Drake Mills, CEO, Community Trust Bank

Consumer Products & Services, Finalist

When Drake Mills started his career at Community Trust Bank in 1984 as a check file clerk, the bank had one location with nine employees. After working his way through the company, Mills became CEO in 2003 when the bank had four locations and less than 100 employees. Today, the bank has nearly 500 employees.

During the past three years, income for the bank is up 150 percent and assets are up 70 percent. However, Mills doesn’t focus so much on growth, income and assets. Instead, he focuses on the areas of people and reputation. Being a service firm, like a financial institution, brand and reputation take years to build, but only one incident can erode that confidence.

Reputation is both for the employees, having a place to work that you are proud of, and for customers, having a partner you trust and respect. Secondly, people have been a focus. The various people initiatives the company has led have not come from management but from younger employees who bring ideas to management. This has resulted in the company being named the employer of the year for the area for several consecutive years.

While Mills has been steering the bank in the right direction, his time of leadership hasn’t been without its challenges. The growth of the company has been significant considering the macro environment since 2004, which has included the recession, a housing crisis a financial meltdown and regulatory matters with the Dodd-Frank Act.

Community Trust Bank’s growth is the result of remaining focused and steadfast to guiding principles and not taking short-term growth opportunities that aren’t core to those principles. Mills empowers his employees to be owners of the brand and constantly stresses the banks values of innovation, flexibility and forward thinking.

How to reach: Community Trust Bank, www.ctbonline.com