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Leadership Team and Board of Directors

Meet our leaders who are committed to setting a higher standard in the banking industry.

Leadership Team

Chris J. Murphy

Chairman

Chris J. Murphy

Chairman

As owner and chairman, Chris views First Westroads Bank as a family endeavor, not just because both of his children are involved in the organization, but because everyone who works there is treated like a member of the family.

Chris got his first taste of banking when he was recruited by a senior executive who took him under his wing. From that time on, Chris knew it was the career for him. He wasn’t wrong.

Chris’s vision for First Westroads Bank, which hasn’t changed in more than 30 years, is to create an atmosphere and approach that exceeds customers’ expectations and celebrates their successes. One that does away with red tape, empowering employees to wear many hats, and be available and ready to react when customers need them. He wants business owners of all industries and levels of experience, including physicians, to walk through the doors and know they’re in good hands, because they are.

When it comes to his beloved city, Omaha, Chris believes that you can’t call yourself a community bank without giving back to the community. For as long as he can remember, First Westroads Bank has been building relationships and partnerships with local nonprofit organizations to help raise awareness and further their efforts.

When he’s not working, which is rare, you can find Chris on the golf course perfecting his swing. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Betsy, and children, Daniel and Annie.

Mark E. Ellerbeck

President and CEO

Mark E. Ellerbeck

President and CEO

Most college students change their major a few times before landing on an area of study, and even then they’re not always sure of their decision. Not Mark. With razor-sharp focus and an unswerving desire to work in the financial industry, Mark majored in finance. It was and continues to be a great fit.

Mark started his career as a personal banker with an emphasis on the retail side of banking. A couple of years later, he migrated to the commercial side and has been honing his knowledge in commercial banking, credit administration and management ever since.

Mark views every day as an opportunity to help the bank’s customers achieve their dreams, not just by providing products and services and calling it good, but by building lasting relationships. He wants to hear the customers’ backstories, because he knows that understanding where the customer is coming from makes all the difference.

Having worked in larger banks, Mark prefers the personalized approach of a community bank. Employees are empowered to do what needs to be done for customers. They view it as a partnership, investing in customers’ achievements and successes. What he truly loves about being president of First Westroads Bank is leading a group of passionate people willing to go above and beyond, every single day.

When Mark’s not in the office, you can find him either on a golf course or cheering the loudest at a Creighton Bluejays game. Of course, his favorite activity is spending time with his wife, Sharon, and his children, Emma, Sam and Annie.

Maria Pauley

Chief Financial Officer / Cashier

Maria Pauley

Chief Financial Officer / Cashier

Maria’s extensive banking knowledge and expertise is long and quite impressive. She has more than 20 years in the industry under her belt, having focused on finance, analysis, planning, treasury, debt partnerships and accounting for both the business and consumer sectors. She is excited to be able to provide customers with the best solutions possible.

Maria was drawn to banking just as the industry was transforming the customer experience. She found it exciting to see an old establishment incorporate technology across multiple platforms to increase and enhance consumer touchpoints. Banking became innovative, convenient and easy to access, yet at the same time made the interactions even more personal.

Maria joined First Westroads Bank because she felt a kinship to the people there and the shared desire to positively impact the lives of the customers they serve. She loves the team’s tenacity and positive attitude. She believes the bank’s culture is what makes all the difference in a community bank.

When Maria isn’t in the office, you can find her reading, gardening or spending quality time with her husband, Mark, her children, Alena and Ben, and her two rescued fur babies.

Carl E. Bartholomew

Senior Vice President / Commercial Lending

Carl E. Bartholomew

Senior Vice President / Commercial Lending

Carl always wanted a career that allowed him to work in the finance industry and help people take their vision from idea to successful business. He found his calling in commercial lending. He really enjoys working one-on-one with customers, listening to their goals and finding the right solution to help them make it happen. Working in a community bank allows him to really dive into the client’s world and customize products for their needs. He gets to work with a variety of clients who come from all walks of life and varied business backgrounds.

Although Carl has a diverse banking background, his areas of expertise are commercial and industrial lending, commercial real estate and treasury management. He finds the diversity of industries in which he works interesting, challenging and rewarding. He and his team are dedicated to helping each other and are truly passionate about doing what’s right for the customer.

When Carl is not in the office, you can find him hitting the golf course in the summer and hunting in the colder months. He’s also a devoted Husker fan. Carl lives in Omaha with his wife, Jennifer, and his daughter, Anna.

Timothy J. Riha

Senior Vice President / Commercial Lending

Timothy J. Riha

Senior Vice President / Commercial Lending

Banking has been a part of Tim’s life for as long as he can remember. His dad spent the majority of his career at the same bank in South Omaha, starting in the back room when he was about 18 years old and working his way up the ladder until he became president of the bank. Tim was able to learn all aspects of banking, including how to take care of clients, from his dad. Prior to his dad’s retirement, Tim saw firsthand how important the client relationship was when father and son had the opportunity to work together for multiple years.

Tim has been in the finance industry for more than 20 years. His area of focus is commercial lending, which he enjoys, as it provides him with an opportunity to work closely with clients and provide solutions through the services offered by First Westroads.

Tim appreciates working with the First Westroads Bank team. He believes that each employee makes the others better. It’s a great group of people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and pitch in whenever they’re needed.

When not in the office, you can find Tim cheering on his kids from the sidelines as he attends cross-country meets, golf tournaments, football games and gymnastics competitions. He lives in Omaha with his wife, Mary, and his three children, Jack, Hanna and Ben.

Cheri K. Novak

Vice President / Loan Operations

Cheri K. Novak

Vice President / Loan Operations

Cheri started her banking career at First Westroads Bank when a friend working there recruited her as a teller. That was more than 40 years ago. Throughout the years, Cheri gained experience and garnered a wealth of knowledge as she rose through the ranks. Today, she oversees loan operations, also applying her expertise in reviewing and auditing loans.

Cheri would love to shatter the stereotype of “banker’s hours,” which, she assures us, is pure myth. When the bank lobby is closed for customers, she remains in her office ensuring that loans are taking place and solutions are being provided to customers.

She loves working at First Westroads Bank because, as a community bank, it allows her to juggle a variety of responsibilities. The team atmosphere and can-do attitudes of the other employees are also a definite bonus.

When she’s not in the office, Cheri spends time volunteering at her church.

Denise Bond

BSA Officer / Operations Manager

Denise Bond

BSA Officer / Operations Manager

Though Denise didn’t start her career in banking, she worked with enough loan officers to know it’s what she wanted to do. You see, she started her career in the title insurance industry and worked with numerous loan officers on closing loans. She befriended many of them, and when a position opened up, she was recruited to join the loans team.

When Denise made the jump to banking, she spent the first few years as a loan administrative assistant in residential mortgage lending. Her background in insurance, her astute mind and a passion for serving customers earned her the position of BSA Officer / Operations Manager.

Denise truly enjoys the interactions she has with customers and working among a group of people who always put customers first. Like all First Westroads Bank employees, she is the reason this community bank will do more to further dreams than other banks.

When she’s not in the office, Denise enjoys family time with her husband, Steve, her children, Michelle, Kadie, Molly and Travis, and her grandchild Seeley.

Daniel J. Murphy

Director of Marketing

Daniel J. Murphy

Director of Marketing

First Westroads Bank has been a part of Daniel’s life from an early age. The bank is a family business that has taught him a lot about integrity, transparency and community. He was drawn to working alongside his father when he witnessed firsthand the excitement and fulfillment that comes with helping customers realize their dreams, whether that’s a business owner expanding a company, an entrepreneur turning a vision into reality, or a young couple buying their first home.

Daniel leads the bank’s marketing department. He focuses on connecting and communicating with the business community, local residents and area nonprofits through strong branding and marketing efforts. He also plays a role in helping the bank implement the latest technology to provide an enhanced customer experience at every touchpoint.

Daniel wants all customers, including present and future ones, to understand that working with First Westroads Bank will never be purely transactional. Employees are dedicated to building relationships with each customer, driven by a desire to do what’s right for everyone who walks through the doors.

Though Daniel started his career in journalism for a newspaper in Chicago, he sees himself working hard to uphold his family’s legacy within the bank.

When Daniel’s not in the office, you can find him outdoors golfing, hiking or playing tennis. He lives in Omaha with his golden retriever, Pete Murphy.

Board of Directors

Bob Dalrymple

Retired EVP / Midwest Division Executive

Bank of the West

Chris J. Murphy

Chairman

First Westroads Bank

Daniel J. Murphy

Director of Marketing

First Westroads Bank

Gary K. Witt

Retired President

Lutz & Company

John M. Blazek

President

JMB Capital LLC

Mark E. Ellerbeck

President and CEO

First Westroads Bank

Michael E. Leighton

President & CEO, Retired

Omaha Community Foundation

Stephen F. Robinson

Retired President

First Westroads Bank

Thomas K. Nichting

Managing Director

Red Diamond Capital

John Nahas

President

Corporate Management Consulting