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The 2017 Coleman Emerging Leader Awards for Small Business Lending Professionals

October 5, 2017

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

The 2017 Coleman Emerging Leader Awards for Small Business Lending Professionals

Jessica Gassmann, SBA Lead Loan Processor, Fidelity Bank, Georgia
Jessica has long exemplified a level of commitment to SBA lending that can serve as a model for others. She began her career as a commercial loan processor/closer and began her SBA lending career in 2008 when she joined Fidelity Bank. In her role as a loan processor, she quickly learned the SBA and USDA programs requirements and became responsible for managing the closing process for one of the department’s largest loan producers. Very
quickly, Jessica earned the trust and respect of her colleagues and her closing responsibilities naturally continued to grow.

During the past 24 months, Jessica was presented with a number of challenges and growth with her promotion to SBA Lead Processor (closing manager). In this role, she became responsible for building, training and developing the closing team. Prior to these new responsibilities, Jessica had never managed employees. She had to adjust to a new environment, new pressures, and significant changes in the department personnel. Immediately, she embraced her new role and jumped in to help train and was a crucial resource for existing and new colleagues. She was critical in the transition of the department with a new department leader, a new landscape, and a renewed commitment to provide the best customer service. As a manager, she has made sure she has the best people working for her and has ensured they have the tools to succeed.

In speaking with Jessica’s current and former colleagues, all say that she is exceptional and relish any opportunity to work with her. She is highly respected in our organization and within the broader SBA lending community. This is due to her demonstrated leadership centered on service. So much of her contribution to our organization is her willingness to put the Bank, her customers, and colleagues before herself. Whether it is supporting a newly hired colleague, being a contributing member of the management team, of taking over in a pinch, Jessica has put others first.
Claire Huse, Vice President, Fidelity Bank

John Hand, First Vice President, Independent Community Bankers Association, Washington DC
John Hand is First Vice President of congressional relations for the Independent Community Bankers of America. He advocates on a portfolio of issues and is responsible for directing ICBA’s tax and small business efforts before the U.S. Congress.

Ashley Horner, Vice President & SBA Program Administrator, Summit Bank, Oregon
If you could look up a definition for “Top Young Professional of SBA Lending” in the Oxford Dictionary, you would be able to find Ashley Horner’s picture right next to the description.

Ashley single-handedly established the SBA Division of Summit Bank in April of 2014. She has grown it to become the number one community bank SBA lender in Oregon year-over-year since the establishment of the Division.

Her program’s numbers speak for themselves. She grew the Portfolio from $1 million to more than $24 million as of June 30, 2017. The portfolio includes 62 SBA 7a loans, which help small businesses promote and strengthen the overall economy through financial assistance and providing counsel to help people start and grow their businesses.

Ashley came to Summit as a credit analyst in October of 2007. Her role quickly evolved into that of Portfolio Manager, where she managed her clients as well as Ann Marie Mehlum’s client (the CEO of Summit Bank at the time), who went on to a career as the Chief of the SBA’s Office of Capital Access in Washington D.C. under the Obama Administration. After a brief stint working for another company, Ashley returned to Summit in 2014 to create the SBA program. At inception, she did everything on her own to kick off the program from writing forms and procedures to developing loan policy to business development and outreach in the community.

Ashley’s mantra is “if you do right, good things come back to you.” This attitude persists in her volunteer life as well. In addition to teaching Continuing Education classes for professionals, Ashley is a year-long volunteer at O’Hara Catholic School, where her son attends first grade. She is the current Finance Chair on the Board of Directors at the School and is the Jog-a-Thon chair this fall, which is the second largest fundraiser for the school, annually.
Jenny Bennett, Vice President, Summit Bank

Paul Long, Vice President, Timberland Bank, Washington
Paul has a true passion for Small Business Banking/Lending. Two years ago Paul created the South Sound Small Business Summit during National Small Business Week, an annual “ted talk style” education Summit to assist local small business owners in the community hear from other successful owners, speakers and leaders about topics such as access to capital, business marketing etc. In May 2017, attendance was over 100 small business owners. Paul not only is a speaker at this event, but speaks to countless of the organizations, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations about Small Business Lending, SBA Loans and getting the capital needed to Main Street.
Robert Drugge, Executive Vice President, Timberland Bank

Jon Main, Director of Loan Operations, HCDC, Ohio
In just under four years with HCDC’s Lending Team, Jon has ascended to a leadership role. Promoted earlier in 2017 from Lending Specialist to Director of Loan Operations, Jon has progressed from production support and business development to a team leader role in which he oversees a $125 million portfolio, monitors loan volume production, and acts as the primary liaison with the Small Business Administration regarding HCDC’s 504 Loan Program.

Jon recently coordinated HCDC’s first on-site SMART Review (OCRM) in seven years, and is tasked with ensuring HCDC’s compliance with the SBA’s Rules and Standard Operating Procedures. Follow-up and follow-through is the name of Jon’s game as he follows up with loan officers on not only current loans going through the SBA loan process, but on potential borrowers and leads derived from marketing efforts.

Jon utilizes his previous experience in sales with Vantiv and Panini North America, as well as his experience in the insurance industry, to assist fellow HCDC Lending Team employees in acquiring borrowers and packaging loans to send to the SBA. Jon’s guidance helps HCDC submit loans that will be approved efficiently, reducing loan processing time and opening up the ability to produce a higher loan volume for HCDC.
Kacey King Redmond, Marketing Director HCDC

James Matteson, Commercial Loan Officer, First American Bank, Illinois
James has been involved in SBA lending in our bank for the last two years. He pays extreme attention to detail, and has now learned every aspect of SBA lending. He is also starting to develop his own portfolio of SBA loans in addition to reviewing and processing new loans. He has a strong future ahead of him as an SBA lender.
Alan Lane-Murcia, President & CEO, First American Bank

Neal Patel, President, Reliant Business Valuation, New Jersey
Hands down, Neal is the best in his field. His willingness to always go the extra mile to help lenders makes working with him an easy choice. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Neal for a handful a years, but I’ve known of him for years prior, as his reputation within the SBA community proceeds him, always in a positive way.

In my former role at a community bank, Neal was my first choice any time a business or equipment valuation was needed. I knew I could trust his work. Now with my role at an LSP, I have the pleasure of ‘sharing’ Neal with each of our lending partners, all of whom have been pleased with the work and service Neal has provided to them. Neal is definitely a shining star within SBA lending.
Jen Houck, Capital Growth Solutions

Sherwin Patidar, Senior Vice President, First Colorado Bank, Illinois
He is always going above and beyond with his career, his family and friends. Involving himself in charity work is what he does! — Charlotte Alms

Sherwin goes out of his way to support his local borrowers. By attending their grand openings, encouraging friends and family to support his borrowers, he always does what he can to promote their business. He makes himself available which really helps cultivate long standing relationships in the community. — Jill Marcinkoski, Total Front Page

Sherwin is an exemplary member of the SBA industry and is truly passionate about what he does. — Divya Asher

Sherwin is an expert at SBA lending is a creative problem solver. He takes great pride in servicing his clients and making a positive impact in the SBA industry. He goes above and beyond (daily) and is a huge asset to his team. — Michell Marcinkoski, DHR International

Adam Seery, Managing Director/Chief Origination Officer, Harvest Commercial Real Estate Finance, California
One of the top SBA bankers in California — hands down. Treats everyone with respect, knows the SBA product very well, does not over promise and works directly to help small business obtain CRE loans. He is on multiple boards with an emphasis on charities that support Marines in the San Diego market.

Stella Zhang, Chief Operating Officer, American Lending Center, California
Stella Zhang is COO of American Lending Center, one of the largest non-bank lenders specializing in SBA 504 first loans. In the past seven years, ALC has created an unique model raising over $250 million dollars from foreign investors to fund approximately 80 small business loans in the US. Along the way these projects have successfully generated over 5,000 full time jobs in 14 different states. This business has made huge impact not only in small business lending but also in foreign direct investment. Their practice has paved roads for community and regional economic development.
Bruce Thompson, President, American Lending Center

More 2017 Coleman Small Business Lending Winners to be Announced Soon!

  • Coleman 2017 Main Street Lenders of the Year — Mon, October 9
  • Coleman 2017 SBA 504 Lenders of the Year — Tue, October 10
  • Coleman 2017 Mission-Based Small Business Lenders of the Year — Wed, October 11
  • Coleman 2017 Rural Small Business Lenders of the Year — Mon, October 16
  • Coleman 2017 SBA 7(a) Lenders of the Year — Tue, October 17
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