodies of water with his wife and loyal dogs. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 980470

Welcome Shirley Sears

Shirley Sears, Vice President of Lending | SouthStar Bank Leander Shirley Sears is a native Texan born in Fort Worth. She has been a resident of the Cedar Park/Georgetown area for the last 35 years, where she raised her three children with her husband, Chris. In her role with the SouthStar Bank Leander team, Shirley will specialize in refinances, construction financing, and mortgage lending. While Shirley enjoys helping her customers build their dream homes, she loves building relationships with them even more. Making her clients feel comfortable and building trust with them is Shirley’s top priority. “A home is a place of comfort and peace,” she says. “Being able to help my customers fund their refuge is the ultimate reward.” In the professional community, Shirley is involved in Professional Women of Williamson County and the Williamson County Association of Realtors. At home, she enjoys exercising, listening to live music, being outside by any body of water, and spending time with her family. Welcome Shirley! NMLS# 1464584

Welcome Tyler Lucas

Tyler Lucas, Vice President of Lending | SouthStar Bank Southwest Austin Tyler Lucas is a Vice President of Lending located in Southwest Austin. An alum of Texas Tech and Western Governors University, Tyler has spent the last ten years in the banking/financial services industry, with most of his experience focusing on commercial lending. For him, the best part of his job is being his customers’ trusted advisor for achieving their dreams. “I truly love and have a passion for helping people,” he says. “Whether they are an individual buying their dream home or a small business owner looking to expand, I will always strive to help them accomplish their goals.” In the Austin community, Tyler is a member of the Texas Tech Alumni Association and the Risk Management Association. He is also a member of the Young Men’s Business League, a social service organization for young professionals. Away from work, Tyler enjoys checking out the Austin live music scene, fly fishing, cheering on his beloved Red Raiders, and spending time with his wife Wesley and their two children, Warren and Wyatt. Welcome to the SouthStar Bank family, Tyler! NMLS# 2118548

Congratulations Curtis Wren! New Executive Vice President

Congratulations to Curtis Wren on his promotion to Executive Vice President! Curtis has spent the last four decades in banking and finance. He has been with SouthStar Bank for the last eight years, where he has made a significant impact on the Bank’s loan approval process as a Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. In his role, Curtis is responsible for the Credit Administration Group and the administration and maintenance of the Bank’s Lending, Appraisal & Evaluation, and Environmental policies, and the adherence to them in analyzing, underwriting, and approving loans. Prior to his promotion, Curtis was awarded the 2021 President’s Award, which is given to the individual who has made the organization’s strongest contribution over the past year. As Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, Curtis will continue to share his extensive knowledge and experience with the loan officers and credit analysts. “I don’t look at lending just from the viewpoint of the collateral and cash flow,” he says, “I look at lending in the context of the request and as making a smart investment in the people behind the request, and I will continue to share that philosophy.”  A proud member of the Georgetown community, Curtis is involved with several local organizations including Main Street Baptist Church, Ducks Unlimited, and the Coastal Conservation Association. He has also held leadership positions with the Georgetown Rotary Club where he was the Director and the Sargent-at-Arms. In his free time, Curtis enjoys barbecuing, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends, particularly his four grandchildren. Two of  his most significant personal accomplishments are his marriage to wife, Charis, for 38 ½ years and the wonderful family they have raised. A surprising pastime is that he enjoys making renovations to his 1890s home and yard. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 680305

Welcome Emily Gamez

Emily Gamez, Personal Banker | SouthStar Bank Bee Cave Emily Gamez is joining the SouthStar Bank team as a Personal Banker at the Bee Cave location. A proud roadrunner, she graduated with her Bachelors from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2020 and is currently working towards getting her MBA from UTSA as well. While Emily is new to banking, she is excited to use her top-notch customer service skills and small-town touch to build strong relationships with her customers and co-workers. Away from work and her studies, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and exploring all of the unique things and places Austin has to offer. Welcome to the SouthStar Bank family, Emily!

Welcome Amanda Minniear

Amanda Minniear, Personal Banker | SouthStar Bank Georgetown The Georgetown team is growing with the addition of Amanda Minniear to the Operations team as a Personal Banker. An alumna of Texas Christian University, Amanda has worked in banking for over eight years and most recently held the position of Customer Service Representative. She is eager to bring her upbeat personality and willingness to learn to the Georgetown branch. Some of Amanda’s hobbies include reading, traveling, fishing, and spending time with her family. A secret talent of Amanda’s is that she can bake a very delectable dessert. Welcome Amanda!

Welcome Back Brianna Bracamontez

Brianna Bracamontez, Junior Credit Analyst | SouthStar Bank Loan Administration Building Welcome back Brianna Bracamontez! After working as a Banking Intern at the Georgetown location in the summer of 2021, Brianna is returning to SouthStar Bank as a Junior Credit Analyst based in the Leander Loan Administration Building. A recent graduate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, she is looking forward to aiding in the continuous growth of the bank. Away from the bank, Brianna enjoys spending time with her friends, traveling, reading, and running.

Welcome Dawson Sulak

Dawson Sulak, Junior Credit Analyst | SouthStar Bank Loan Administration Building Dawson Sulak is joining the SouthStar Bank team as a Junior Credit Analyst. He will be based in the Loan Administration Building in Leander. Dawson is a graduate of Texas State University and is excited to bring his energy and hard work to the team. During his free time, Dawson likes to golf and travel. His favorite travel destination is Whistler Ski Resort in Whistler, British Columbia where he enjoys snowboarding. Welcome Dawson!

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