An opportunity to come home

Greg Evans

Winona native Greg Evans became Merchants Bank’s president late last year. After seven years working for Merchants in the Cannon Falls region, Evans is still transitioning back to life in his hometown. Photo credit: Andrew Link, Winona Daily News

Like father, like son.

That might be a good way to describe new Merchants Bank president Greg Evans, but it’s not the only way. Winona native is another. So is Steamboat Days harbormaster, 10 Days of Giving founder and community leader.

For his father, Gary Evans, another native and Winona business and community leader, when he talks about his son, it’s about how he has stepped into his own and the mark he has left on the community.

“When he came back from college he was Gary Evans’ son,” he admitted. “Now that he’s come back from Cannon Falls, I am Greg Evans’ father. I really like that. He’s a chip off the old block.”

Community is important to Greg, who cites Gary and Merchants Financial Group CEO Rod Nelson as mentors and people who have instilled the importance of community in him. Merchants’ philosophy is that a strong community translates into a strong community bank, and Greg is a follower of that philosophy.

“Community engagement isn’t optional,” Greg said. “It’s an expectation. We believe that when the community thrives and prospers, Merchants can only benefit as a result.”

After studying journalism in college and a short tenure as a reporter in Iowa, Greg came back to Winona and joined Merchants Bank in the late 1980s in marketing. One of his first projects at the bank was starting the annual 10 Days of Giving food drive, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last winter and has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of tons of food for the Winona food shelf.

Nelson said the 10 Days of Giving was a prime example of how Greg leads by example, and called the growth over the years of the program a testament to his passion for the community.

“It’s gone beyond a Merchants’ thing,” Nelson said. “It’s now a Winona thing.”

Greg was involved with a number of community events and organizations during his time in Winona, capped off — literally — with being named Steamboat Days Harbormaster in 2007.

Later that year, he was promoted to be Merchants regional president for the bank’s newly acquired Cannon Falls division, and Greg began to build ties in his new home.

That, of course, meant community involvement. Greg’s wife, Terri, is a leader with the Cannon Falls Education Foundation. Greg got involved with the Cannon Falls Rotary Club and the Goodhue Habitat for Humanity board, among others.

Greg said he never really had a strategy to come back to Winona, but the chips fell in place last year when he was chosen to replace Rod Nelson as bank president. It wasn’t an easy decision after seven years of building a home and community connections, and Greg said he initially thought Cannon Falls might be the last stop in his career path.

“But we saw an opportunity to come home and be close to family,” Greg said. “It’s just an extraordinary opportunity.”

The transition to Winona is smoothing out, as Greg bounced between the two cities as he looked for his replacement for Cannon Falls. His family is still working on selling the old house and getting one in Winona, but in the meantime has moved from a hotel room to apartments near East Lake Winona, which he appreciates for the beautiful view and quick access to the running path.

Evans said the transition won’t really sink in until after he’s unpacked and settled in, but he said one thing didn’t require a transition — falling back in love with his hometown. The Winona community and its beauty is a tremendous draw, and he’s glad to be back, he said.

“A lot of people leave Winona and chose to come back,” he said. “It says so much of the caring nature of this community.”

While Greg and Gary were never strangers during his time in Cannon Falls, the elder Evans is glad to have his son back in town. He’s proud of all his son has accomplished, and said he knows Greg has a deep love for Winona and that commitment to the community and its people shows in his endeavors.

“He sees the good in others and firmly believes you can’t accomplish things in a vacuum,” Gary said. “It’s a wonderful thing when parents can be proud of their children.”

 

 Story by . Reprinted with permission from Winona Daily News.

Randy Domeyer Promoted

Randy Domeyer

Randy Domeyer

Randy Domeyer will succeed Dave Grewe as Manager for the Business Banking Department in Winona and as Senior Lending Officer for the Winona Region, according to Merchants Bank President & Chief Banking Officer Greg Evans.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Randy’s experience poised to carry on the commitment to excellence that Dave has demonstrated in that capacity for the past several years,” Evans said.

Domeyer joined Merchants in 2008, returning to Winona. Domeyer spent the first 20 years of his banking career with Norwest Bank and then Wells Fargo. He left in 2000 to become the President of Wells Fargo in Blue Earth and later transferred to become Wells Fargo’s Business Banking Manager in Faribault.  From 2005-2008, Domeyer was Chief Credit Officer for Roundbank in Waseca.

Grewe has led the Business Banking Department for the past five years. He has been with Merchants two times, first from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, and then again beginning in 2002. He has also worked in the La Crosse market with First Bank and State Bank.

Both Domeyer and Grewe have been exceptionally active in community activities. Domeyer is actively involved in the Winona Rotary Club, Winona County Chapter for the American Red Cross, and the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee. Grewe has been a member of the Winona Chamber of Commerce, a Chamber Ambassador, a long-time member of the Winona Jaycees, and a past Winter Carnival Chairman. He has been very involved in Steamboat Days, serving as President in 2006. Currently he is president of Westfield Golf Club and serves on both the Latsch Board and CEDA (Community Economic Development Association) Board.

Grewe, who will retire June 30, has already started transitioning his management responsibilities for oversight of the lending functions to Domeyer. Grewe will also work with members of the business banking team in Winona to make sure the needs of all customers are met.

Deb Kemp Promoted

Deb Kemp

Deb Kemp

Deb Kemp has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Credit Card Manager at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Hovell, Senior Vice President/ Director of Sales and Marketing.

Kemp oversees Merchants Bank’s successful credit card and merchant processing area, which has grown substantially under her leadership, including about 10 percent per year over the past four years. Most recently, Kemp’s area doubled the amount of balance transfers acquired during its most recent balance transfer campaign. Additionally, the merchant processing part of her department, which helps businesses process credit card transactions, has grown significantly.

“The work Deb and her department have accomplished over the past few years has been significant in helping Merchants grow across all of our locations,” Hovell said. “She works with many employees across our organization, and I join them in congratulating her.”

Kemp has been with Merchants since 1992 and has been a part of the credit card department since 2001.

Massett Named Merchants Bank Regional President for Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton

Dan Massett

Dan Massett

Red Wing financial leader Dan Massett has been named the new Regional President for Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton, according to Merchants Bank President and Chief Banking Officer Greg Evans. Massett started his new position April 2.

“We’re excited to expand the depth of our leadership team with somebody who has significant familiarity with the markets of this important region and strong leadership experience,” Evans said.

Massett comes to Merchants Bank from Associated Bank in Red Wing, where he has been Community Bank President and had Regional Team Leadership responsibility for Business Banking with Associated, including oversight of markets in western Wisconsin, part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester.

“Working with the leadership group, they gave me the feeling that Merchants is a strong community bank, and that’s where I feel I belong,” Massett said. “With nearly 25 years in banking, I bring a variety of banking experience to the table. My goal is to add value to every experience I have with customers.”

Massett grew up in Red Wing, graduating from Red Wing High School in 1987. He earned a degree in Organizational Management from Gustavus Adolphus College and began his banking career as a Business Banker with Norwest Bank in 1991, working with the organization as it transitioned to Wells Fargo. In 1998 he moved back to Red Wing to work for the Jones family at Goodhue County National Bank, which became Signal Bank. He has been with that Bank in Red Wing through the transition to Associated and until now.

Massett is committed to community banking and providing community leadership. Dan currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Jones Family Foundation, the Red Wing YMCA (Treasurer) and the Every Hand Joined Partner Table, a collective impact/community-wide initiative to enhance educational outcomes in Red Wing. He is a past Board member for the Red Wing Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Economic Development, the Red Wing Chamber of Commerce, and the Red Wing Port Authority. He has been active in the Red Wing Athletic Association and the United Way for Goodhue/Wabasha/Pierce Counties.

Massett will have offices in both Cannon Falls and Red Wing. Evans has been Merchants Bank’s President and Chief Banking Officer for all 21 locations since January 1. He had also continued his role as Regional President for Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton until Massett’s hiring.

Terry Hawkings Named Volunteer of the Month

Terry Hawkings serves on the Great River Shakespeare Festival and volunteers for multiple organizations. The Merchants Bank employee co-chaired the bank's 25th annual 10 Days of Giving campaign last year.

Terry Hawkings serves on the Great River Shakespeare Festival and volunteers for multiple organizations. The Merchants Bank employee co-chaired the bank’s 25th annual 10 Days of Giving campaign last year. Photo credit: Andrew Link, Winona Daily News

Terry Hawkings is looking out for Winona.

A Winona resident for nearly 20 years, Hawkings, 52, has spent the better part of her time volunteering for Winona events, including the Great River Shakespeare Festival and Merchants Bank’s annual 10 Days of Giving food drive during the holiday season.

The Merchants employee volunteers in the community because she wants to help make Winona an appealing travel destination, she said. Like her fellow Volunteer of the Month nominees, she simply found things in the community she was passionate about and stepped up to donate her time.

“If it’s good for Winona, then it’s good for my employer and it’s good for me,” Hawkings said.

Hawkings, who journeyed to Winona from California 20 years ago, calls Merchants her catalyst to volunteerism. It’s the bank’s core values that prompted Hawkings to get involved in the community ever since she got here, she said.

Hawkings generally lends her time as a coordinator or board member, but also looks for ways to step into one-time events and help with whatever’s needed, like at Trinona or Live at the Levee. It doesn’t matter where in an organization you serve, she said — only that you do.

“You don’t have to take on a leadership role to be useful,” Hawkings said. “Just participate.”

For Shakespeare, Hawkings works as a volunteer coordinator. She also served as the co-chair for the 10 Days of Giving event last year when it celebrated its 25th anniversary. She’s the president-elect of Winona’s Exchange Club and is the treasurer of the Live at the Levee committee — among other initiatives.

So, why does she take on all the extra commitments?

“Just to feel like I belong,” Hawkings said. “Walking down the street and knowing people. But I’m passionate about the economic value, specifically for GRSF.”

Hawkings believes Winona can be a template for a small-town tourist destination, and is headed in the right direction. Her focus now is helping to revitalize downtown.

“If we can improve our downtown, we can improve as a destination,” Hawkings said.

She wants to help groom the area to be the hub for the art enthusiast, the outdoorsy-type and those just passing through. Hawkings isn’t the first one to notice Winona’s need for changes downtown. With programs such as the Winona Main Street Program, the community is taking steps to revitalize the area.

That, and Live at the Levee, which has held multiple community music and arts events downtown over the last year.

“I meet so many different people,” Hawkings said. “We reach a different population of people in Winona.”

Even with a bustling schedule, Hawkings doesn’t plan to slow down. She’ll often work with her husband, but she admitted he’s one of the doers while she’s a planner.

“We have this little joke that I’m the volunteer and he’s the volun-told,” Hawkings said with a laugh.

 

 Story by Andrew Sroka. Reprinted with permission from Winona Daily News.

Matthew Schuldt Named President at Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove

SchuldtMatt

Matt Schuldt

CALEDONIA/SPRING GROVE, Minn. – Caledonia native Matthew Schuldt has been appointed Market President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove, according to Merchants Bank’s Southern Region President Jay Friedl.

Schuldt served as Interim President of First Community Bank in Lester Prairie, Minn., and also worked in other roles at the bank, including Vice President of Lending, working with consumer, agriculture and commercial lending customers.

“Matt’s experience will serve our Caledonia and Spring Grove customers very well as he helps them find the solution that is best for their individual needs,” Friedl said.

In addition to his experience at First Community Bank, Schuldt also spent eight years working with Eide Bailly, a public accounting and business advisory firm. He also volunteers as a youth wrestling coach.

“I’m excited to be a part of an organization so well thought of by community bankers throughout the state. Certainly, Merchants has the resources that make it possible to finance almost any sort of loan, but the strength of the organization is how it treats each customer like that person is the Bank’s only customer,” Schuldt said.

Schuldt started his new position in Caledonia and Spring Grove on February 24.

Jeff Zwiefelhofer Joins Merchants Bank as a Business Lender

ZwiefelhoferJeff

Jeff Zwiefelhofer

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. –Jeff Zwiefelhofer has joined Merchants Bank as an Assistant Vice President and Commercial Banker, according to Merchants Bank’s Eau Claire Market President Mark Willer.

Zwiefelhofer has been a business lender at Alliance Bank since 2009. He has worked as a community banker since 1983. Most of that time has been spent in the Chippewa Valley. Merchants Bank acquired Alliance Bank’s Mall Drive location February 14.

“Jeff is very well known in this area. That will be a benefit for Merchants as we build our brand in the Chippewa Valley. More so, it will be a benefit for Jeff’s customers as they build a relationship with a bank that has the resources to be a strong financial partner.” Willer said.

Zwiefelhofer has been an active community member. He is currently Treasurer of the Hastings Way Business Association, and a former Board Member of the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation and Chippewa County American Red Cross. He’s also a former Treasurer of the Chippewa Falls Jaycees, and a former member of the Chippewa Falls Main Street Marketing Committee, and the Woodville Lion’s Club.

“I look forward to sharing all that Merchants Bank has to offer. The people I know will be impressed by Merchants’ commitment to community banking and the resources that I will have available to me,” Zwiefelhofer said.