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Posted By Joe Hamilton


The Bank of Tampa, the oldest and largest community bank in the Tampa-St. Pete area, has a new market leader in Pinellas County. Owen LaFave, an 18-year veteran of the banking and finance industry, brings passion and energy to the role, as he works to build on the success the bank has had since entering the market about 7 years ago. He's played a key role in expanding the bank's commercial real estate presence in Pinellas County, and a key priority is affordable or attainable housing.

Years in St. Pete

8 days in St. Pete; 27 years in Tampa Bay

Organizations involved in

Right now, all very Tampa-centric but that's changing rapidly. The Tampa Downtown Partnership, Neighborhood Lending Partners, First Housing, Past President of NAIOP.

What gets you out of bed every day?

Really just wanting to make a difference. I'm from the Midwest so I think I've held some of those values that my parents were nice enough to instill in me. Do the right thing, work hard and make a difference. Whether it's to myself or someone else, or for a mission or a cause, if I've felt that I've made a difference for that day, then I've won the day.

Why St. Pete?

I think there's an incredible opportunity in banking, but specifically in St. Pete. I had managed a commercial real estate group for the Bank of Tampa for the last six years and when I look at the banking landscape and see how much consolidation there's been in the market - and specifically the vacuum here in Pinellas/St. Petersburg in community banking -I think there's a great opportunity for us to continue to build upon the success we've already here in this market and bring our brand of banking to Pinellas and St. Pete.

What is one habit that you keep?

I make my bed every day. That resonated with me and if I've not been successful at all I can come home and see that I've made my bed and at least I did one thing for the day.

who are some people that influence you?

My mom was a great influence growing up. Our CEO Bill West is an amazing leader, some of our other leaders at the bank, David Moore our COO, Corey Neil our Chief Banking Officer. Podcasts: Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Peter Drucker.

What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?

I've really come to appreciate how much emotional intelligence and self-awareness is key to being successful in personal relationships.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?

That I would be in St. Pete right now at this moment. I had no expectations, I was planning to continue to focus on commercial real estate. I know real estate folks in Pinellas County and St. Pete, I'm a little light on my personal relationships in the business community. If I would have known that, I would have spent a little more time getting to know the general business community outside of real estate specific people.

What’s next?

Make the Pinellas division of the Bank of Tampa as successful as we've been in Tampa for the past 34 years.

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