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New Team Members Ensure Pilot Bank Keeps Soaring  

May 1, 2018

Pilot Bank’s associates are an integral component of the community bank’s continued success. Most recently, the bank brought Brad Abbey and Craig Simon onto its commercial lending team. The commercial bankers shared some details about their backgrounds and why they decided to soar with Pilot Bank.

Meet Brad

Brad Abbey, Pilot Bank’s Commercial Team Lead, is a Florida State University graduate (2005) who started out in real estate sales. “I discovered that the key to successful real estate investing was access to capital, primarily bank loans. I was drawn to banking and have been in commercial underwriting and lending since 2006—always with smaller, community banks. Brad’s last professional role was with Sunshine Bank. Given his desire to remain with a small, community bank, he explored his options when Sunshine Bank was bought by the larger CenterState. “I sought to rejoin a local community bank where I could make more of an impact with the organization and in the local marketplace,” Brad explained. Having previously worked with Pilot Bank’s CEO, Roy Hellwege, Brad welcomed the opportunity to help the bank grow and positively impact the community.

Brad is excited to marry his interest in real estate with his passion for positively impacting the bay area: “My role at Pilot Bank enables me to play a part in growing real estate development and business start-ups in the area. As community bankers, we see the direct impact of our time, effort, and financial investments,” articulated Brad. He and the entire Pilot Bank team thrive on positively contributing to the area’s ongoing development in a variety of sectors.

Brad knows that in order to understand the community’s needs he must be engaged with the community. Pilot supports his efforts to participate in Leadership Tampa Bay events as well as regularly attend various real estate and business networking events. “Not only has Pilot Bank been very supportive of these endeavors,” shared Brad, “but under our president Rita Lowman’s guidance, Pilot Bank demonstrates a commitment to philanthropy and routinely gives back through sponsorships and donations.” For Brad, and the entire Pilot Bank team, community extends beyond a classification of the type of bank they are—it’s an action demonstrated by how team members extend themselves throughout the community.

Having already enjoyed success in his career, Brad is confident he will experience success with Pilot Bank wile ensuring the bank and community do too. “Success is the peace of mind to know you did things the right way and that you gave every person and situation your best effort,” Brad noted. With his outlook and work ethic, success is sure to be a well-earned outcome.

Meet Craig

Craig Simon, who holds an MBA from the University of South Florida (2008), joins Pilot Bank as a commercial loan officer. His career started at Regions Bank, where he graduated from the Bank’s Management Associate Program. A selective program, it gave him the opportunity to experience all facets of banking and interact with the executive team. Eventually, he transitioned to Tampa and worked as a commercial loan officer for Sunshine Bank.

After the CenterState acquisition, Craig decided to explore other jobs and was most inspired by Pilot Bank’s story: “I like where the bank has been and can go,” he said. “It’s one of the true community banks in town.” The bank’s leadership weighed heavily on Craig’s decision to join the Pilot Bank team: “Rita’s leadership is astounding, and it speaks volumes of the bank’s culture.” For Craig, the choice to join Pilot was personal and professional, “The bank is closely aligned with my values and both what I’ve done and what I want to do in my career,” he expressed.

Craig welcomes the healthy mix of what he loves most about his role and those parts of it that continually challenge him: “Learning about and working with individuals from different industries is great. From aircraft loans to business acquisition loans, it’s rewarding to work with all of our clients and really make a difference. When I can save someone thousands of dollars a month, I feel really good about what we are doing at Pilot.” Craig works hard to earn customers for life and, sometimes, those relationships turn into friendships. The variety of industries his role positions him to work with is also part of what challenges him and motivates him to continue learning: “I work hard to understand the issues particular to clients’ industries and how I can help them achieve their goals within their unique environments. It’s a challenge that, when met, makes my efforts rewarding for both bank and customers.”

One doesn’t soar to where Craig has by chance. It takes hard work and he encourages college students interested in finance to focus on their studies. Though his daughter is only seven-months-old, he’s sure to share his wise words with her in due time: “When you find a career path you believe you’ll enjoy, immerse yourself in it—through organizations and internships—so that you can show that you’ll be successful because you’ve been successful before.”

Keep Soaring

Brad and Craig are a part of why it’s an exciting time at Pilot Bank. With great leadership and team members, the bank is positioned to grow in ways it hasn’t done before. Pilot Bank can make a difference and Pilot Bank can help the Tampa Bay community soar.




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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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