Column: Smyrna’s Vinings Bank named one of nation’s best

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 25, 2014

It’s always nice to be called the “best of the best.”

That’s just what has happened to Smyrna-based Vinings Bank. The Independent Community Bankers of America named Vinings Bank as one of the top performing community banks in the country with assets between $150 million and $300 million.

Vinings Bank was the only bank in Georgia to be designated by ICBA as a top performing bank at any level — those with assets of less than $75 million up to community banks with assets of more than $1 billion. In all, the association in its monthly magazine highlighted 30 banks as top performing institutions.

“Vinings Bank knows their local market, and they thrive because of that expertise,” said Chris Lorence, ICBA’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in a release. “We commend Vinings Bank for its ongoing dedication, enthusiasm and devotion to the banking industry.”

Vinings Bank was recognized for its earnings and operational efficiencies that it achieved in 2013, according to ICBA. It had assets of $227 million and a return on those assets of 1.49 percent. It has 22 employees.

“As a proud member of the Cobb County community, we credit our loyal local customers and dedicated employees for our success,” said Dan Oliver, president and CEO of Vinings Bank. “We look forward to serving the unique needs of our community and helping it grow and prosper in the years to come.”

Oliver also said the bank does not seek to participate in short-term deals. Instead it searches for long-term, relationship-based clients.

The magazine asked Oliver about his view of the banking industry’s future.

“It’s a bright one,” Oliver responded. “The large, formulaic-based systems and approach of the regional and national institutions will never be able to achieve the necessary personal nature of a contact for which most people search.”

Vinings Bank was established in 2007.

Ray Anderson

The legacy of the late Ray Anderson lives on.

Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson

Anderson, a corporate environmental leader who was the CEO of Interface, will have a 16-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Troup County from Exit 18 to Exit 2 renamed as the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway. The flagship manufacturing operations of Interface are based on the ends of the corridor — in West Point and LaGrange.

A bill for the naming of the corridor in Anderson’s honor was sponsored by state Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, and it will be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on July 30. A dedication ceremony will be held July 28 in LaGrange.

Ray Anderson was truly a visionary,” Nix said. “Not only did he revolutionize the carpet industry, but his commitment to manufacturing sustainability has proven that good environmental stewardship is good business.”

Once convicting himself as a “plunderer of the earth,” Anderson was the founder of the largest global manufacturer of modular carpet and became a sought-after speaker and the author of two books.

“Ray never settled for status quo, and we don’t intend to either,” said Harriet Langford, Anderson’s daughter and trustee of his foundation. “We have achieved the first step by getting the highway named for Ray, but we are partnering with Interface to go much further. We seek to make this section of I-85 a sustainable, restorative highway. Just as Interface is committed to Mission Zero, the foundation hopes this highway project will become a legacy project that fully realizes Ray’s vision.”

Anderson founded Interface in 1973. In 1994, he challenged the publicly traded company to reimagine his petroleum-dependent manufacturing enterprise as one based on sustainability principles.

Before Anderson died of cancer in 2011, he created the foundation in his name, dedicated to environmental sustainability and responsibility.

“Mr. Anderson’s impact on industry continues,” said John Wells, president and CEO of Interface Americas and a member of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s advisory board. “Ray’s legacy rests not only on the shoulders of the 3,500 people of Interface who are bringing sustainability to life every day in our factories and in their communities. His far-reaching influence includes all of industry and the next generation of leaders, via his influence on higher education.”

Since its public launch in 2012, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation has funded major research initiatives at Georgia Tech, Emory University, Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University, all located in Atlanta.

Captain Planet Foundation

Speaking of the environment, the Captain Planet Foundation has announced its 2014 Exemplar Award winner — Jane Goodall, the animal rights activist who has become one of the world’s leading experts on chimpanzees.

Goodall, 80, also founded the Jane Goodall Institute to help Africans in poverty and animal conservation.

The Captain Planet Benefit Gala will be held on Dec. 5 at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. Talk show host Larry King will be the master of ceremonies. Olivia and Carter Ries will receive this year’s Young Superhero for Earth awards. The brother-sister team has established One More Generation, a Georgia-based nonprofit to conserve rhinos in South Africa.

Leadership Georgia award winners

Three Georgians have been chosen to receive special recognition from Leadership Georgia at its annual gala in November. Leadership Georgia is an affiliate of the Georgia Chamber, and it helps identify and nurture the emerging leaders in the state.

The three Georgians were chosen for their outstanding contributions to Leadership Georgia, their communities and to the state.

The recipients of the 2014 Leadership Georgia awards are:

Robert Scott Jepson Jr., who is receiving the J.W. Fanning Award. Jepson is chairman and CEO of Jepson Associates, a private investment firm founded in 1989.

Jepson also serves as chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority and vice chairman of the Georgia Historical Society.

Ben J. Tarbutton III will receive the Frederick B. Kerr Service Award. Tarbutton is assistant vice president of the Sandersville Railroad Co., and has served as chair of the Georgia Board of Regents and president of the Georgia Railroad Association.

James Paul Ferguson is receiving the E. Dale Threadgill Community Service Award. As the retired president and CEO of the Harbin Clinic, Ferguson has spent his professional career serving the community as both treasurer and president of the Neurosurgical Society of America as well as the Georgia Neurological Society.

“This year’s award winners exemplify the principles Leadership Georgia stands for in making our communities and state a better place,” said Alex Wayne, chair of Leadership Georgia’s board and partner at Wayne Trading Co.

The winners will be honored Nov. 21.

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