2014 MIB Outstanding Young Banker Award

To recognize upcoming leaders in Montana’s banking community, MIB honors one special young banker each year.  This scholarship is based on the community banking values of good citizenship, community service, and sound banking skills.  This award not only recognizes the impact that the candidate has in his or her business each day, but also the difference he or she makes by investing in their community.

Eligible candidates are under 35 years of age and have worked for an MIB member bank for three or more years.  The winner receives free convention registration and three nights lodging at Grouse Mountain Lodge during the 2014 MIB Annual Convention, July 31-August 2, $100 in travel expenses, an honor plaque to display in his or her office, and prominent mention in the MIB magazine and website.  Honorable mentions receive a gift certificate of $50 each.  MIB is excited to announce the following candidates for the 2014 MIB Outstanding Young Banker Award:

2014 Winner: Ashley Larkin

Ashley Larkin is a Commercial Portfolio Assistant at First Montana Bank.  Her primary responsibilities include providing sales, servicing and administrative support to loan officers, as well as originating consumer loans.  She started there in 2011 and has risen in the ranks from Teller to Credit Analyst to Commercial Portfolios.  “She has proven herself to be a leader, both inside and outside of the bank,” said Adam McQuiston, Executive Vice President at First Montana Bank. “Ashley is an outstanding representative for First Montana Bank and the industry in general.  She consistently demonstrates hard work and dedication, not only to her employer but to her civic duties as well.”

Ashley volunteers for a number of organizations in Missoula.  She has been a Big Sister (of Big Brothers Big Sisters) since early 2013, and this mentoring relationship has brought joy, fun, and skills to a young girl from a tough background.  “Ashley brought enthusiasm, intelligence and an admirable dedication to her role as a mentor to her little sister,” noted Angelia Boggs of Big Brothers Big Sisters.  “I have witnessed her caring and dedication to her little sister who is greatly benefiting from the time and attention Ashley gives her.”

Ashley is also a Leadership Missoula 31 graduate, which is a two-year commitment that involves learning about Missoula’s history and community with 40 other professionals and organizing eight day-long sessions for the upcoming class.  She volunteers with the Missoula Downtown Association for their annual events such as River City Roots Fest, Garden City Brewfest, and Winter Brewfest.  Ashley also assists at the annual Bike for Shelter fundraiser for Watson Children’s Shelter for Missoula children in crisis.

“Ashley’s good character and her dedication to her community make her an outstanding citizen and the perfect candidate for this award,” enthused Angelia.  We agree, and are proud to announce Ashley Larkin as our 2014 MIB Outstanding Young Banker.

2014 Honorable Mention: Clint Ekern

Clint Ekern is a Real Estate Loan Officer at Three Rivers Bank of Montana in Kalispell, and has worked there for the past two and a half years.  Clint is one busy guy, not only being “an outstanding asset to the bank” but also serving in a number of volunteer groups annually in the Kalispell area.

His volunteer work includes the Kalispell Chamber Ambassador (Vice-Chair), the Flathead Builders Association (Recruitment Committee), the Conrad Mansion Event Planning Committee, Forestry Expo (Treasurer), Highlander Track Program, Relay for Life, Northwest Montana Association of Realtors, Leisure Heights Homeowners Association (VP), and the Heritage Club.  He has also been accepted for the 2014/2015 Leadership Flathead class.

Clint wrote: “There is no community service activity that I will not do, and I find joy in being able to help our community continue to grow strong networks and relationships, along with making the Flathead Valley a place that is attractive to live in and also visit!”  Now that’s community spirit!

2014 Honorable Mention: Madisonn Lemhouse-Huntley

Madisonn Lemhouse-Huntley is a Management Assistant at Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan in Dillon, and has been a part of that bank for two years.  “Energetic and diligent” with a “thirst for learning all aspects of the business” is how her coworkers describe her.

Madisonn volunteered with the Youth Connections Mentoring Program during her high school years as a reliable and enthusiastic mentor and positive role model for elementary students.  Madisonn has seen the fruits of these one-on-one relationships, as she has kept in contact with her mentees and has seen increased confidence, stability, and civic attitude in them over the years.

Madisonn continues to participate in this invaluable organization by serving on the YCMP board of directors and organizing program fundraisers and Christmas parties.  “Madisonn is a valued asset to both our Board as well as our community,” said Lisa Benzel, chair of the program.  She is definitely an up and coming community banking star!