Louisiana Tech School of Banking graduates first cohort

Jun 22, 2023 | Business, General News

Eighty-two bankers from across Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi attended the second year of the Louisiana Tech University School of Banking, June 5-9, in Ruston.

Presented by the College of Business in collaboration with the Louisiana Bankers Association, the week-long professional development program aims to expand the skills and knowledge base of rising bank leaders.

Courses taught by over 35 Louisiana Tech faculty members, top banking executives, consultants, and regulators covered a variety of topics including operations, risk management, liquidity, marketing, sales, and regulations. A strategic focus on fintech, regional economic development, and cybersecurity helped attendees hone skills that have become increasingly critical to the banking industry.

Forty-four bankers returned for their second year of the School of Banking and were honored during a special graduation ceremony that closed the week.

“This first cohort of School of Banking graduates is special, as there will only ever be one ‘first class,'” said Jason D. Smith, president and CEO of Citizens National Bank and chair of the School of Banking Advisory Board. “This group will help shape the School of Banking for years to come. We are grateful to their organizations for investing in their people and the future of banking in our state. These 44 bankers have learned to be leaders in both our industry and their communities, and we look forward to seeing their professional growth over the coming years.”

2023 School of Banking Graduates

  • Maria Bass, Citizens Progressive Bank
  • Cullen Bishop, Gibsland Bank & Trust
  • Hannah Brasuell, Century Next Bank
  • Cinjon Brown, Origin Bank
  • Lance Bruce, b1BANK
  • Zach Dubiel, Heritage Bank of St. Tammany
  • Candace Dunigan, Citizens National Bank
  • Lisa Federick, Delta Bank
  • Daniel Guedon, United Mississippi Bank
  • Drake Hale, BOM Bank
  • Lorie Hamlin, Century Next Bank
  • Mel Harvey, Bank of St. Francisville
  • Ashley Hebert, Farmers-Merchants Bank & Trust Co.
  • Heath Heisler, Homeland Bank
  • Palmer Jarrell, b1BANK
  • Connie Kelley, Century Next Bank
  • Brandi Landry, Rayne State Bank & Trust Co.
  • Luke Lucky, BOM Bank
  • Johnny Maxwell, Origin Bank
  • Alisha Meeker, Citizens National Bank
  • Jordan Moreau, Simmesport State Bank
  • Jacob Murchison, BOM Bank
  • Colby Nichols, Origin Bank
  • Jamie Otwell, Peoples Bank
  • Dustin Parker, Caldwell Bank & Trust Co.
  • Justin Robinson, Citizens Progressive Bank
  • David Saleh, Louisiana National Bank
  • Aaron Savell, BOM Bank
  • Kenny Sellars, Home Federal Bank
  • Becky Sellers, First Guaranty Bank
  • Reed Sexton, Ensure Agency
  • Brennan Shelton, Cross Keys Bank
  • Adrienne Stamper, Caldwell Holding Company
  • John Sullivan, BOM Bank
  • Sean Sumlin, Home Federal Bank
  • Stephanie Tate, Rayne State Bank & Trust Co.
  • Austin Taylor, Colfax Banking Co.
  • Nate Trisler, Century Next Bank
  • Alexis Webre, Century Next Bank
  • Jamie White, Bank of St. Francisville
  • Rebecca Williams, Caldwell Holding Company
  • Hugh Wood, b1BANK
  • Joey Wynn, Rayne State Bank & Trust Co.

A new cohort of 38 bankers completed their first year of courses and will return in June 2024 for a second year featuring BankExec simulations and case studies that will complement classroom discussions.

2023 School of Banking First-Year Participants

  • Mitchell Best, Louisiana Land Bank, ACA
  • Jason Blalock, Red River Bank
  • Kaila Boire, b1BANK
  • Royce Boyer, b1BANK
  • Robin Bracknell, FISC
  • Courtney Carter Duplessis, Bank of Zachary
  • Jarred Cram, Citizens National Bank
  • Reagan Cunningham, BOM Bank
  • Josh Curry, Origin Bank
  • Melissa Dickson, First Federal Bank of Louisiana
  • Chad Doucet, South Louisiana Bank
  • Chuck Elkin, Winnsboro State Bank
  • Jennifer Freeman, Delta Bank
  • Bill Gibson, Gibsland Bank & Trust
  • Jessica Jester, Citizens National Bank
  • Dylan Knotek, BOM Bank
  • Layne LaBudde, Bank OZK
  • Anna Martin, Bank of Oak Ridge
  • Brenner Mabry, Bank OZK
  • Titan Marler, BOM Bank
  • Vicky Meyer, b1BANK
  • Ross Michel, First National Bankers Bank
  • Amanda Moran, Bank of Zachary
  • Colby Nagem, Tensas State Bank
  • Clinton Oliver, BOM Bank
  • Albert Paxton, Bank of Oak Ridge
  • Josh Payne, Delta Bank
  • Darryl Pruitt, Citizens National Bank
  • Kristy Roberts, First Guaranty Bank
  • Wayne Robinson, Synergy Bank
  • Kyle Sisson, Mer Rouge State Bank
  • Ashley Smith, BOM Bank
  • David Stephens, Citizens Progressive Bank
  • Reed Trisler, Citizens Progressive Bank
  • Jonathan Vedros, b1BANK
  • Jonathan Wall, BOM Bank
  • Mackenzie Westmoreland, Louisiana National Bank
  • Trent Williams, Winnsboro State Bank

For Melissa Dickson, CRA coordinator with First Federal Bank of Louisiana, attending the School was an opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

“Participating in the Louisiana Tech University School of Banking has been such a rewarding experience,” said Dickson. “From networking with banking professionals across the state to learning about hot topics from industry leaders, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge and insight into the world of banking. I am grateful to my employer for investing in me and look forward to applying the concepts I’ve learned in next year’s BankExec simulations.”

Each second-year banker participated in BankExec, an intensive simulation designed to provide an understanding of financial management challenges in banks. Divided into two communities and eight banks, teams competed throughout the week and presented their final results prior to graduation. The following teams were the 2023 winners:

Community A – KSVB Bank

  • Maria Bass, Citizens Progressive Bank
  • Dustin Parker, Caldwell Bank & Trust Co.
  • Hugh Wood, b1BANK
  • Jordan Moreau, Simmesport State Bank
  • Lorie Hamlin, Century Next Bank
  • Sean Sumlin, Home Federal Bank

Community B – White Magnolia Bank & Trust

  • Adrienne Stamper, Caldwell Holding Company
  • Cullen Bishop, Gibsland Bank & Trust
  • Kenny Sellars, Home Federal Bank
  • Stephanie Tate, Rayne State Bank & Trust Co.
  • Zach Dubiel, Heritage Bank of St. Tammany

Sponsors for the Louisiana Tech School of Banking include b1BANK (presenting), Citizens National Bank (gold), Origin Bank (gold), Century Next Bank (silver), Caldwell Holding Company (bronze) Gibsland Bank & Trust (bronze), and the Louisiana Bankers Education Council (bronze).

Registration will open in January 2024 for the next cohort of participants. For more information on the School of Banking, visit

About the College of Business
Through market-responsive academic programs, impactful scholarship, and a student-focused culture, Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business graduates business and academic leaders who are innovative, entrepreneurially minded, and analytically and technologically skilled for a globally competitive marketplace. Building on a vibrant community of lifelong learners, our graduates are prepared to positively impact business and society. Accredited by AACSB International, the College offers eight undergraduate degree programs in addition to the master of business administration, master of accountancy, and doctor of business administration. For more information, visit