Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 8:11 am
BY JOE PERRY Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. – Leaders of business and industry gathered Tuesday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn to welcome representatives from Ruiz Foods, Honda of South Carolina, South East Express and Johnson Controls who have recently moved to the area.
The event was sponsored by First Reliance Bank and Raldex Hospitality. The aim was to simply welcome newcomers and let them know Florence is happy to have them, said Joan Billheimer, community development officer for the bank.
“We’re getting ready to start the second line,” said Jim Bowman, Ruiz Foods’ operations manager. “Things are looking good. so we’re excited to make product.”
Bowman, who hails from Davenport, Iowa, joined the family-owned and California-based company after working for Oscar Meyer for 20 years, and was referring to a line of snack foods known as Tornados that are commonly found on convenience store roller grills.
It was at the company’s Denison, Texas, plant where he first started working for Ruiz Foods, and now he’s happy to have moved with his family to the Pee Dee.
“A great company to work for,” he said. “They’re really people-oriented; a great culture as well.”
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Florence banking community flourishes over the years
This excerpt of the article was posted, Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:00 am in the Morning News. The article was written by and is posted in Courtesy of JOE PERRY Morning News firstname.lastname@example.org The full article can be viewed by clicking on the following link: http://www.scnow.com/news/business/local/article_f5652b8c-ed18-11e5-9401-4bce3de4e58e.html
FLORENCE, S.C. – When Rick Saunders was a young man still finding his way in the world, he fell in love. With the finance industry.
“I tripped over myself and landed in it,” he said, laughing. “I was a typical young man concerned about what path in life I would take.”
The 55-year-old Sumter native who grew up in Timmonsville first worked in consumer finance before delving into banking.
“It wasn’t until a company I was working for was sold to a much larger organization that I realized the need for clarity around my beliefs and the definition of success,” he said.
During this defining time in his life, the concept of First Reliance was born.
Having innovative ideas and his creativity stymied was also “extremely frustrating,” he said, and when his brother Paul and good friend Dale Porter came up with the idea to start their own bank, he was intrigued.
Feb 12, 2015, Florence, S.C. - Rick Saunders, President/CEO was recognized with an Entrepreneur Award from the Florence Darlington Technical College February 11, 2016 at their second annual entrepreneurial forum.
Rick, his brother Paul and friend, Dale Porter started the bank because they saw a need for a bank that was designed and operated with the community in mind. One with strong values, and an even stronger team of associates. They saw a need to create a bank that could become a rock in the community, based on trust and relationships; one that could make a real difference in the lives of its customers. They saw a need for a better bank. So they followed their dream to start a bank and contribute to their community in 1999 and First Reliance Bank was born.
It took hard work and passion and learning from others, all traits the other recipients of this year’s Entrepreneur Award also cited. Saunders credited the desire to be a compulsive learner who strives to read two books a month and keep a 5 mentor arsenal ready at all times. He is most proud of how associates of the bank stay involved in and contribute to betterment of the
Feb 24, 2015, Florence, S.C. – First Reliance Bank recently announced that seventeen associates have been named to the 2015 President’s Club.
Each year, as part of the bank’s associate rewards and recognition program, all managers have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding associate and submit a detailed reason of why the chosen associate deserves the award. Executive Management then carefully reviews the nominations and selects the associates who go above and beyond performance expectations and who are the best role models for living the values of First Reliance Bank.
President’s Club awards are for outstanding sales and service, operational excellence, professional, and leadership. The 2015 President’s Club Winners are: Wendy Cooley,Charleston Service, Neil Oliver, Charleston Sales, Donna Smith, Indirect Sales, Gail Berry, Lexington Service, Jason Koth, Lexington Sales, Sherry Byrd, Mortgage Operations, Johnny Nexsen, Mortgage Sales, Robyn Paul, Mortgage Sales, Phyllis Brosh, Wholesale / Correspondent Mortgage, Shayna Wallace, Florence Service, Marie Wheeler, Florence Service, Denise Lee, Florence Sales, Angela Cook, Florence Sales, Cammie Clavon, Customer Care and Deposit Ops, Darlene McCall-Grant, Professional, Mike Dowling, Professional, Wendy Edgerton, Loan Operations.
“Announcing the associates who are in the President’s Club is always something I look forward to each year. It’s just as hard for