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Employee News

Congratulations Gillian Bowman!

Congratulations, Gillian Bowman! SouthStar Bank would like to recognize Gillian Bowman for completing the process to become a Certified Fraud Examiner! The process included four separate exams, which covered the topics of Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence. Gillian joined the Audit department for SouthStar Bank in April 2022. During her short time with the bank, she has already made a huge impact and was awarded the 2022 Rising Star award for Support Operations. As a valued member of the team, SouthStar Bank is looking forward to Gillians’ continued success with the company.

Employee Awards & Anniversaries 2022

RIDE FOR THE BRAND 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. STAR LEADER 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 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. TRAIL BOSS We also wanted to recognize a few individuals who have stepped up in their leadership roles. 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. PRESIDENT’S AWARD 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. RISING STAR AWARD 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. INVESTAR SUPERSTAR This award recognizes one individual who has embraced our partnership with Hilltop Securities. We look forward to the continued growth of this relationship and the benefits it provides for our clients. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT 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. STAR SERVICE AWARD 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 ANNIVERSARIES 25 YEARS: Linda Martinez […]

Congratulations Blake Feste! New Senior Credit Officer

Congratulations to Blake Feste, recently promoted to Senior Credit Officer! Blake has been a part of the SouthStar Bank team since 2017 and was previously an employee of former Lone Star Bank from 2013 to 2015. Blake has excelled in his role at the bank to uphold the overall quality of the Bank’s credit extension. He will continue to provide support and direction in loan policies and procedures, working with Credit Analysts and Regional Credit Managers to promote loan growth while balancing risk controls for the bank. Outside of work, Blake held a position as Co-Chair of Programs on the board for the Young Men’s Business League of Austin for 5 years. Blake and YMBL worked to raise money each year to send low-income youth to summer camp, assisting approximately 1,000 kids each year. As of 2022, he is an Alumni Member but continues to be heavily involved in the efforts of the non-profit organization. Blake and his wife, Ellen, live in Northwest Austin with their 3-year-old son, Liam. They enjoy traveling and cheering on his alma mater, the TCU Horned Frogs, during football season. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 683300

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!

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