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December 18, 2014

Cheaha Bank vice president learned work ethics early

Lamar Sims is past president of Exchange Club

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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 7:34 pm | Updated: 7:37 pm, Tue Jul 15, 2014.

Lamar Sims received an early introduction to the business world, thanks to his late father, Kenneth Sims. The older Sims owned a convenience store and seven fireworks stores, which provided a job for his son during summers and on weekends. As a result, strong work ethics were established in Lamar early in his adolescence.

Deciding on a career was no problem for Sims after the exposure he’d had to his father’s many businesses. After graduating from Saks High School in 1985, he received a bachelor’s in finance from Jacksonville State University. His first job after college was at a finance company in Northport near Tuscaloosa. He left that job to work at SouthTrust Bank in Gadsden as a lender.

Sims has worked at Cheaha Bank since 2007. Currently, he is vice president and is manager of the Jacksonville branch, which opened in 2008.

Having had a taste of business in his younger years, Sims realized the financial burdens one can face in owning a business. That motivated him to want to help those who are in business for themselves or those who are trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.

“Being in the banking profession gives me the opportunity to help people reach their personal and financial goals,” said Sims. “Working in banking is awesome and very rewarding. It makes me want to come into work every day.” 

Sims was born in Boaz. His family moved to the Saks area when he was in seventh grade. He is the son of Shirley Sackett of Weaver. His sister, Roxanne, lives in Piedmont.

Sims has been married to the former Emily Mendiola for almost 22 years. They moved to Jacksonville from Weaver in 2008.

“We wanted our family to be more of a part of the Jacksonville community,” said Sims.

Their sons Tanner, 19, and Payton, 18, graduated from Jacksonville High School and are now attending Enterprise State College on baseball scholarships. 

Sims is an active member and past president of the Exchange Club, and he’s on the Industrial Development Board for the city. He served 14 years in the Alabama Air National Guard.

Sims and his family are members of Hill Crest Baptist Church.

He said his favorite thing is spending time with his family. He occasionally fishes and hunts.

Sims purchased Crazy Ken’s Fireworks on Alabama 21 South from his father in 1997.

He admits owning a fireworks store and having a full-time career as a banker is an unusual combination. He said owning and working at a business goes back to his teen years and also his years as a student at JSU. Like his father, it seemed to be in his blood, and he still enjoys it after all these years.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to pay my own way through college by working at Sears part-time and the GI Bill,” said Sims. “I walked away with no debt. That’s very rare for many college graduates. Because of the sacrifices I made as a young adult, I am able to fully enjoy my life today.”

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