Tift County News & Events
2017 Hester Memorial Scholarship Local Winners Announced
Cam Tucker and Jake Moore, both of Tifton Georgia, have been selected as the local representatives to compete for one of four $1,000 Julian and Jan Hester Memorial Scholarships chosen by the Community Bankers Association (CBA).
As the first place recipient, Cam Tucker will receive a $500 scholarship from South Georgia Banking Company. His application was chosen by a regional panel of judges for his impressive academic performance at Tift County High School in addition to his list of extracurricular and civic activities within the community. Tucker is a Superior Honor Student at TCHS as well as a member of the Beta Club, Varsity baseball team and is a University of Georgia Merit Scholar. His extensive list of volunteer efforts in the community involve a variety of work with organizations like Toys for Tots, Road Less Traveled Ministries, Tift County Baseball Kids Camps and more. Tucker has proven to be well-rounded and success-oriented. He is dual-enrolled at ABAC and has been accepted to both the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University.
Jake Moore of Tifton, the local runner up, is also a candidate for the CBA scholarship award. Moore, Superior Honor Student who also attends Tift County High School, has maintained an exceptionally high grade point average while dual-enrolled at ABAC. Moore’s impressive academic record and extracurricular activities contributed to him being chosen to compete for this scholarship. Some of his activities include 4-H, TCHS Air Rifle team, Academic Bowl and extensive volunteer hours with local organizations. Moore has exhibited determination and leadership throughout his high school years. He will continue his academic achievements at the University of Georgia in the fall.
The Julian & Jan Hester Memorial Scholarship is named after long-time CBA Chief Executive Officer, the late Julian Hester and his late daughter, Jan Hester. Jan was a senior at the University of Georgia when she died in an automobile accident in April of 1990. In addition to supporting community banking, this scholarship is an opportunity to pass on the positive qualities both Julian and Jan Hester exemplified to further the development of tomorrow’s generations.
Tucker and Moore will move forward in competing for one of the four Hester Memorial $1,000 scholarships chosen by the Community Bankers Association (CBA). Please join South Georgia Banking Company in congratulating them on their achievements and wishing them luck with their extremely bright futures.
Pictured L to R are: Jake Moore; SGBC President, Glenn Willis; and Cam Tucker
Kerri Eckstrand: SGBC Customer Connection at its Best
As we continue our Customer Service Representative spotlight series, we are now please to highlight Kerri Eckstrand. Kerry has been with our South Georgia Banking Company Tift Avenue branch for two years, and she truly embodies the community connection that has defined SGBC since the beginning.
“My favorite aspect of being a CSR is the daily interaction with my customers,” says Kerri. “Each experience with a customer provides a unique opportunity to help them meet their goals both personally and professionally. Knowing I play a small role in their success is rewarding.”
Kerri goes on to describe the “family atmosphere” at SGBC as being another great aspect of her job. “Across the board, SGBC employees work as a team. Each employee has a specific job to do, yet ALL are willing to go beyond their ‘job description’ to help a customer as well as a coworker,” she says.
As a mom of two small children (Amelia and Aiden), Kerri certainly has her hands full outside of work as well. She is so proud of the way that SGBC gives back to the community – including schools like the one her children attend – and knowing that the partnership between SGBC and its communities help make the bank such a great place for employees and customers. It’s the giving back that makes South Georgia Banking Company so special for Kerri.
“I was especially proud of my SGBC family last fall. During October 2016, Hurricane Matthew evacuees were flowing into and through Tifton,” remembers Kerri. “So many of them had no where to go, no family to stay with, and the shelters were quickly filling up. We began to hear of people staying in parking lots – many of them with children and pets. The minute we heard this, SGBC sprang into action – making phone calls to determine the most urgent needs and purchasing items that needed to be delivered to shelters. It’s an honor to be part of an organization that, without hesitation, responds to help those in need.”
Kerri has the work ethic, community spirit and compassion that South Georgia Banking Company tries itself to embody everyday. We are proud of our Customer Service Representatives, and Kerri Eckstrand is the perfect example of why we feel that way.
New Board Members Announced - Brian Ponder & Glenn Willis
At the annual shareholders’ meeting, held May 25, 2017, South Georgia Bank Holding Company announced the addition of two new members to the company’s board of directors. Glenn Willis and Brian Ponder were recently appointed to the board which expands the number to 13 members. “We are pleased to welcome Glenn and Brian to the South Georgia Bank Holding Company board,” said Pait Willis, Chairman and CEO. “They both bring a unique perspective, knowledge, and wisdom that will further enhance the strength of our existing Board of Directors.”
Glenn Willis is the president of South Georgia Banking Company, a position he has held since 2007. He began his banking career in 1985. A native of Tift County, Willis graduated from Tift County High School, furthered his education at UGA and returned home with a passion for local business, community development and agriculture. Willis is active in legislative and leadership roles with the Georgia Bankers Association, currently serving on the GBA Insurance Trust Board or Directors, GBA Board of Directors, the Community Banks Committee and the Public Affairs Committee. Locally, Willis volunteers in a variety of capacities, including board positions with the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and the Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage and is a member of the ABAC Alumni Association, ABAC President’s Club, Tifton Rotary and the American Cancer Society. He is a member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Tifton where he teaches a 6th Grade Sunday School Class and participates in the adult Sanctuary Choir. Along with his wife Karen, Willis is most proud of his son, Austin, a United States Navy Sailor and his daughter Amanda Lowe. Amanda and her husband Johnny Lowe are expecting their first child in August.
Brian Ponder is the co-owner and operator of the family farm, Pond-O-Gold, in Omega Georgia where he and his brother, Ken, manage 3,000 acres of timber and farmland. Their farming operation consists of 1,200 acres of cotton, 650 acres of peanuts, 300 acres of corn and 120 acres of watermelon. He regards, “It is truly an honor to be invited to serve on the South Georgia Bank board of directors. I look forward to serving an organization that has grown from assets of forty thousand dollars in the beginning to over four hundred sixty million dollars today and as a steward for shareholders and employees interest. I am thankful to be a part of a local institution whose ownership remains in and around the Tift area and the decision making process is still made right here at home by local people.” Ponder is a past winner of the Tift County Farmer of the Year Award, 2007 ABAC Alumnus Master Farmer of the Year and a recipient of the Georgia Soil and Water Conservationist of the Year Award. Ponder currently serves as a District Supervisor for the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Committee, Tift County Farm Bureau Director and is on the Board of Trustees with Road Less Traveled Ministries in Tifton. He is a very proud member of Union Grove Church where he attends with his wife Missy and their children, Victoria and Cy.
South Georgia Banking Company ranks 27th in asset size of State Charted banks in Georgia with assets totaling more than $460 million. SGBC has eight full-service locations in Colquitt, Tift, Turner, Crisp and Dooley Counties. Its operations center is located in Tifton and the company’s employees number more than 115 individuals throughout the region. Pait Willis concludes “In the last 47 years, it’s been exciting to see the bank evolve and expand while intentionally keeping our roots deep in the communities we serve. The addition of Glenn and Brian will certainly add to the depth of our leadership and I am eager to watch where we grow from here.”
South Georgia Banking Company organized a Peanut Butter Food Drive throughout the region this October. All eight branches participated in Tift, Colquitt, Turner, Crisp and Dooly Counties. This endeavor originated in order to give back to those in need within the communities. The drive was also a way to celebrate Georgia Peanut Bank Week and acknowledge Georgia peanut farmers and industry professionals for their outstanding peanut production and contribution to our economy.
The employees, customers and communities really came through in this food drive. When all was said and done, the collection total topped 5,964 jars of peanut butter. This number includes significant contributions from Golden Boy Peanuts, Peanut Proud and the Dooly County School System.
In fact, as the collection drive was winding down, SGBC’s efforts nearly doubled when Jeff Hollis of Golden Boy Peanuts walked into the 2nd Street branch. Hollis noticed the peanut butter collection and wanted to be a part.
"We had originally planned to support two or three Tift County food pantries, but with the additional contributions from Golden Boy, we had to expand our reach! We were able to spread hope to most every agency in Tifton. It was such a blessing to be a part of this endeavor and we are thankful to all who helped make it happen!" said Maghan Campbell, Marketing Director at South Georgia Banking Company.
SGBC was able to donate large quantities to the Tift County food pantries and other agencies in the county including Brother Charlie’s, Backpack Buddies, Tifton’s Soup Kitchen, Ruth’s Cottage, Leroy Rogers Center, Society of St. Andrews, Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Backpack Blessings and the Mell Baptist Association.
"Thank you to all of our customers and those who donated. You are making a difference." said Glenn Willis, president of South Georgia Banking Company.
T.A.L:K Class-Tomorrow’s Aspiring Leaders: Kids—Youth Leadership ClassThe T.A.L:K class is 50 Eighth graders from Eighth Street Middle school and Tiftarea Academy. On February 16, 2016; the students went to the State Capitol for a photo opportunity with Governor Deal; Representative Clay Prickle; Representative Sam Watson; Representative Penny Houston; Senator Greg Kirk. They also met with our state representatives for a very outstanding question and answer session. Gary Black, Commissioner of Department of Agriculture also stopped by and talked about the importance of Agriculture. After that, they were privileged to tour the Capitol and go into the House and Senate Chambers. After a trip to the “Varsity Drive-In” they returned to Tifton. Sponsors are Tift Regional Health System; Heatcraft; Georgia Power; Colquitt EMC; First Community Bank; South Georgia Banking Company.
- City of Tifton (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)
- City of Omega (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)
- Tift County Chamber of Commerce (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)
- Tift County School System (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)
- Georgia Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)
- Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)
- Southern Regional Technical College (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window) (Opens in a new Window)