New London CEO worked 40 years in banking
First State Bank recently announced that long-time chief executive officer and former bank president, Harry A. Radix, is retiring on Jan. 29, after a 33-year career with First State Bank and 40 years in banking.
Radix started in banking in 1975 at a bank in Green Bay while attending St. Norbert College. When Radix came to First State Bank in April 1983 as cashier, he was in charge of the bank’s accounting, data processing, and microcomputer departments.
“In today’s highly electronic world, it’s hard to remember that there was a time when computers and electronic banking were not commonplace,” Radix said. “First State Bank installed its first ATM in 1986 and it really wasn’t until the 1990s that banking technology took a significant leap forward.”
Radix was promoted to vice president and cashier in 1984 at which time human resources was added to his responsibilities. He was again promoted in 1990 to senior vice president and cashier, and was elected to First State Bank’s board of directors in 1991. Later that year, Radix was named executive vice president and chief executive officer (CEO).
He was elected bank president in 1995, a position Radix held until early 2015 when his retirement plans were officially announced and Robert Van Asten was named to succeed him as president. For the past year, Radix has continued as CEO, working closely with Van Asten and the bank’s board of directors to assure a smooth transition.
Under Radix’s leadership, First State Bank expanded from two to six bank offices and grew total assets from $131 million in 1990 to $260 million as of today. His banking leadership extended far beyond First State Bank.
He served in leadership roles and on committees for regional, state, and national banking organizations like the Bank Administration Institute, Wisconsin Bankers Association, ABA Community Banker’s Council, and Waupaca County Banker’s Association.
“There were always opportunities to learn how other banks were doing things in their communities and to help our industry stay on top of issues and initiatives that were important,” Radix said.
Community involvement was also a hallmark of Radix.
“As an independent community bank, First State Bank has always been a leader in the communities it serves through its charitable contributions and by encouraging staff members to be involved,” he said.
Radix, himself, volunteered for dozens of organizations and community efforts over the years. He was one of the individuals that led the effort to keep a United Way in New London. He served on the New London Family Medical Center board for 12 years as board member as well as treasurer. He was a founding member of the Wolf River Area Healthcare Foundation (now ThedaCare Foundation – New London) and served as its president from 2003 to 2012. During that time, the foundation raised funds for a number of hospital needs including the remodeling of the birth center and a new chemotherapy suite.
Other organizations for which Radix served include the board of directors for Rawhide Boys Ranch, the New London Lions Club, the New London Rotary Club, New London Community Development Corporation, Friends of Scouting, the New London Police and Fire Commission, and Most Precious Blood Church.
Radix received the 2010 National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award from the Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The award was in recognition of Radix’s efforts to improve quality of life through dedication to philanthropy.
“Harry was a huge influence on me personally to not only get involved in the community but to seek out leadership roles in our local organizations,” said long-time First State Bank marketing officer, Brenda Hansen. “Leadership is something that develops over time and through mentoring. Harry was that inspiration for me.”
Radix’s last day at First State Bank is the end of January.
“We invite customers, community members, and friends to stop by our New London bank lobby during business hours on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 28, to wish Harry well in his retirement and enjoy refreshments. Harry has had the opportunity to touch so many people; it’s going to be a fun send off.” Hansen said.