ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Q & A WITH BRUCE THOMPSON
Bruce Thompson (B.B.A. ’83) began working for National Bank of Commerce, the area’s largest locally owned, full-service community bank, the day he graduated. Starting as a loan officer trainee, he worked his way through different areas of the Bank, from consumer debt collection and consumer loan processing to mortgage lending, and, finally, commercial lending.
Today, he serves as president of Wisconsin banks for National Bank of Commerce, co-sponsor of the 2012 – 2013 LSBE distinguished speaker series.
What do you do during a typical workday?
I mentor, coach, and make decisions with commercial production staff, as well as interact with customers and further develop of customer relationships. I also work with the executive team to evaluate performance and conduct corporate planning and development.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
Playing a role in supporting entrepreneurial ventures.
What experiences at LSBE had the most impact on your career/life now?
LSBE provided a diverse introduction into the many facets of business. It also helped me recognize the importance of not only understanding the fundamentals of ethical and accountable business, but also of continuing to apply learning at every stage of your career and daily living.
What is your advice to recent graduates?
Be open-minded about getting started in the business world and refine your communication skills. I am often amazed at how many different ways there are to make a successful living in business, and the opportunities just continue to multiply. Be patient and read all you can about opportunities in your industry.
What are some of the fundamental qualities someone in economics or business should have?
Serving the interests of money is a given in the business world. Money has no conscience, but the interests of money should. Ethical conduct and fair dealing are a must. The interests of money have a funny way of creating all kinds of interpretations to justify actions that enhance returns. If you have to go to great lengths to justify your actions, something is probably not right.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Seeing our customers develop into solid, successful businesses that provide considerable employment opportunities and further develop our local economy. Working with so many talented staff on a daily basis is also highly rewarding.
Do you have words that you live by?
Persistence will prevail, and do unto others as you would want done unto you.
What does success mean to you?
Success means you have made a strong effort and played a recognizable role in furthering a cause. Our bank has grown from $80 million to $525 million in my 29 years. We are the largest independent community bank in the Duluth/Superior area and have earned our place through hard work, dedicated ownership, devoted staff, and a customer-centric approach to banking.
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