April 30, 2020
Happy State Bank Announces New Chief Executive Officer
AMARILLO, TX – Happy State Bank, the second largest bank in the Panhandle and 19th largest bank in Texas has a new CEO for the first time in 30 years. Chairman J. Pat Hickman announced the appointment of Mikel Williamson, as Chief Executive Officer. Hickman will retain the title as Chairman of Happy State Bank and Happy Bancshares, Inc. moving forward. In this continuing active role, he will focus on shareholder, director and employee relations, as well as strategic acquisitions. The announcement was made last week at the 30th annual Happy Bancshares, Inc. shareholders meeting.
“I am excited about our bank’s future with Mikel at the helm. I have every confidence in his banking savvy and people skills. He has actually been running the day-to-day operations for the past eighteen months as we’ve achieved record earnings and growth. He is a wonderful husband and father, an outstanding faithbased leader, and a talented, intelligent banker. It’s going to be fun to watch Mikel lead this Happy Team to whole new heights.”
“I am honored to be handed the torch. Pat has always been a great leader, mentor and friend to me. He has taught me so much. I look forward to continuing the successful legacy established by Happy State Bank. Happy will continue to focus on what we do best, taking care of our customers, employees and leading with our core values. The business success accomplished in 30 years under Pat’s leadership would take others many generations to match” said Williamson. He also added, “One of the things, I am most excited about is that Pat will continue in an active role as Chairman of our Board focused on shareholder relations, employees and culture.”
Hickman led a group of investors that purchased the First State Bank of Happy, Texas in 1990. At that time the bank had six employees and $10 million in assets. The bank quickly expanded to Canyon, Amarillo and then throughout the Panhandle. In 2004 the name was changed to the unforgettable Happy State Bank and Trust Company. The acquisition of the $800 million Lubbock based Centennial Bank should consummate later this year.
Today, Happy State Bank operates from 43 locations in 32 Texas communities and has over 770 employees with $4 Billion in assets. While achieving that growth, the bank was also named among the nations “Best Banks to Work For” by American Banker six years in a row and the 3rd Best Bank in Texas in 2018 by Forbes.
A Canyon, Texas native, Hickman attended Texas Tech University and West Texas A&M University. He was appointed in 2019 by Governor Greg Abbott to a three-year term on the Texas Economic Development Corporation. Hickman was Chairman of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. He is a past honoree in the Canyon High School Hall of Fame and also as “Citizen of the Year” in Canyon. He has served on numerous committees and boards, and is currently active on the Amarillo Community Prayer Breakfast Committee and the Texas Tech Foundation Board. He and his wife, Nancy have four children and fifteen grandchildren. They attend Hillside Christian Church.
Williamson was elected to the Happy Board of Directors last year after being named President of the Bank in 2018. He also served as Chief Operating Officer from 2015 to 2019. Previously he had served as the Bank’s DFW Market President.
Originally from Whitehouse, Texas, Williamson has 24 years of experience in the banking industry. He earned a Business Administration degree in Strategic Management from the University of North Texas. Currently, Williamson serves on the Board of Governors for Northwest Texas Healthcare System, the Board of Directors for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) and is a Board of Directors member of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. Mikel was recently appointed to a national board with FIS, the largest computer core provider to financial institutions in the nation. Mikel and Stephanie, his wife of 20 years, have two daughters: Kate (15) and Claire (11) and they attend Hillside Christian Church.
The annual shareholders meeting was converted to a virtual setting using web conferencing technology that included the ability to take motions and questions from shareholders due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has created all sorts of challenges, but our staff has maintained their focus on our customers,” said Williamson. “A big part of putting our customers first was the Paycheck Protection Program. Our team was working 24 hours a day to process and fund PPP loans. We were able to close and fund more than $211 million in the first round, saving over 27,000 jobs. It has been incredibly rewarding to see everyone step up and produce for our customers. I am so proud of our team. We will continue to be here for our customers.”
Hickman added, “It’s been most gratifying watching Mikel lead our staff through Covid-19. Seeing them solve every problem has confirmed to me, that he is the perfect person to lead this bank”.