Five years after being named president of Freedom Bank, Dave Vander Veen is about to give that job his full attention.
Vander Veen is handing off his responsibilities as chief commercial officer to a new hire with an impressive track record. Vander Veen has held both roles since 2015.
The bank's new chief commercial officer is RJ Gildea, who is a 13-year veteran banker who spent the last four years as Kansas City regional president for Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ANB Bank. Before that, he worked in Phoenix as senior vice president at Denver-based FirstBank.
"RJ is an achiever who is determined to continue working until the outcomes he is working on are recognized as the very best," Vander Veen said in a release. "He studies what needs to be done to tackle particular assignments and instinctively channels his energies towards what can be accomplished in months, years and decades ahead, and we look forward to growing the bank through RJ's leadership of the Commercial Department.
"RJ really digs in, is prepared, and gets to know people on a personal level, which leads to great relationships with customers and other members of the team."
Gildea grew up in Nebraska, graduating from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He also earned a graduate banking degree from the University of Wisconsin in 2015.
"I am thrilled to be joining a terrific and talented team of bankers at Freedom Bank," Gildea said in the release. "Being a locally owned and managed bank focused on the commercial market is a great opportunity in Kansas City these days. There are a fair number of banks in Kansas City, however, true commercial banks, especially locally owned and managed, are rare.
"Local business owners definitely benefit from the responsiveness of a local bank. When a business owner knows most of the members of the loan committee personally and they understand your business and have been to your offices, relationship banking is taken to a whole different level."
Freedom Bank was founded in 2006 by Chairman and CEO Kurt Knutson and a group of local investors. The bank has one branch just east of Metcalf on 143rd Street in Overland Park and has about $200 million in assets.