Article: Louisiana Tech University’s School of Banking Elevates 75 Bankers with Advanced Skills

Jun 13, 2024 | Business, Engagement

Note: This article originally appeared in BIZ. Magazine on June 17, 2024.
Written By: BIZ. Staff

In a bid to strengthen the banking industry across the region, Louisiana Tech University hosted its third annual School of Banking from June 3-7. The event, presented in collaboration with the Louisiana Bankers Association, saw 75 bankers from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi convene in Ruston for a week of intensive professional development.

Participants engaged in comprehensive training sessions covering fintech, regional economic development, and cybersecurity. These topics are crucial for navigating the evolving challenges in the banking sector. The program’s aim is to equip rising banking leaders with the skills necessary for their careers and the industry at large.

Holistic Banking Education

“The depth of the discussions with industry leaders and the range of topics covered were invaluable,” said Angelle David, Vice President and Business Development Officer at b1BANK. “We gained insights into various banking functions, enhancing our understanding of how different departments collaborate. This experience will undoubtedly help us serve our organizations more effectively.”

Courses were delivered by Louisiana Tech faculty members, top banking executives, consultants, and regulators. Key areas of focus included operations, risk management, liquidity, marketing, sales, and regulatory compliance.

Networking and Knowledge Sharing

Kim Lee, Vice President and Compliance Officer for Community Bank of Louisiana, highlighted the program’s value for seasoned professionals as well. “The opportunity to network with peers and exchange ideas that impact daily operations was significant. This program has broadened my understanding and preparedness in an ever-changing economic landscape.”

Celebrating Graduates

The event concluded with a graduation ceremony for 35 bankers who completed their second year at the School of Banking. This cohort participated in the BankExec simulation, a rigorous exercise in financial management. The simulation divided participants into teams managing their banks, culminating in a presentation of their results. The winning team, Bank of Hope, included Chad Doucet (South Louisiana Bank), Layne LaBudde (First Horizon Bank), Reed Trisler (Guaranty Bank & Trust), Jonathan Vedros (b1BANK), and Mackenzie Willis (Louisiana National Bank).

First-Year Participants

Forty bankers completed their first year of training and will return next year for advanced coursework and further simulations. Notable participants included:

  • Kaitlin Ainsworth, Caldwell Bank & Trust
  • Jake Bennett, Caldwell Bank & Trust
  • Amy Blaylock, Caldwell Holding Company
  • Whitney Boyd, Bank of St. Francisville
  • Jack Colvin, b1BANK
  • April Craft, Concordia Bank & Trust Company
  • Tia Culpepper, Origin Bank
  • Angelle David, b1BANK
  • Amy Flint, Caldwell Holding Company
  • Angelice Fried, Bank of St. Francisville
  • Misty Guidry, Synergy Bank
  • Danielle Hearne, Louisiana National Bank
  • Devon Hebert, State Bank & Trust Company
  • Wesley Lazarus, Progressive Bank
  • Kim Lee, Community Bank of Louisiana
  • Jonathan Little, Origin Bank
  • Elliot Macks, South Louisiana Bank
  • Kade Madden, Home Federal Bank
  • Lindsay M. McClaran, Gibsland Bank & Trust
  • Hilie McFarland, Delta Bank
  • Julie McMillin, Merchants & Farmers Bank
  • Kylie Middleton, b1BANK
  • Rusti Morel, Rayne State Bank
  • Greg Nichols, Barksdale Federal Credit Union
  • Dillon Patel, Louisiana National Bank
  • Briar Prewitt, b1BANK
  • Darryl Pruitt, Bonvenu Bank
  • Andrea S. Randall, First National Bankers Bank
  • Logan Reeder, Home Federal Bank
  • Trey Roberson, Century Next Bank
  • Karri Shaver, Century Next Bank
  • Kendall Shaw, b1BANK
  • Susan Skapura, Century Next Bank
  • Jessica Slaughter, Century Next Bank
  • Justin Stanley, Delta Bank
  • Mallory Taylor, Century Next Bank
  • Neil Thomason, Jonesboro State Bank
  • Peyton Underwood, Century Next Bank
  • Katie Vegas, State Bank & Trust Company
  • Michael Wilkes, Century Next Bank

Whitney Boyd, Vice President and Branch Manager for Bank of St. Francisville, described the experience as transformative. “The program provided access to top-notch speakers and fostered a deeper understanding of banking concepts. The connections made and the knowledge gained are invaluable.”

Looking Ahead

The Louisiana Tech School of Banking continues to attract support from key sponsors, including b1BANK, Bonvenu Bank, Origin Bank, Century Next Bank, Caldwell Holding Company, Gibsland Bank & Trust, and the Louisiana Bankers Education Council.

Registration for the 2025 cohort opens in January. For more information, prospective participants can visit Louisiana Tech’s School of Banking website.

About the College of Business

Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business is dedicated to producing innovative, entrepreneurial, and technologically skilled business leaders. Accredited by AACSB International, the College offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an MBA, a Master of Accountancy, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration. For more details, visit

This year’s School of Banking not only underscores Louisiana Tech’s commitment to fostering banking expertise but also highlights the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the dynamic financial landscape.