Tuesday, May 24, 2016

State Track 2016 #2

Per request, I will share with you some of my state track history.  My first trip to the state track meet was in 1984 as a freshman.  My event was the 400 meter hurdles and I finished 5th.  As a sophomore I came in 3rd and my junior and senior years I was the champion.  I also finished 3rd in the 100M hurdles my senior year.  Personal bests in each event were 62:6 and 15:6 respectively.  The fastest quarter mile split I ever ran was 57:6 and Ron Hunerdosse coaxed me into running an 800 one year to complete a 4x8 team.  That was hell….and I ran a 2:26.   Ouch!  (another memory)


If you could have seen me last Saturday afternoon watching the meet on my iPad, you would’ve laughed.  I yelled, I screamed, I jumped up and down and even cried from emotions that returned as if I was there yesterday….all of them dear to my soul.  So, you see, I do know how those kids felt on the blue oval….and it’s pretty darn cool. J

State Track 2016

To the high school athletes that competed at the Iowa High School State Track Meet this weekend, kudos to you.  I have awesome memories, old as they may be, of this meet and its grandeur.  So many competitors, so many spectators, so many fans and parents on the edge of their seats, wanting the ultimate for their children…….to win.  There is no other sport like track.  There are relays, medleys, field events and strategy, but it all comes down to who is the strongest, who is the fastest and who can maintain their cool under pressure.  You have trained, pained, sucked for air and hurt.  Hopefully you were at your very best in condition, at which time it becomes a mind game.  Regardless of your result, I bet you enjoyed performing in that awesome oval, on the spongy surface, in front of all of those people, many of them cheering for you not even knowing your name or your story…..a memory you will never forget.  Good job.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Calving Season

With spring comes one of my favorite times of year: calving season.  We started calving around the first of April on our farm.  We calve in a 40 acre pasture about a mile down the road from the house.
Calving season is going great.  So far, 33 on the ground and only one small problem that turned out well.  Almost every morning at 5:00am I jump on the four wheeler and go ride through the cows to see if any new babies have been born or if anyone is having problems.  At this time it is still dark and most the cows and calves are still bedded down sleeping.  It is very peaceful and I can ride by close enough to touch them and they just lay there as they are use to my routine.  It is a great way to start my day.  If you wait and go check them around 6 or 6:30 (just at daylight) it is feeding time for the calves.  Most of them will be paired with mom having their breakfast.   Shortly after they all head out to graze and enjoy the weather and sun on the nice days.

After work I look forward to that same four wheeler ride down the road to the pasture and a nice slow ride through the cows.  Fun to watch the calves play, or if you are lucky, a new calf being born. At this time the cows are usually wandering back up towards the hay and will bed down up there for the night. It is amazing the very consistent routine they have each day.

I wear many hats in my life, most of you know me as the banker or insurance agent, but my favorite hat is that of a farmer.  I love to be outside working, checking cattle, raking hay, mowing pasture and even fixing fence; though this is probably my least favorite job and the one that seems to have no end.  Put me on a horse, a four wheeler or a tractor and it is a good day.
I feel very blessed to get to live where I do and have the opportunity to do these things that bring me joy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

“The Buckle”

As years pass I find myself spending more time thinking back about memories of past experiences and how they have shaped me into the person I am today. Even though my grandfather Gail “Bud” Trier was taken from this world when I was 6 years old, I still have some memories that I can recall with him and look back and smile each time I think of them.
One of the top memories that comes to mind is the trips on Sunday mornings to “The Buckle.” I remember going there with grandpa and ordering a “Roy Rogers” to drink. I specifically remember one Sunday morning that the family rat terrier was in the car outside. When I looked out the dog had his front paws on the steering wheel and it appeared that he was trying to drive Grandpa’s car. Now as a 6 year old this was pretty funny! I don’t remember how often we frequented the Buckle on Sunday’s but at the time it seemed like every Sunday!
I also remember his garage and how occasionally there would be boxes and boxes of the sugar coated orange slices. I don’t know where he got them, or where they all went to, but that was a lot of sugar and a 6 year old’s dream! In the springtime grandpa always had a way of finding an endless supply of morel mushrooms. It seemed as if he was always bringing home bags and bags of morel mushrooms! As a 6 year old I was convinced he was the greatest morel hunter ever!
There were also many days spent with grandpa going from sale barn to sale barn. Whether it was Knoxville, Kalona, Keosauqua or a different sale barn, it seemed that if there was a livestock sale that day he was going to make it to it! On these trips I also remember him paying me a quarter to be quiet. I guess at the time I liked to talk! Although my wife tells me that nothing has changed. J

In the first six years of my life, my grandpa Trier left me with life long memories that I can always hold onto. I can’t help but think about how my life could be different if he could have stayed with us a little bit longer. Would I have been more of a livestock man? Would I be driving a Chrysler? (All I remember him ever having was Chrysler cars.) What else could I have learned from this kind, patient man? I know that I can only look back now and appreciate the time that I did get to spend with him. Grandpa if you can hear me up there, thank you for giving me these memories and for helping shape me into the man I am today.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Washington D.C. Trip

Last week I had the privilege to travel with a group of Iowa Bankers to the American Bankers Association Government Summit in Washington D.C. The Iowa Bankers Association asked me to go and take part in the Emerging Leaders Forum. At the forum there were over 200 emerging leaders from 44 states. The forum started with a networking lunch. This was a great way to meet some other young bankers from around the country. Some of the speakers at the forum were Rob Nichols, CEO of ABA; U.S. Representative William Hurd from Texas; Trey Maust Co, founder and CEO of Lewis and Clark Bank.  The forum covered a wide range of topics including cyber security, engaging policymakers in banking priorities and maximizing leadership opportunities, just to name a few.  Over all, the forum was a great experience. 
On the second day of the conference they had several great speakers during the general session. Probably the best speaker I heard while I was there was Dana Perino who was the Press Secretary for the Bush Administration and now works for Fox News as a Co-Host on “The Five”. Some of the other speakers on the second day were Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, Representative Jeb Hensarling from Texas, and James Ballentine Executive VP of Congressional Relations at the ABA.
In the afternoon of the second day, I traveled with eight other Iowa Bankers to meet with our legislators and discuss key issues in the banking industry. During our trip to Capital Hill we met with Senator Ernst, Representative Loebsack, Representative Young, and Representative King. We were unable to meet with Senator Grassley and Representative Blum due to scheduling conflicts. Some of the key issues we discussed with our legislators were regulatory relief for banks, tailoring regulations to fit the size of bank, and equal tax treatment for banks compared to credit unions.
Traveling to D.C. for the ABA Government Summit was a great learning experience for me. I am very grateful that the Iowa Bankers Association asked me to go along. The best part of the trip for me was our trip up to Capital Hill to meet our legislators. I think it is important to stay in contact with our legislators to keep them informed on the key issues for our industry. If bankers are not contacting there legislators and letting them know what is going on in our industry, then no one is. Our legislators don’t realize the challenges we face unless we let them know. I look forward to staying involved in events like this in the future. I think it is an important roll at both the state and national level to keep our lawmakers informed about key issues to our industry. I would encourage more bankers to get involved. The more legislators hear from us, the more likely we are to see things change for the better.




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bank Boards

I have served on the Libertyville Savings Bank’s board for the past 15 years or so.  Prior to that I worked within the bank since 1992 and in my very deep past I was one of those dreaded bank examiners.

Our board is currently made up of 3 outside directors – those that do not work in banking and 6 internal directors – those that work for the bank. 

Being a bank director radically changed over the past 15 years. Gone are the days of reviewing the new loans and approving some basic policies.  With increased regulation and oversight bank boards are required to do so much more.

These individuals that serve as outside directors have to understand lending and the risks involved, Cyber risks, bank regulations which number in the 100’s, bank financials, strategic planning, HR items such as  the Affordable Care Act, FMLA, Affirmative Action, and the list goes on.  They spend hours reading and studying for the monthly meetings in order to come prepared for the decisions that need to be made.

In addition, one of our outside directors serves on bank committees that meet regularly during the month. 

The appreciation and respect I have for our outside directors is extremely high.  They bring a much needed different view of the banking world and wisdom that is very valuable.

It is not an easy job, but one that is so critical to the success of community banking.  A special thank you to Mike, Larry and Dave for all they have contributed to the success of LSB!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cooking Together

Expand your appetite …take a chance and try it

When I met Dale 10 years ago, he was the typical, Midwest, farm guy.  Meat, potatoes, corn (the only vegetable in the world), bread and desserts were family meals.  I had lived that myth for several years myself, except for the vegetables.  I was raised with a variety of them.  Milk and water is what you had to drink.  In my young adult years, I was able to expand my tastes by going out to eat with friends at various restaurants and trying new things.   I like to cook, eat and drink (does not always have to have alcohol in it).

Nevertheless, I started cooking for Dale.  I cooked what I thought, a variety of food.  I expanded his horizons with more vegetables (green, orange and red ones), cooked different ways, seasoned, or added in recipes.  He started enjoying more foods and trying more.  We started cooking together.  We tried different recipes since Dale had become addicted to AllRecipes.com. 

After a few years, we were very fortunate to have new neighbors, Chris and Laura, move in that loved to cook, eat and drink.  We became very good friends and were invited to join them for dinner once a week for a unique meal.  Chris is the chef in the house.  He fixes his meals “fancy”, design cut veggies, sauces drizzled on the plate, plates warmed in the oven prior to plating food, etc.  We had eaten deer before and never cared for it, but we had never had it fixed by Chris.  Laura assists when needed and takes care of the cleanup.  We always started with a cocktail.  The options were endless, all types of wine, margaritas, beers, Sake, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Cognac, sparkling water, lavender water, rose water and the list goes on.    Along with your drink of choice, you had cheeses, nuts, olives, etc.  The meals were outstanding.  We were introduced to lamb (shank and meatloaf), quail, squirrel, rabbit, duck, smoked bluegill and bass, whole lobster (different that lobster tail) and mourning doves.  All very delicious.  New Year’s Eve was always a very special meal consisting of foie gras, truffles, rack of fawn and breast of mourning dove.

But as if that wasn’t enough, we were invited to go to France with them in 2012.  Dale was a little skeptical about the food options available in France, but we took the adventure.  What a cultural experience, not just the food, but the way of life.  We had the privilege of eating the following foods:  escargot, horse, wild boar, liver meat loaf, head cheese, pheasant pate, squab, tartiflette, flaming baked Alaska, duck confit, many fresh breads and cheeses.  The wines were exceptional.  We sipped Chartreuse, Chambord and Cointreau along with extraordinary desserts.

Cooking is something Dale and I love to do together.  As most children, ours aren’t always open to trying the “different” foods, so we welcome anyone who is willing to try new foods.  We love to entertain and have often thought of having a Bed & Breakfast and/or winery.  You never know you like something, if you don’t try it.  You won’t die from trying food.