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On the Job with Phil Franklin

Phil Franklin is the Albany Market President at Colony Bank and is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University.

Phil Franklin is the Albany Market President at Colony Bank and is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University.

NAME: Phil Franklin

AGE: 63

POSITION: Albany Market President, Colony Bank

FAMILY: Married to Celia with children Lorie, Brad, Traci, Clay and Colby

EDUCATION: Albany High School, Georgia Southwestern State University.

When Phil Franklin went to college , he assumed he would study business and eventually wind up managing a company.

Instead he took a job at a savings and loan association and was bitten by the banking bug. Instead of managing those businesses, Franklin was financing them.

Today, Franklin says he enjoys helping people realize their dreams of creating or revitalizing their business.

He trains bird dogs, and has always loved to ride horses. In fact, it’s been his fantasy to experience life as a cowboy.

Franklin shared this question and answer session with Herald reporter Jim West.

Q. What was your first job?

A. Bagging groceries for my daddy at Harvey’s Supermarket. I was 10 years old. I bagged groceries and stocked from 10 years old until I graduated from college.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?

A. I’m sure it was probably candy.

Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Praising them for their accomplishments. Always make sure that you praise your employees when they’re accomplishing something. That goes a long way. Even more than money.

Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to work in the banking business?

A. It was my first job right out of college. Actually, I thought, “I’ll do this till I find something I want to do.” Forty years later, I’m still doing it.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. I can’t say that I did. Nobody comes to mind. My first boss probably would be.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. Conservatism. We all kept thinking this would all continue going and going and when the recession hit we realized that we should have been a little more conservative in some of our things we did over that period. Like the Florida bubble. We knew it was going to bust somewhere, and it did.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?

A. I like all of those things. I like the automated phone systems. I don’t know there’s anything I would turn back.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. The iPhone. I can get emails away from the office if I have to. I find it’s the easiest way to get in touch with most business folks nowadays.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. I think Thanksgiving because I like to eat.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. I’m always reading financial information, financial data, but probably the book is the Bible. I’ve read it several times and I continue reading it.

Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I’m usually up at 4 a.m. and read my Bible. I learned something that keeps peace in my household — I do the kitchen before I leave every morning. My wife gets up, the kitchen is all clean. We have several dogs and I take care of them. I got a horse and I take care of that. I generally get on my stationary bike, ride that a little bit too. I’m usually at the office 7ish or before.

Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?

A. Jesus Christ, my savior. Certainly I plan on meeting him some day anyway, but that would be the person.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I like training my bird dogs and hunting. I like riding my horse. That takes up what little time I have outside of the bank.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. Nothing comes to mind. I’ve made a couple of investments I would have taken back. I think everybody’s done that.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. Being able to help people. I enjoy that. Seeing someone who takes their company and grows it and be able to be a part of that. Loaning money to people to start or further their business.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. The worst thing is having to tell folks no. Sometimes that’s necessary and hopefully it’s for their good that they can’t do it. We’ve taken the time to review their information and we’re always looking for a reason to make a loan. If we can’t, we want to be able to explain why we can’t.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Accounting, by far. You use that a lot in banking. In fact, we’re looking for folks with an accounting background.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I’ve always had horses all my life. Cutting horses, and around cows. My dream job would have been to move to Texas and work on the King Ranch for a few months or a year — just out on the range working cows on my horse.

Q. Finish this thought; “On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…”

A. Sleeping till noon. Hopefully I’d have all my honey-do’s completed by then and I could do that.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Tenacity. You’ve got to do whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter what. You’re going to run into obstacles all along the way, but you’ve got to have that drive to complete the job.

Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. I wish I could say next month, but unfortunately I think we’re another year or so out. We’ve got plenty of water and land to do plenty of things with companies moving in here. I still think it’s going to be another couple of years.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. Country all the way.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. I would hope that we see a dramatic change in our school system. I think that’s the key to a lot of our social issues. If we could strengthen our school system, get them on the right path, that is a huge plus to our community. That’s a tough job. I certainly respect anyone in that profession. They have to be the parent and the teacher sometimes. Our economy as a whole would improve.

Q. Do you have specific suggestions for strengthening the school systems?

A. I’ll go back to when I was in school. We had upper classes with kids that were more challenged and then we had middle of the road and then we had some lower classes. Now they mix all those together is my understanding. I think (what we had) was the best path. I think we saw the schools and the education in this whole country improved and now we’re so far down the list I don’t know where we are anymore. I think they call that the No Child Left Behind program.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. Regulations. I think we’re way over-regulated. Yes, there were some banks that needed some things, but on the whole we police ourselves pretty much. The government now has made it so tough to just do your job. You think you’ve done well, you go home and the next morning you read an article that says, well, you did that wrong. I think if we’d cut back on those regulations you’d see the banking industry doing a lot better.