Blog   Community

Meet the Veterans: Gregory Coopwood

Posted by

UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB. Be sure to check out the other profiles in our series.

Q&A with Gregory Coopwood, Paralegal Specialist, United States ArmyGregory Coopwood UMB

Continue Reading

Tell us about yourself
I’m originally from Woodbridge, Va., which is about 25 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. I attended and played football at Missouri State University. My journey is a little bit interesting because I applied for college and talked with the football coaches at Missouri State while I was deployed in Iraq. It’s amazing how supportive some people are in helping others achieve their goals. I have three sisters, Emily, Kimberly and Olivia, so growing up being the only boy has had its challenges with what to watch on TV!
Gregory Coopwood Missouri State University football
What about your past shaped who you are today?
I had a great upbringing by both of my parents. My father passed away in January 2014, but the values and character he nurtured in me have molded who I am as a man. Also, the fact that my family was so involved with sports in and out of school really improved my self-awareness and confidence.

My dad made the biggest difference in my life. Being the only boy, he made sure that he and I had a strong relationship. My best childhood memories are of my dad waking me up at 4 a.m. to take me to work with him. It was those truck rides where he talked to me about manhood, preparing for a family, values and character. One of the biggest things he taught me was how important it is to have communication in relationships. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it had not been for such a strong man in my life. 

Why did you join the military?
I chose to join the military because I wanted to make a difference. My mindset was “I’m doing this because I want my future family to continue to be free.” It was a contribution that I desired to give and be a part of.

Give us some highlights about your military career.
Gregory Coopwood United States Army
I was part of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and “Operation New Dawn,” so I was able to see the transition of an 11-year operation ending and a new one beginning.

My favorite moment was sitting in a plane on the way home after my deployment to Iraq. I kept thinking to myself, “I made it, I kept my promise…I made it”. When I walked into the pick-up area, I saw my family there waiting for me. I’ve never felt so proud but so weak at the same time before, because when I finally saw my family, I knew that I really made it through.

What are the greatest challenges that someone leaving the military and entering a new career faces?
A great challenge is having patience because people don’t understand the mindset a soldier has. A lot of people interpret a soldier’s discipline in certain areas as communication gaps. The maturity is different, and nothing will bother a soldier more than being late to something.

What are your favorite ways to give back in the community?
I’ve recently joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City, and I look forward to being a mentor and being there for someone who needs a big brother. A lot of people complain about how the world is changing and speak negatively. My question to those people is simply, “What are you doing about it?” More than likely, the people complaining are not volunteering or applying themselves to make a difference. So I don’t talk about making a difference that often, but I like to go out and do it.

Where is your favorite place to travel?
My favorite place to travel will always be to the east coast. That’s where my entire family is, and that is where I was raised. It’s always a great feeling to go home and drive on the road you’ve traveled hundreds of time and reminisce about the past. Something that I always look forward to eating is my mom’s well-known potato salad. It’s something that can make a bad day great.

What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
As of right now I don’t know the city that well, but I am learning. Weekends are spent for the most part working out and relaxing. I have a nice 55-inch TV that is neglected throughout the week, so I try to spend some time with it when I can. My hobbies are anything that deals with sports and fitness, and if food is a hobby then food as well. 

How did you come to be at UMB? What made you want to work here? Rebecca Christie, Vice President/Talent Acquisition Specialist, and Ryan Gardner, Fraud Risk Manager, are the reasons why I am at UMB. Originally I was going to be a federal investigator; however, Rebecca stopped me at a career fair at Missouri State University. She saw my résumé and explained to me about the UMB Emerging Leaders Program. She then connected me with Ryan, who is also a veteran. The two of them completely sold me on the culture that I had to experience it for myself. When I came to Kansas City for my interviews, the first thing I noticed was the Diversity and Inclusion trophies. I was continuously greeted and welcomed in a loving way, making me feel like family before I even had an interview. Thankfully, I was accepted, and here I am. The culture at UMB is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I am privileged to be a part of this organization.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Gregory Coopwood is an Emerging Leader Associate for UMB. He joined UMB in June 2015.



Leave a Comment

Tagged: ,

Meet the Veterans: Belinda Clapp

Posted by

UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB. Be sure to check out the other profiles in our series.

Q&A with Belinda Clapp-SSGT United States Air Force Reserves
Belinda Clapp - United States Air Force Reserves

Continue Reading

Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Kansas City, and later Grandview, Mo., when I was a teenager. My first job was as a server at Ponderosa in Truman Corners and then McDonald’s.  I am also a proud member of my church’s praise dance team. Family and the love of family is most important to me, and I believe learning new things is key to life and not avoiding boredom.

Tell us about your family
I’m happily married to a wonderful man I met in basic training in Biloxi, Miss, in 1981. We lost touch with each other for at least 25 years until technology led him to search for me. He found me in 2004 and we were married in 2008. We have a blended family; I have four children, and he has five. We are very proud parents of each and every one. I have eight grandkids and one on the way. I have six brothers and sisters, 12 nieces and nephews and 10 great nieces and nephews.
Belinda Clapp familyAnd to make things interesting during baseball and football season, we have a house divided. My husband is from Baltimore, so that means we have issues (especially the loser) when our teams play each other!
Ravens FanChiefs

Why did you join the military?
I chose the military because I was slightly rebellious at the ripe age of 18 and wanted to make this decision on my own instead of having my parents tell me what to do. I hoped they would be proud of me. Also, I participated in the Buddy Program where I got to attend Basic Training with a friend. My other motivation was to cross train for other jobs after my Reserve Duty.

My uncle was a Colonel in the Air Force and working in the Pentagon as an engineer. My admiration for him influenced some of the decisions I had to make about going full time. I felt joining the military would be a life-long experience.

What are some highlights from your time in the Air Force?
Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio was amazing. I will never forget my time there—getting up at 5 a.m., eating breakfast in a hurry, getting yelled at by a training instructor for laughing in ranks, my one mile run in order to pass the physical part of our training, my duties of sweeping the stairs in the barracks and the dust giving me a bad cough, wearing military cat glasses because you couldn’t wear your own, marching everywhere, all kinds of weather…this list could go on even longer.

When I got home after training at my Tech School in Biloxi as administrative support staff personnel, I worked with the commander for my unit at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in Belton, Mo. –the 442nd Tactical Airlift Wing which has now changed to the 442nd Fighter Wing and moved to Whiteman Air Force Base.

During my six-year career as administrative support, part of my duties were to type up everyone’s orders to travel to other bases when it came time for our two-week duty each year. I was able to fly on one of our C-130 Airlift Planes which can be used also as a Medevac plane for patients.

What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
Roller skating is a family tradition—all my children were taught how to skate at the age of two and that now carries on to the grandkids. I also enjoy reading, spending time with my husband, finding something new to do in Kansas City and participating in social and church functions.

Where do you like to travel?
Right now it is Baltimore, Md.  It’s my favorite because I still haven’t seen everything. I’m still excited every time I get a chance to go back.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.




Leave a Comment

Tagged: ,

World Kindness Day

Posted by

Pack a lunch this week and use your savings to help a neighbor in need. Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate World Kindness Day.ideas for giving back

Continue Reading

UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



Leave a Comment

reStart, Inc. supports veterans

Posted by

Veterans Day – Only in America

We live in the greatest country on the planet. Why? Because we were founded by strong-willed dreamers who were tired of persecution and being told by decree that they had to stay in the class they were born into for the rest of their days.

The U.S. was founded on the principals of freedom, opportunity and the rights of individuals. And over the years, these values and principals have been hard fought, more so than most of us can truly understand or comprehend. Many of us don’t know or don’t reflect enough on just how lucky we are and how sacred these values are to our core. Over the years, much blood, sweat and tears have been shed to protect this great land of ours.

And for those reasons and so many more, we salute the very people — our veterans — who risk the most and understand at the deepest level just how great the country really is and what it takes to keep it this way for the rest of us dreamers.

So tomorrow, Veterans Day 2015, is for you — our veterans and military families — dream keepers and flag bearers of this great nation.

We salute you.

Mariner Kemper

 

reStart Kansas City

UMB strives to honor veterans every day, but November 11 is the day that our country sets aside to recognize the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom. We’re particularly excited about the work that an organization in Kansas City is doing right now. reStart was one of the 2015 UMB Big Bash beneficiaries, using the funds for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. UMB’s Veterans Engagement Taskforce (VET) is also involved with reStart’s veteran mentorship program.

Continue Reading

 

“One of the biggest helps they were able to give me has been a mentor, and it’s been through their help that I’ve been able to have a better life today and a brighter future for tomorrow.”

Below, read more from one of the mentors, James Carlile, who is a financial analyst at UMB and also a veteran. He shares what compelled him to become a mentor and the results he’s seen from the program.

At one of our VET meetings, Robin Johnson, head of reStart’s SSVF, mentioned that she had several veteran clients in her program that were really wanting to turn the corner and make a sustainable transition away from the homelessness cycle and into self stability. What they needed, and what reStart’s limited staffing and resources could not always provide, was personal encouragement. Our VET group jumped all over this and began to work on a plan in which our additional contribution would be the love, guidance and support of UMB veteran associates.

Robert Durham - veteran and reStart clientI really had little idea what to expect when I initially met with Robert Durham. All I knew was that he wanted and needed someone who would take the time to listen, help him think through his issues and concerns, and offer encouragement and motivation in the face of very real and very persistent adversity. I could tell he genuinely wanted to improve himself, and he didn’t have anyone else to help him with a strategy on doing so. I was fortunate in my transition from the military to have a loving and supportive family that was there for me unconditionally through some very choppy times. Robert did not have that family support, and although I knew I could not solve his issues for him, I could provide him a level of consistency, positivity and encouragement.

Robert and I meet every six weeks at his subsidized one room efficiency apartment. We eat sandwiches, and talk intensely about how he is feeling, what he is working on, the status of his distant relationships with his family, and keeping him focused on his goals. I’ve learned just how difficult it is for those caught in the crisis cycle to make that change, even when the will is present and pure. Even though we do spend ample time discussing basic professional and life skills, our primary goal together is deliberate emotional support. Robert is currently working on his insurance licensing through the financial support of reStart. His ultimate goal through the vehicle of self sustainability is to mend his fractured relationship with his children and to be the father and example he knows he should be. My role in this is nothing compared to what Robert will have to overcome to get there, but whatever bit of guidance or encouragement I can impart on him I consider a humbling privilege when it impacts the outcome of his quality of life.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



Leave a Comment

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Meet the Veterans: Bert Oster

Posted by

UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB. Be sure to check out the other profiles in our series.
Bert Oster_kitchen

Continue Reading

Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a very small town in North Dakota. My first real job was at 13 picking rock for a local farmer. The job is exactly what it sounds like, pick up large rocks laying on the ground, put them in the front end loader and dump them on the edge of the field. It makes for a long day. When I got a bit older, the farmer I worked for gave me more responsibilities such as operating the machinery to plant and harvest the various crops, which was still very hard work. During my high school summers, I would actually live on the farm.

I’m married to Heidi, a transplanted Minneapolis girl. We currently live in Phoenix with our senior German Shepherd dog and one cat—both rescues.

What about your past shaped who you are today?
I think growing up in a small rural community helped me develop an appreciation for hard work. Most farmers develop a very strong work ethic. The hours are long, and most of the time, their success or failure is determined by outside forces that can’t be controlled, mainly weather. North Dakota is dryland farming; there are very few fields that are irrigated, which means the crops grow only if it rains and rains at the right times.

Tell us about your family.
I have one older sister and two younger sisters. I was the only one of the four children to venture out of North Dakota. The three sisters all live within 20 miles of each other and have no desire to move. The main reason for me moving was career advancement, but weather was a factor too!  North Dakota is known for long winters. Most years, winter arrives in late October and stays until early May.

Why did you choose to join the military?
Bert Oster_United States Marine Corps
I’d like to say I joined the military to serve my country, which is partly true. The rest of the story is that in 1969, I was in my second year of college and like a lot of young men, I was lacking in discipline and direction. In my sophomore year, I became friends with a former Marine who was attending college on the GI Bill. I admired the way he handled himself. He was mature, confident and knew what he wanted to do with his life. When the school year ended, I went back to North Dakota to work for the summer with plans to continue my education in the fall. In June, I received disappointing grades. I remember thinking “this is not good.” Not good, because our country at that time had implemented the draft system to fill ranks of the military. All young men were considered eligible for the draft, although deferments were issued for those attending school like me.

The first national lottery was televised in December of 1969. I still remember sitting in front of the television as the lottery was held. My birthday was the 22nd number drawn which guaranteed I would be drafted once my school deferment ended. With this in mind, my poor grades and a total lack of direction, I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. I went to the recruiter’s office the middle of June, signed up for a two-year enlistment and left for boot camp on July 7, 1970.

Give us some highlights about your military career.
As I look back on my time in the military, I believe the two years I spent in the Marine Corps was, without a doubt, the single most important decision I ever made. It truly shaped my life. The military has a way of instilling a strong sense of discipline and purpose in your life. When I was discharged in July 1972, I had matured and was much better prepared for the next stage in my life. Upon discharge, I moved back to North Dakota and went back to college on the GI Bill. College for me this time was a different experience. I applied myself, achieved much better grades and even made the Dean’s list once. I graduated with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Criminal Justice.

What are the greatest challenges that someone leaving the military and entering a new career faces?
I believe the challenges someone leaving the military in 1972 are much different than today. My experience was, for the most part, positive. I adjusted well to civilian life; attending college was an experience I enjoyed and more importantly, helped me decide on a career path. Attending college after being discharged from the military was much different. I worked part time which resulted in establishing valuable business contacts within the community. These contacts ultimately led me to securing my first banking job when I graduated college.

How did you come to be at Meridian Bank, recently acquired by UMB? What made you want to work there?
One of my friends worked for Meridian Bank and asked if I would be interested in an opportunity with the bank. At first I was reluctant, but ultimately made the decision to come on board in January 2009.  Not a good time in Phoenix as we were in the middle of a serious real estate recession with no relief in sight. The first two and half years was devoted to dealing with challenging real estate loans. While the work was stressful and demanding, it was rewarding. The ownership was very supportive of our efforts, and in 2011 we achieved our goal of resolving our problem loans.

What are your favorite hobbies?
My favorite hobby is riding and restoring motorcycles. I’ve been an avid motorcyclist since I was 14. The past several years my riding time has diminished as I sold my newer road bike. To fill this void, I began restoring older vintage motorcycles in 2009. I find old BMWs (generally 1974 to 1978 model years) that have been out of service for an extended period of time or the previous owner took them apart and then lost interest in completing the restoration. At any given time, I will have one or two old BMWs sitting in the garage either in the process of dismantling or rebuilding. I consider the time I spend in the garage as therapeutic.

Over the past 20 years, I have taken numerous motorcycle trips in all of the western states. The summers in Phoenix are brutal, so the best way to beat the heat is get out of town. My favorite places to travel are in the mountains of Colorado, the coastline of California and Oregon and the high deserts of New Mexico.
Bert & Heidi OsterMy wife and I are dedicated pet owners. Our passion is German Shepherd Dogs. We’ve had four now; the last two have been senior rescues. Currently, we have a very large, old German Shepherd Dog named Czar and a younger, rescued cat named Toby. Czar has brought such a good feeling to our house. We rescued him from a shelter in San Diego in March 2014. He was originally abandoned in Mexico and then transported to the shelter in San Diego. He had a skin infection, an ear infection, an eye infection and had lost most of his hair on his legs and belly. My wife said, “He is a mess.” I agreed, but we decided he would be perfect for us! Rescuing a senior dog is not about the rescuers, it’s about the dogs and being able to give them a quality of life, for however long they are with us. The next weekend, we drove back to San Diego to get Czar, and he has been a member of our family since. His eye, ear and skin infections are under control, and he is a very active, healthy old dog. My wife and I still joke about her comment that “he is a mess.” We also are unsure if we rescued him or he rescued us. He is such a good dog.
motorcycles and German Shepherd - Bert Oster


Mr. Bert Oster is a Senior Vice President for UMB Arizona. He is responsible for Commericial Real Estate Loan Production. He joined UMB on May 29th, 2015 as part of the Meridian Bank acquisition. Bert has 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.



Leave a Comment

Tagged: ,

UMB associate inspires, gives back through Abilities group

Posted by

UMB recently created Business Resource Groups (BRG) for our associates to encourage engagement and add value to UMB businesses and talent practices. BRGs serve as a catalyst for innovative ideas focused on recruitment, retention, talent development, community and client connections.

Through BRGs, our associates are making significant impacts on UMB’s culture, promoting a work environment that values diversity and inclusion. The eight resource groups include Abilities, Asian American, Black/African American, Hispanic Latino, LGBTQIA, Millennials, VET and Women. Hopefully you saw our VET group showing off their push-up skills recently with the ACP Give Them 20 challenge in support of veterans. One of our associates, Jennifer Hertha, shares what the Abilities BRG has been up to this summer and why it has personal meaning for her.
Jennifer Hertha_Abilities UMB

Jennifer’s story

Have you ever encountered someone with a disability and instantly thought they would be unable to do something? I think we all have at some point or another. Even though I have a disability, I’ve caught myself thinking those kinds of things.

I would like to share a little bit about my story:

Continue Reading

I was born with a rare bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). Only 30,000–50,000 people in the United States have this disease. Some types are so mild that those individuals are still able to walk and live fairly “normal” lives. Then, there is a type that is so severe that it can cause a child to die shortly after birth. My type is in the middle of the severity—I’m 33 years old, and I’ve had more than 100 broken bones. Because of the numerous breaks I’ve had, I have used a wheelchair to get around since I was 10. Using a wheelchair can make things challenging, and sometimes make things feel almost impossible to accomplish. However, I was always taught if you really want something in life, you’ll find a way to make it happen. The same goes for my career.

More than eight years ago, I applied for a teller position at UMB Bank. I didn’t know if it was truly something I could do because every bank I’ve ever been in had high counters at their teller line. But, I thought I would at least apply and see what happened. To my surprise, I was brought in for interviews and eventually offered the position contingent on whether accommodations would be able to be made for me to do the job. The tricky part was identifying possible accommodations. The people who hired me met several times to review options. They discussed lowering a counter, which they decided wasn’t a good idea due to security reasons.  Another option they looked at was building a ramp behind the teller line; however, in order to get the ramp high enough and still meet ADA standards, there wasn’t enough room. Finally, the team discovered an electric wheelchair that would raise the seat up by 12 inches and purchased it for me. This purchase opened up the doors to start my career with UMB.  Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to advance in my career four times. Because UMB invested in me from day one, not knowing if I would still be with the company six months down the road, it has made me even more passionate and invested in working here. In my current role as a recruiter, I’ve had the opportunity to be a co-chair of our Abilities Business Resource Group.

As part of the Abilities BRG mission, we want to increase awareness of various disabilities and to challenge people to create an environment of acceptance. Recently, the group sponsored a Share-A-Bear campaign. We asked for donations of small stuffed animals (like Beanie Babies) and stickers to send to the Alle Shea Project; a project that has dedicated its time to raise awareness about OI and send care packages to children who have this bone disease.

This campaign was obviously near and dear to my heart. Most of my breaks occurred when I was under the age of 18. There were several times I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and a few times I had to undergo surgery for treatment of a broken bone. During a few of my experiences, I received stuffed animals which not only helped me to take some of the focus off of the pain, but also let me know that there were others out there that cared about what I was going through. I’ve kept some of those animals to this day because they were a significant piece in my recovery as a child.
Abilities UMB Beanie Babies driveThrough the generosity of UMB associates, the Abilities BRG collected more than 1,100 stuffed animals and 100 sheets of stickers! Many days felt like a celebration because I would come into my office and there would be another package of animals waiting to be opened. My office became so full that I had to strategically place boxes filled with stuffed animals so that I could maneuver my wheelchair around—a very welcomed challenge! The Abilities BRG and I are extremely grateful for their support in this campaign.

I hope that by sharing my story, it will encourage others to share experiences and to remind others that whether someone has a visible or invisible disability, we all bring something to the table. Those with a disability just might have to take a different path to get to the same end result.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.




Leave a Comment

Tagged: ,

Meet the Veterans: Stacey Huddleston

Posted by

UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB. Be sure to check out the other profiles in our series.

Q&A with Stacey Huddleston, United States Army 1994-1997 E4 SpecialistStacy Huddleston - UMB Bank

Tell us about yourself
I was born in East Moline, Ill. on a very small farm that my family rented near the Mississippi River along the Illinois/Iowa border of the Quad Cities. I learned the benefits of hard work, pride of ownership and dedication to service as soon as I was able to carry a bucket. My first car was a 1951 John Deere A-Style Row tractor.

Continue Reading

It took two years after high school to realize that I needed to make a change in my life, so I joined the U.S. Army in 1994 as a Forward Observer 13F. I exited the Army in 1997 and began my college career at Illinois State University where I earned degrees in Marketing and Economics in 2000.

My first job after college was a credit manager for a large financial institution. I was quickly promoted to branch sales manager and managed four offices and several associates until I left in 2009 to pursue an opportunity with a smaller community bank.  After a few years, I realized that I needed something in the middle and was blessed to have the opportunity to come to UMB in 2011. I love it here!

What about your past shaped who you are today?
Who I am today could be easily summed up with one word. Pride. I take great pride in everything I do.  From the day I was born, I was blessed with a name to be proud of.  My father, Tom Huddleston a retired forklift operator at John Deere Harvester, named me after his supervisor Stacey King. For several reasons, Stacey was the most respected man my father ever knew at the time, and took great pride in knowing that his son would carry the same name as his mentor.

As I grew up I watched my father go on strike every four years or get laid off during slow times, where he would take whatever job he needed to make ends meet.  My father wasn’t necessarily proud of where he worked, but he was extremely proud of the work he accomplished.  I watched my mother, Pam Huddleston, give unconditional positive support to my father during these hardships. She was always proud of my father no matter what the circumstances.

As early as I could remember I would spend entire weekends with my father walking several miles of country roads as we picked up aluminum cans to recycle for extra money for the family. (He’s 75 now and still collects aluminum cans for extra money). It was these times that I learned why we actually had a small farm where we raised hogs, chickens and rabbits. Our animals always seemed to provide for us when we needed it most.

My mother was our CEO/CFO/COO and warden!  She taught me to respect everyone around me, common courtesy and to take pride in myself.  She pushed me to always do better, and expected me to always be as happy as I can be.  My father expected me to simply make good choices and never tarnish the Huddleston name.  He told me that no matter what I ever did, be the very best at it. Take pride in everything you do, everything!

From these lessons I accomplished a few things that have brought me here to this point in my life.  I am the first on either side of my family to graduate high school, to step foot on a university campus, and to earn a college degree. I am the first banker in my family.

Tell us about your family.
Huddleston family at the Alamo
My parents Tom and Pam Huddleston live in Colona, Ill., only 2 miles from where I grew up. My father is retired from John Deere Harvester, doing the same job he was first hired to do.  Shortly after my father retired to spend more quality time with my mother at their home, my mother retired as the homemaker of the “Huddleston House” and has been making sandwiches at a  local restaurant ever since.

I am a proud father of two amazing young men, Brant, 15 and Mason, 14. Brant is finishing up his freshman year and will soon be driving. Mason is very much involved in drama where he’s taken several roles in school. We spend quite a bit of time together doing home projects where I teach them how to use power tools, read a tape measure and use their hands. We spend quite a bit of time outdoors hunting, hiking and taking pictures of the wildlife. I am grateful for the challenges and opportunities that have placed me where I am today.
Huddleston Boys
Why did you choose to join the military?
Two years after high school, I realized that I was on a path of self destruction and going nowhere. I met an Army veteran who mentored me, giving me the confidence to do something great. He also mentioned a free college education program that Illinois offered residents who came back to Illinois after their military service. I quickly found a recruiter and made a long-term plan for success. Within two weeks of meeting a recruiter, I took the entry test and joined the U.S. Army as a Forward Observer 13F with a plan to get back to Illinois as quickly as possible to start college. I never knew what a forward observer was when I joined, but I loved calling in artillery once I figured it out.

Give us some highlights about your military career.
I started off my basic and advanced training at Ft. Sill, Okla., where I heard the word “terrorism” for the first time on April 19, 1995, after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed while I was sitting outside our barracks that sunny day.

I spent the next year in the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Hovey, South Korea, where we were reorganized as the 2nd battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment “Manchus.” Our commander ordered us to march the traditional 50 mile Manchu road march along the mountainous hills near the DMZ of North Korea to show our force. The entire 2/9th Army nearly caused a conflict that day!

I was then stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wash., where my remaining time in the Army was spent conducting nonstop training in the 25th Infantry Division. My training took me to Ft. Polk, La., Yakima, Wash., and two stops at the National Training Center in California, all in a span of less than a year.  I exited the Army as a Specialist promotable in just less than three years of service to start my college career.

What are the greatest challenges that someone leaving the military and entering a new career faces?
Purpose!  One of the most difficult challenges for anyone leaving the military and adjusting to civilian life is trying to find their purpose.  I find myself talking to other veterans who have had a difficult time adjusting because they feel as if they should be back on the battlefield, or they have survivor’s guilt or they can’t seem to get that adrenaline rush back that had been forced on them for so long.  I believe it’s important that organizations like Warriors for Freedom help organize events and activities for our veterans so that they may feel connected with our community, network with other civilians and help them find their purpose.

I am excited to see UMB organize a Veterans Engagement Taskforce (VET) to give our veterans additional purpose. I believe our focus on veterans will help give them the purpose they need to transition into a new career and adjust from the military lifestyle.

I’m also thrilled to be a new mentor through the ACP program‡ and look forward to working with fellow veterans to help with their transition into civilian life.

What are your favorite ways to give back in the community?
I was raised with the old saying, “give anyone that needs help the clothes off your back without asking for anything in return.”  To this day I try to help everyone I can as much as possible.  I don’t wait for a special event, holiday or gathering to give.  When I see someone in need, I simply do whatever it takes to help them out. Sometimes it’s giving up my lunch or clothes to someone, fixing their home and even pulling trees from their yard.

I think many people believe they have to write a check, or put on a volunteer shirt to make a difference. It’s because of my upbringing and lack of money, where I can truly understand the needs of others and help them when I can.  I work very hard to instill these same values in my two boys, who two years ago helped me hand out Christmas presents to children and feed those who didn’t have a hot meal that day.

What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
I rarely sit still long enough to relax, so many of my weekends are spent with my boys hunting, hiking, fishing golfing or working on home projects. I recently purchased a fixer-upper house, and the boys love working with their hands and learning how to operate power tools.

How did you come to be at UMB? What made you want to work here?
I was contacted by a UMB recruiter to apply for the position of commercial business development officer. I had never heard of this position before and had very little information about it at the time. After doing quite a bit of research on UMB, its products and people; I found that there is a long lasting retention rate within the commercial team, and there are so many products and services to offer clients compared to what I was used to. I was sold on UMB once I realized that I was to simply call on the Oklahoma market by offering UMB products and sharing our story.

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 




Leave a Comment

Tagged: , , , , ,

Meet the Veterans: Lynda McWhirter

Posted by

UMB is fortunate to have several veterans on our team, and we’re proud to hire veterans in our local communities. This series highlights some of our associates who have served their country in the military prior to joining UMB. Be sure to check out the other profiles in our series.

Q&A with Lynda McWhirter, United States Army Sergeant

Tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in New Castle, Del., where I spent my first 17 years. I left for the military two weeks after my high school graduation.

What about your past shaped who you are today?
My parents started the foundation of shaping me (although I didn’t recognize it back then). I give a lot of credit to them for my morals and compassion. The military shaped me in my formative years to learn respect, drive, ambition, perseverance, work ethic and discipline. My children helped shape me emotionally, as those of us who have children know, there isn’t any other love like it.
Lynda McWhirter family

Continue Reading

Tell us about your family.
I have four children; three girls and a boy, the youngest being 19 this year. I met my husband Brian, in Kitzingen, Germany, where we were both stationed. All of my children currently live in the Kansas City area.
Lynda McWhirter_children

Why did you choose to join the military?
I listened to a career counselor in my senior year in high school who talked about the military. I initially wanted to join the Navy. However, there was a long waiting list at the time, and I couldn’t leave until the next year. While I was talking to the Navy, an Army recruiter stopped me and told me I could accomplish the same thing in the Army that I could in the Navy – and there wasn’t any waiting! So I joined on the Delayed Entry Program in March of my senior year and left in June. I wanted to travel and to go somewhere other than the boundaries of the tri-state area (Delaware/New Jersey/Pennsylvania).

What do you remember most about your military career?
I took Basic Training in Ft. McClellan, Ala., during the hottest time of the year! My first highlight was an incredible feeling of pride that I’d never felt before. It came when I was standing in dress uniform in military formation at graduation, and they passed by with the American flag, playing the National Anthem.
Lynda McWhirter - Army graduationI went on to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Maryland, for my Advanced Individual Training, then to Ft. Lewis, Wash., near Seattle, then on to Kitzingen, Germany.

What I remember best from my career is surviving basic training, firing the M16, throwing grenades, driving a tank, touring Germany and the endless number of friends I met along the way. I spent four years in the regular Army and two years in the Reserves at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, and was promoted to Sergeant along the way. My Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), or my job, was initially a small equipment repairman. I still find that job interesting. My secondary MOS was an administrative specialist. I did my first MOS for about six months and then spent the rest of my military career as an administrative specialist – like what Radar did on M.A.S.H.

What impact did the military have on you?
When I was in the military, we were the last women’s group to go through basic as WACs (Woman’s Army Corp) and we were still highly segregated from the men in infantry.  After my experience as a female in the military I remember wondering just what it was going to be like before I left for basic training, so I decided to write a book about it. I gathered some instances of what I remember some of my fellow female soldiers had gone through and some experiences of my own, intertwined them, and created the character Leslie. I took her on a journey from high school through military life in The Changing Winds of Destiny (pen name Anna Douglas).
The Changing Winds of Destiny by Anna Douglas
What are the greatest challenges that someone leaving the military and entering a new career faces?
One of the greatest challenges of the transition from military to civilian life is the emotional one. The feeling of security and belonging you feel in the military can seem to fade as you venture into the work world and corporate America. Because everyone is away from their families in the military and you don’t always go home to them every night, the people you are stationed with become your family. You depend on them for almost everything, including having your back in the direst of circumstances. When you enter the work world, the strong camaraderie might be there with other co-workers but not as strong as it was in the military. Sometimes that can be a hard transition to make. 

What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
I enjoy reading, writing and being outdoors, especially camping, boating, swimming, fishing, playing with my dogs or just working in the yard. In the winter, I like to snowmobile.

How did you come to be at UMB? What made you want to work here?
I was transitioning from another job and applied online. My daughter, who is in the banking world, talked to me about UMB and told me I should apply because she always heard that it was a great place to work.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mrs. Lynda McWhirter is a Payroll Supervisor for UMB Financial. She, along with a great manager and team, are responsible for making sure you get paid every two weeks! She joined UMB in January 2015 and has 20 years of experience in the payroll/financial services industry.



Leave a Comment

Tagged: ,

Our biggest UMB Big Bash® yet!

Posted by

Rob Thomas & Plain White T's, June 22, Kansas City, The Great Unknown tour

Plain White T’s kicked off the entertainment for the evening, followed by Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty fame.

Our 5th and biggest UMB Big Bash took place last week at Sprint Center. Thanks to our incredible sponsors and supporters like you, the UMB Big Bash Foundation donated $50,000 each to Literacy Kansas City and reStart, Inc.. Read more about how this year’s beneficiaries plan to use their grants.

Let’s revisit some highlights from the BIG event:

Continue Reading

Beneficiaries

Literacy Kansas City will launch a Career Online High School to help its higher-level readers earn a high school diploma. reStart, Inc., is working to permanently house and provide short-term financial assistance and supportive services to low-income veteran families in Wyandotte and Jackson counties.UMB Big Bash presents checks to reStart, Inc. and Literacy Kansas City

Top photo, pictured left to right giving and receiving the BIG checks are: Mike Hagedorn (President and CEO of UMB Bank), Mariner Kemper (chairman and CEO of UMB Financial Corporation and UMB Bank), Evelyn Craig (President and CEO, reStart, Inc.), Kevin Jamison (Outreach Specialist for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program) and Peter deSilva (President and COO of UMBFC)

Bottom photo, pictured left to right: Peter deSilva, Mike Hagedorn, Carrie Coogan (Executive Director and CEO, Literacy Kansas City), Mariner Kemper and Peggy Shannon (Literacy Kansas City program participant)

Silent Auction
2015 UMB Big Bash silent auction

VIP meet and greet with Rob Thomas
Rob Thomas 2015 "The Great Unknown" tour - Sprint Center

Be sure to post your own UMB Big Bash photos to the  Facebook page and tag yourself in our photos of YOU!

Sprint Center - UMB Big Bash 2015

Thanks for another great year!

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Kemper is the chairman and chief executive officer of UMB Financial Corporation and UMB Bank, n.a. He joined UMB in 1997. Mr. Kemper is active in both civic and philanthropic endeavors. One of the causes he is most passionate about is the arts. He currently serves as a trustee and executive committee member for the Denver Art Museum and is a past board member for The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.



Leave a Comment

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UMB Big Bash®beneficiaries are changing people’s lives

Posted by

Literacy Kansas City helped Peggy land her dream job
TSA employee learned to read with Literacy Kansas City

“I read my first book when I was 51.”

Peggy Shannon dreamed of being a TSA agent but when she applied for the job, she failed the first test because she couldn’t read and didn’t know how to use a computer. Before connecting with Literacy Kansas City, she read at a third-grade level. Her limited reading abilities severely limited her career options.

“I’ve been married twice and I never told either one of them I couldn’t read. I’ve hid it well. Because I couldn’t read, I just did my job that much better … always giving it 110 percent, always.”

She worked 12-hour shifts, six days a week in a hot factory. But she wanted to work with people and hoped to one day work at Kansas City International Airport.

Continue Reading

Literacy Kansas City helped Peggy land her dream jobShannon still gives 110 percent, but now at a job she loves. After months of lessons and computer classes at Literacy Kansas City, Shannon decided she was ready to try again. This time, she passed and after being on the job with Akal Security, Inc., a TSA contractor, for just six months, she was promoted to a lead.

“I wanted it really bad. I love the job because I like interacting with people. I have to make sure that when the passengers are coming through and when we’re really busy that everything moves smoothly and I have enough people on the line.”

Reading has impacted more than Shannon’s career; it’s improved her health and wellbeing. Shannon lost 40 pounds after reading a diet book.

“I’ve never read the backs of packages. It’s helped me so much. I’m a lot healthier than I’ve ever been.”

Shannon says her outlook on life has changed since she learned to read.

“Life is amazing. I wake up every day just thrilled to be alive and thank the Lord everyday that I can read and that I can go out and do the job that I love.”

__

Donald has a stable home thanks to reStart, Inc.

Donald has a stable home thanks to reStart, Inc.“I’m hoping I can be a part of changing things. If there is anything at all I can do, I’m more than happy to do it the way this program has helped me.”

Donald McCombs, an Army veteran, was homeless for two years. He and his significant other had to move three times because their landlords were not in compliance, one was even under foreclosure. They were forced to put their belongings in storage, and then lost everything. The couple was living in motels, and struggling to make ends meet.

“Towards the end of the month we had to get out and hustle … cutting yards to make money to pay for the rest of the month. There were times I was sleeping behind a gas station, or in the woods.”

One day, while she was at a food pantry, McComb’s girlfriend saw a brochure for reStart, Inc.’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. Within two weeks, they were in stable housing.

“It is remarkable the way it [reStart, Inc.] helps people and the way it’s helped me. Being homeless for two years and losing everything I had. And now, [I have] 100 percent less worries.”Donald's life was changed thanks to reStart, Inc.The couple now lives in an apartment, a large house that’s been converted into a four-plex. All of the tenants are veterans.

“I want to thank everyone that gives to this program. You all have helped make this happen. If it wasn’t for supporters like you … we wouldn’t have nothing. I’d probably still be homeless.”

 

Help Literacy Kansas City and reStart, Inc., continue to make meaningful impacts on the lives of people living in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Join us on Monday, June 22 for UMB Big Bash, when both of these local nonprofits will be awarded a $50,000 grant before Grammy® Award Winner Rob Thomas with special guest, Plain White T’s take the stage at Sprint Center.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 


Mr. Hagedorn is president and chief executive officer of UMB Bank and vice chairman of UMB Financial Corporation. Prior to this role, Hagedorn served as chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of UMB Financial Corporation. He joined UMB in March 2005.



Leave a Comment

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Page 2 of 512345