Meet Your Banker: Josh Palmer

Our lobbies may be closed but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we kick off our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Josh Palmer, the Branch Manager at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center of Pataskala.

Josh Palmer

Pataskala Branch Manager Josh Palmer

Josh came to work for the bank in 2015 when he was hired for the VCNB Management Trainee Program. This program gives college grads an intimate look at the bank and an overview of several important departments. “I met my wife at college and she had taken a job in Wellston so I was looking for work near her. I saw the ad and it talked about this management trainee program where you could do research and learn different jobs. It sounded right up my alley so I applied,” he explained.

The OU grad has a B.A. in History with a minor in Business. He had worked as a teller for another bank so he had some valuable customer service skills as well. As a Management Trainee, he worked in a few departments but mainly in Chillicothe and McArthur. After the two year Management Trainee Program, Josh was assigned to be the first Branch Manager for the Jackson County Banking Center, the bank’s new branch in Jackson. “That was a challenging and fun adventure,” he recalled.

However, he and his wife Jess are central Ohio natives and longed to be closer to family. She accepted a position teaching for Teays Valley Schools and he was able to transfer to a new adventure in Pataskala. “It worked out well that my wife found a job up here and we had an opening in Pataskala,” he said.

Josh has been managing this office for about 16 months and says he has enjoyed getting to know the community. “There are so many wonderful things about this job but one of them is that we are encouraged to be involved in the community and to get out and meet people. In Jackson it was Rotary and Community Action. Here it’s things like A.M. Spirit in Granville. You don’t find a lot companies that really value community,” he said.

In his free time, Josh enjoys the arts and has long been motivated and excited by drawing. He also enjoys running and is excited to again be part of the bank’s Buck Fifty team in Ross County.

One interesting quality about Josh is that he has this creative side but he’s equally at home with spreadsheets. “I love to do research and to track progress. It’s fun for me to help others get the spreadsheets and things they need or to help them learn from the data they have. I know it’s strange to enjoy that” he exclaimed.

While the bank lobbies are currently closed because of COVID-19, Josh reminds customers that they can still do all their banking and accomplish their goals. “We just have to be creative and stay positive right now. You can still accomplish what you need to do – it just may not be the way you normally do it. You may need to learn a new skill set and you may find that the new way is better than the old,” he said. “Regardless, we are still here for you and we are ready to find solutions for whatever you need.”

Debbie Harmon To Retire Friday

Debbie HarmonDebbie Harmon’s career has been a long and winding road since she started out as a Performance Dance major in college. Debbie will soon retire from the VCNB Family after a successful banking career and, while it isn’t the line of work she studied for, Debbie says her career working with customers has been rewarding.

She appreciates the community aspect of working for a community bank. “I like that the community is important to us and that people matter,” she said, pointing out that the branches are encouraged to support their communities and individuals are rewarded for their volunteerism.

“Community banking was a good move for me,” she said of her decision to take a position at VCNB about nine years ago. Prior to working for VCNB, Debbie was employed by a big bank and before that by Ohio State University as Coordinator of Student Loan Services.

Many of Debbie’s customers will remember her as Head Teller and later Branch Service Manager at Canal Banking Center. She moved to the Pataskala branch about a year and a half ago to help out as Branch Service Manager during an interim period.  “I liked my job before but had the opportunity to do more, to make the last year more interesting and to do more than I’ve always known,” she explained.

Helping people is a passion that has made Debbie a good community banker. “I like helping people, especially when I can take a customer’s problem or question and guide them to a solution from beginning to end. I don’t like to pass a customer off to another department or another person but enjoy working through the issue for them,” she explained.

Her eyes light up when she talks about the free time she will soon have. “I’m looking forward to having more time to take care of myself better. It may sound fuddy-duddy but I’m looking forward to being at home too. I love going and doing things, especially visiting places I’ve never been. It’s a big world and there are a lot of things to see and do but I like home too,” she said with laugh. “I’m not at all worried about how I’ll fill my time.”

Debbie reads a lot and enjoys writing as well. She and husband Guy have been married for 40 years and they have two children. She looks forward to having more free time with her family as well as time to work in her flower garden.

“It’s been easy coming to work here. Good friendships, good relationships, good customers – that’s truly been a blessing. But it’s time. It’s time to retire. Nothing has changed. I still like my job and still want to do a good job. You don’t always know why but you know it’s time to start a new chapter and now is the time for me,” she said.

Debbie will officially retire on May 31. A reception will be held on May 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pataskala branch of the Friendly Bremen Banking Center to honor both Debbie and Crystal Gregor who will retire the same day.

Crystal Gregor To Retire Friday

crystal-gregor-retirement-2019.jpg

When VCNB opened its Pataskala branch in 2006, Crystal Gregor was there to help move into the office and to greet new customers. She had just made the move from a big bank to VCNB, training at our Lancaster West Fair branch before helping open the newly constructed office in Pataskala. That means May 31 will mark the end of an era for our Pataskala customers and for Crystal as she will retire after a 32 year career in central Ohio banking.

While she is excited to retire, the longtime Head Teller at the Friendly Bremen Bank of Pataskala still gets a little teary eyed when she speaks of leaving her customers and coworkers.   “I am looking forward to retirement but will miss the people so much. My coworkers are a little like family and I just love everyone I work with,” she said. “

She also feels a fond attachment to many of her regular customers, smiling as she mentioned a few who she will particularly miss. “I’m here for the customers. It’s my job to take care of the customer but it’s not just a job for me. I love taking care of people and I’m really going to miss this part of my life.”

While Crystal will miss her customers and work family, she looks forward to spending more time with the people in her personal life, especially her husband Glen who she calls “the best” and her 86 year old father who she calls “the most gentle, kind man.”

Crystal has three sons in Pickerington, Worthington and Texas. She intends to visit her Texas son later this year. She also has four grandkids who she is already making arrangements to have quality time with. And then there are her three best girlfriends with whom she’s making plans for some fun adventures this year.

“It’s been such a journey and I’m lucky to have learned so much along the way,” she said. One of those lessons, she said, is to not let others make you feel bad. “Never let anyone get you down when you know you’re a good person and doing the right thing,” she said. “You have to be true to yourself.”

Another important lesson relates to money and kindness. “Money only means so much. If you’re not doing a service of kindness for another human being, what are you doing? Why are you here?” she asked.

Her last piece of advice?

Enjoy every day. “You get one life. Enjoy every day,” she said. “Coming to work here was truly a blessing. I feel like I’m where God wants me to be. But I also feel like it’s time to do something different and I look forward to what that might be.”

If you’re in the area, help Crystal celebrate her happy day with a reception at the Pataskala branch of the Friendly Bremen Banking Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 31. The reception will also celebrate the career of Debbie Harmon who will retire on the same day.

Bonnie McDevitt To Retire This Week

Bonnie McDevitt retires 2019

Bonnie McDevitt

Ask Bonnie McDevitt to talk about herself and her upcoming retirement and her initial response is that there’s not really anything to talk about. Her next response is to start talking about the people in her work life and how much she will miss them.

A seasoned banker and customer service professional, Bonnie will retire on March 29 after working as a teller in our Pataskala branch for twelve years.

Before coming to work at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Pataskala, Bonnie worked as a teller for another bank for several years. Before that, she was Head Cashier at the JCPenney Outlet Store, working at the popular store for nearly twenty years.

Bonnie’s customers and coworkers will tell you that customer service is always her focus and priority. It is these people – her regular customers and her longtime coworkers – who Bonnie says she will miss the most. “I’ll miss a lot of customers, people I see regularly. But I’ll really miss my coworkers. Some of them I’ve worked with for a lot of years,” she said.

Retirement is something that has been on the horizon for some time. She cut back to part time hours three years ago, something that she says has helped with the adjustment. “I’ve gotten used to having free time so it’s not like I’ll just wake up someday and have nowhere to be.”

The Scio, Ohio native has been working since she was just sixteen years old. From babysitting to running a cash register to lots of other jobs in between, she says that growing up in the small Harrison County town was beneficial. “Never have I regretted growing up in a small town. It was a good place to grow up and I got a lot of good experience and values from being from a small town,” she recalled. “I’ve had a good life so far!”

While Bonnie looks forward to retiring, she is conscious of the need to stay busy and to have purpose in her life once she is no longer headed to the bank every day. She has two grown children and four grandchildren and her eyes shine with pride as she describes each of them. She particularly enjoys seeing her two youngest grandchildren participate in extracurricular activities including basketball and football.

Bonnie also has a group of girlfriends from her JCPenney days. They gather regularly to socialize and play Euchre. “We’ve been playing cards together for years and years. Some of those girls, I’ve known since they were young. Some of them for 34 years!”

“My daughter wants me to stay busy. She’s all the time on me to stay active and to have things to do so I think she’ll keep me busy” she said. “You have to have the right mindset. You have to have a positive mindset and to find ways to not become bored. It’s too easy for people to become depressed when they’re not active. I don’t want that, I want to stay active,” she said.

Bonnie is thrilled that spring has arrived as she sometimes walks in her Pataskala neighborhood. She also enjoys jigsaw puzzles and isn’t intimidated by the challenging ones. She intends to volunteer some and hopes to soon begin volunteering at Mt. Carmel Hospital. She’s already talking about finding a small part time job once the newness of retirement wears off.

“Life is a journey and I’m ready to enjoy the next chapter,” she exclaimed!

Bonnie’s last day will be Friday, March 29. Customers are invited to stop by that day to celebrate and enjoy cake and punch.

 

Pataskala Banker Embraces Spirit Of Holidays Through Music

Friendly Bremen Banking Center Personal Banker Mitchell McCrady has a busy month ahead of him. By day Mitchell helps customers in our Pataskala branch with everything from cashing checks to opening accounts. After hours he is a passionate musician who plays French horn with three different Central Ohio symphonies and a local opera company. This month, he will be especially busy with Christmas performances in and around the Columbus area.

In fact, he will take part in four Christmas concerts and a New Year’s Eve fundraising gala this month!

beautiful poinsettia in flowerpot, gifts and Christmas ballsMitchell began playing French horn at the age of ten, learning the instrument with the school band at Berne Union in Sugar Grove. During his teen years, Mitchell took lessons at Ohio University in Athens and further developed skills that he carried into college. In fact, he holds an undergraduate degree in Music Performance from University of Dayton and a Masters of Music in Horn Performance from Indiana University.

He is a member of the New Albany Symphony, Central Ohio Symphony, Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra and Opera Project Columbus and participates in some seasonal projects as well.

Mitchell came to work at VCNB in 2015 and has since worked in our branches in Lancaster, Canal Winchester and now Pataskala, learning the ropes in retail banking and customer service.  “I feel lucky to work at the bank and pursue my passion at the same time. I’m so appreciative of that,” he said.

Here is the schedule of Mitchell’s upcoming holiday shows:

Central Ohio Symphony
Holiday Concert
Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Gray Chapel, Ohio Wesleyan University

New Albany Symphony
Santa and the Symphony***Sensory Friendly Concert***
Saturday, December 15 at 11:30 a.m.
Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts
This is a short 45 minute program; perfect for little kids and those with special needs.

Holiday Spectacular
Sunday, December 16 at 3 p.m.
Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts

Columbus Dance Theater
MATCHGIRL
Friday, December 14 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Otterbein University, Fritsche Theatre – Cowan Hall

 
Weathervane Playhouse/Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra
New Year’s Eve Fundraising Gala
Monday, December 31 at 8 p.m.
Weathervane Playhouse (100 Price Road Newark, OH 43055)

Mitchell invites everyone to come out and support, not just these shows, but other local performances in the area. “Every show is different and I would encourage people to go out and support as many as you can. These are local musicians in your own community and we enjoy giving great performances for people,” he said. “We’re lucky to have such a rich, thriving art scene in Columbus and in areas all over Ohio.”