Q & A With Mark Mickeriz
Mark Mickeriz was named president and CEO of Sanford Institution for Savings in June of this year, upon the retirement of Rodney Normand. Mickeriz was most recently vice president, commercial loans/business development at Camden National Bank’s Kennebunk office. He is former executive vice president/administration of The Ocean National Bank in Kennebunk. Mickeriz is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He is active in Rotary and serves as treasurer and endowment chair for the Senior Center at Lower Village.
Q: What is the greatest challenge facing a new CEO?
The greatest challenge is managing change, and more importantly managing the fear of the unknown. With the hiring of a new CEO, employees expect that there will be changes and they can understandably be apprehensive about how these changes will affect them. The challenge is to plot an appropriate course of action and communicate it effectively along the way.
Q: What has been easier than you expected?
The ease of my transition. First, the directors and employees of SIS have welcomed me with open arms and have been very supportive as I learn about the bank’s culture, systems and procedures. Second, prior to taking over as CEO, I had the benefit of spending a month with my predecessor, Rodney Normand. Rod’s insight and historical perspective have been invaluable.
Q: Has anything been more difficult?
As the new guy, I have about 1,000 things I want to accomplish, and of course, the workday goes by in a flash. I have to keep reminding myself to be patient and to prioritize.
Q: What are the idiosyncrasies of doing business in your market area?
At the time of this interview, we just learned that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has been scratched from the base closure list. This is particularly good news for SIS in that a healthy proportion of our customer base directly or indirectly benefits from the employment provided by the base.
Our core markets are Greater Sanford, Rural York County and Coastal York County. Each area has its differences in culture and economic vitality. Sanford is a great town with a rich history steeped in manufacturing. Rural York County is experiencing in-migration due to more affordable housing, and Coastal York County is vibrant as long as tourism and retirement destination continue to be drawing cards. In a nutshell, we deal with three distinct markets.
Q: What past experience best prepared you for this job?
I’ve been in banking for almost 30 years and have enjoyed great on-the-job and educational experiences along the way. I started at Bank of Maine in Augusta and received an excellent indoctrination through their management trainee program. I then had the privilege of managing all facets of community banking in a long career at Ocean National followed by a short, but very rewarding stint at Camden National Bank. At each stage of my career, I absorbed as much as possible, and I call on those experiences every day in this new job.
Q: What advice would you give those aspiring to senior management?
Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. The best way to learn about business is to experience it from the inside. Also, always be willing to learn. Attend classes, conferences, and seminars to better your understanding of banking and business in general.
Q: What are banking’s greatest challenges today?
Managing interest margins and hiring and retaining good personnel.
Q: What publications do you read regularly?
Local daily and weekly newspapers, Wall Street Journal, miscellaneous trade publications, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.
Q: What Web sites do you visit regularly?
Yahoo! Finance, FHLBBoston, Google for research.
Q:What books have you read recently?
I am currently reading “Faithful” by Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King, a “diary” of the 2004 Red Sox season. I just hope we can do it all again in 2005!