75 bankers advance skills at Tech’s School of Banking

Jun 14, 2024 | Business, General News

Bankers from across Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi participated in the third year of the Louisiana Tech University School of Banking, June 3-7, in Ruston. Presented by the College of Business in collaboration with the Louisiana Bankers Association, the weeklong professional development program expands the skills and knowledge base of rising bank leaders. The 75 participants engaged in trainings and discussions about fintech, regional economic development, and cybersecurity to hone skills that have become increasingly critical to the banking industry.

“My classmates and I engaged in discussions with industry leaders about issues affecting us today and some that will affect us in the very near future,” said Angelle David, vice president and business development officer for b1BANK. “In the classroom, instructors guided us through deep dives of banking from every angle. This allowed us to learn more about other departments and more fully understand how each works together. Our class represents every corner of our field, and we each look forward to going home and serving our organizations as better bankers and leaders because of the opportunity to attend Louisiana Tech University’s School of Banking.”

Courses taught by Louisiana Tech faculty members, top banking executives, consultants, and regulators covered a variety of topics including operations, risk management, liquidity, marketing, sales, and regulations.

“The Louisiana Tech School of Banking is not just for those who are early in their banking career; it is also for those who have had years of experience in the banking field,” said Kim Lee, vice president and compliance officer for Community Bank of Louisiana. “I had the opportunity to network with other banking professionals and to share ideas that directly impact our day-to-day operations. I am thankful that my employer allowed me to attend this school to gain more knowledge in an ever-changing economic environment.”

The event concluded with a graduation ceremony celebrating 35 bankers who completed their second year of the School of Banking.

2024 School of Banking Graduates

  • Mitchell Best, Louisiana Land Bank, ACA
  • Jason Blalock, Red River Bank
  • Kaila Boire, b1BANK
  • Royce Boyer, b1BANK
  • Courtney Carter Duplessis, Bank of Zachary
  • Jarred Cram, Bonvenu 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, United Mississippi Bank
  • Bill Gibson, Gibsland Bank & Trust
  • Jessica Jester, Bonvenu Bank
  • Dylan Knotek, BOM Bank
  • Layne LaBudde, First Horizon Bank
  • Brenner Mabry, Bank OZK
  • Titan Marler, BOM Bank
  • Anna Martin, Bank of Oak Ridge
  • 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
  • Robin Pearson, FISC
  • Wayne Robinson, Jr., Synergy Bank
  • Kyle Sisson, Mer Rouge State Bank
  • David Stephens, Citizens Progressive Bank
  • Reed Trisler, Guaranty Bank & Trust
  • Jonathan Vedros, b1BANK
  • Jonathan Wall, BOM Bank
  • Trent Williams, Winnsboro State Bank
  • Mackenzie Willis, Louisiana National Bank

A cohort of 40 bankers completed their first year of courses and will return in June 2025 for a second year featuring BankExec simulations and case studies that will complement classroom discussions.

2024 School of Banking First-Year Participants

  • 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

For Whitney Boyd, vice president and branch manager for Bank of St. Francisville, attending the School was an opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

“The School of Banking is an excellent investment,” said Boyd. “It allowed me to hear and interact with the best speakers in a comfortable setting, enhancing our understanding of each concept. The program as a whole is an unbelievable experience that I highly recommend. I’m incredibly grateful for the connections I made while there—all made possible by my bank’s belief in me.”

Each second-year banker participated in BankExec, an intensive simulation designed to provide an understanding of financial management challenges in banks. Divided into seven banks, teams competed throughout the week and presented their final results prior to graduation. The following team was the 2024 winner:

Bank of Hope

  • Chad Doucet, South Louisiana Bank
  • Layne LaBudde, First Horizon Bank
  • Reed Trisler, Guaranty Bank & Trust
  • Jonathan Vedros, b1BANK
  • Mackenzie Willis, Louisiana National Bank

Sponsors for the Louisiana Tech School of Banking include b1BANK (presenting), Bonvenu 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 2025 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 nationally ranked College offers eight undergraduate degree programs in addition to the master of business administration, master of accountancy, and Ph.D. in business administration. For more information, visit