In 2008, Dennis Murphy was presented with a rare opportunity in the banking sector: to help launch a bank, as a loan officer and founding shareholder, before he turned 30.
That was with Sarasota-based Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida. Murphy’s mentor, Shaun Merriman, wanted to woo Murphy away from AmSouth Bank, where they both had worked. “It was a real risk,” says Murphy, “to go from the certainty at AmSouth, where I had an established career path” to a new and unproven bank.
A Gainesville native and University of Florida graduate, Murphy pursued the startup option — the best move he says he’s ever made in his career. Murphy has since been promoted several times at Gateway, which had $303.7 million in assets through June 30. “In this challenging banking environment,” Merriman said in a January 2015 statement announcing Murphy’s promotion to executive vice president, “Murphy’s excellent credit and lending skills have been instrumental and invaluable to Gateway’s success.”
Two aspects of his job continue to motivate Murphy. One is the lending, particularly when the economy is doing well, and Gateway gets to play a role in helping business clients grow. Murphy also likes being able to get an inside look at how a variety of businesses work.
The other side, he says, is helping people succeed and grow in their careers. Well-known in the Sarasota business-networking scene, Murphy tries to lead through example and outworking others.
“I don’t get up each day just trying to be marginal,” he says.
— Mark Gordon
Name: Dennis Murphy
City of residence: Sarasota, FL
Twitter handle: N/A.
Employer: Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida
Title: Executive Vice President / Senior Lending Officer
Birthplace: Gainesville, FL
Years on the Gulf Coast: 27
Marital status/children: Married (Rebecca Murphy) with two daughters; Melanie (7) and Layla (5)
Alma mater: University of Florida (Undergraduate) and University of South Florida (Graduate)
Best place to network: Either the Chamber of Commerce or the EDC. Both organizations have great events that are attended by like minded business people interested in expanding their networks and making the area a more vibrant business community.
Coolest business experience: Probably a recent trip to Capitol Hill with other Florida Bankers Association members in which, among other things, we got to tour the halls of Congress, meet with FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg at the FDIC building, and tour the Federal Reserve building. At the Federal Reserve building we had a briefing with the current FED Secretary Robert deV. Frierson in the boardroom where the Federal Open Market Committee meets to discuss our nation’s monetary policy. Oh….and don’t tell Ms. Yellen, but I got to sit in her chair!
Messy desk or clean workspace: Depends on the week. I think “clean but with piles” is probably the most accurate description.
Best business lesson ever learned: An early business lesson I learned from my Dad is that there’s no substitute for hard work. Pretty much all things in business and in life that are worth striving for don’t come easily. You have to be willing to put forth extraordinary effort to achieve extraordinary results.
A website that makes your job easier: snl.com. Keeps me up-to-date with what's going on in the banking industry and with the economy.
Community group you’re most involved with: The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce where I currently serve as Treasurer and am a member of the Board of Directors.
Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time on the water with my family.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: One would be my mother Melanie (deceased) whom my oldest daughter is named after. I never really got to know her. Another would probably be the 'Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. I grew up going to the Gator football games with my dad and have a lot of fond memories of those times. Coach Spurrier changed the entire culture of Gator football. I'd love to hear some of his stories about his teams and players over the years. Go Gators!!!
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: I would love to either be a professional golfer or a fishing captain. However, since I'm not particularly good at either, I'll go with a financial adviser. It's a role where I could still use my financial training and background, be around people, and ultimately help them meet their financial goals and objectives.
Top item on your bucket list: I'd like to spend a few months (maybe an entire summer) living on a catamaran in the Caribbean sailing from port to port. Just my wife and I, some Jimmy Buffet on the radio, and a bottle of our local Siesta Key Spiced Rum. Sounds like paradise to me!
Skill you’d like to learn: Windsurfing.....has always looked like a lot of fun!
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Since a story about the life of a Banker would need to be spiced up a bit for people to go see it, I'll go with Matt Damon….the movie would be titled "The Bourne Banker!" Ha ha.
If I had a magic wand I’d: I'd ensure my daughters grow up happy and safe. It's an increasingly dangerous world we live in and I just want the best for them both.