Sponsored by Elite Services
Chariman and CEO of First Community Bank
Dale Cole is the chairman and CEO of First Community Bank, a locally owned and managed financial institution that opened on Aug. 4, 1997, in Batesville and currently operates 27 full-service branches in Arkansas and Missouri.
Mr. Cole's career in banking began in 1974 with Texas Bank and Trust Company in Dallas. He then worked with First National Bank in Marshal, Texas, and became President of Banc Texas McKinney in McKinney, Texas in 1983. Mr. Cole and his family relocated to Arkansas in 1988 when he was named chairman and CEO of Worthen Banking Corporation in Batesville. Nearly ten years later he would join with 153 local investors to form First Community Bank.
First Community Bank opened for business at 710 St. Louis St. in Batesville with 14 employees and $3.5 million in capital. Today, it has grown to
480 employees and is proud to be the seventh largest bank chartered
Mr. Cole previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Barret School of Banking in Memphis, the Board of Visitors of the University of Arkansas Community College in Batesville, the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Foundation in Batesville, Lyon College Advisory Counsel, and the board of White River Medical Center and Future Fuel Chemical Company.
Mr. Cole and his wife, Gayle, have two children, but their pride and joy are their three grandchildren.
Regional director of bank operations for Arvest Bank
Don Gooch has worked for Arvest Bank since 2001, serving in several positions. He was hired to focus on development of the Consumer Loan Division through development of relationships with HVAC; Home Improvement and other dealers with a heavy emphasis on building loans through cross-selling; up-selling and down-selling.
He became consumer loan manager and drove the average size loan from $7,000 to $14,000 and the average monthly production from just under $1 million to over $3 million. In 2008, he became community bank president in Hot Springs. When he began, the market had $65 million in assets. Today, it has $590 million.
Gooch became regional director of community banks in 2019 and oversees markets in southwest Arkansas, Saline County, Conway and Morrilton, and northeast Arkansas.
CEO and chairman of the board for First Service Bank
After high school, Tom Grumbles left his hometown of Dermott with a plan to become an electrical engineer. He was going to enroll at Hendrix College for two years and then transfer to the University of Arkansas to finish his degree. He met a girl before he left Conway, though, and never made it to Fayetteville.
“I met my wife to be, Rita. She was a third generation Hendrix legacy and said she wasn’t going to transfer anywhere,” he said. “So, you know what happened. I had to find a profession, and it wasn’t going to be electrical engineering.”
The couple was married between their sophomore and junior years, and Grumbles switched his major to business and economics. He got a job at a Little Rock bank as an external and internal auditor, soon became assistant manager of the customer service department. When a loan officer position became available at the bank in Dermott, he took it and climbed the ranks to become its president and CEO. Under his leadership, the bank, which was founded in 1962, has grown to 10 branches in 9 towns in north and central Arkansas, with headquarters and corporate office in Faulkner County.
“In 1999, we changed our name to First Service Bank to reflect our vision on superior service,” Grumbles said. “We treat our customers like we would want to be treated if we were on the other side of the desk or counter.”
While Grumbles describes First Service as a homegrown bank, he says it has all the services and technologies of nationwide banks.
“Our technologies are second to none,” he said. “Our vision is to create customer experiences that exceed our expectations and exemplify our core values each and every day."
President of First Security Bank
John Rutledge graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2001 with a degree in Financial Management. He earned his MBA from the University of Arkansas in 2004.
Upon graduating from the University of Arkansas, John joined Crews & Associates in 2001. He began his career with the bank in Northwest Arkansas in 2004 and moved to the Central Arkansas market in 2007. He was named President of the Little Rock market in December of 2009.
John is the Board Chairman of Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. He serves as Chairman of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Commission. He is a Board Member of Fifty for the Future, as well as a Board Member of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. He and his family are members of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.
John, his wife, Melissa and their three children reside in Little Rock.
President, CEO and chairman of the board for First Arkansas Bank & Trust
Larry Wilson has worked 50 years at First Arkansas Bank & Trust and now serves as president, CEO and chairman of the board. During that time, the bank has undergone a few name changes and has grown to 22 locations throughout Arkansas.
Larry is an active community member, serving 27 years as a Jacksonville alderman, a former president and current executive committee member of the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council, director of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and as past president of the Jacksonville Rotary Club, among many other organizations.
Larry and his wife, Wendy, have three children and live in Jacksonville.
Moderator and online editor of Arkansas Business
Lance Turner has been with Arkansas Business Publishing Group since 1999 and has been online editor since 2000. He oversees content for ABPG websites, including ArkansasBusiness.com, where he oversees original reporting for the website and edits the Daily Report and Morning Roundup e-newsletters.
He appears regularly on Little Rock CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, providing business news reports on "Wake Up Central" and helping anchor election night political coverage. He's also been a panelist and guest host of Arkansas PBS' weekly public affairs program, "Arkansas Week."