Tommy Olson, Old National Bank

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Tommy Olson, SVP, corporate banking team lead, Old National Bank.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

I really enjoy working with companies and people on some of the most important and intimate decisions that they will make. Being in that position is both challenging and rewarding, as the stakes are very high. The goal is always to be supportive and do what’s best for the client. Sometimes the best deals are ones that never cross the finish line. Typically, we can find a way to help our clients improve the position of their business. How could you not love a job where you spend a significant amount of your time helping clients win?

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

John Ronzia, SVP at Oak Bank, has been one of my most important mentors to this point in my career. I grew up in commercial banking under him, and we shared great success together. John has all the skills and intangibles that you would want in your top commercial lender and leader. John is a fount of knowledge and experience that I really benefited from in my early years of lending, and continue to benefit from today.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

The high point of my career has been the past year. I was with another financial institution for nine years prior to making the jump to ONB in early 2017. It was a very tough decision after spending my entire career with the other institution, but the opportunity to join ONB and help lead their C&I (business) lending efforts in the state was such an intriguing opportunity. In a year of soft commercial loan demand nationally, our business grew at a significant pace and my team was an integral part of that growth.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Be patient! You’re entering the workforce during the depths of one of the worst recessions you will face in life. Things work out and the investments that you make in yourself will pay off, but just enjoy the ride. This is easier said than done. While I really dislike stereotypes, being impatient tends to be one that holds true for millennials (especially this one).



What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

I truly enjoy the people. Are we all just nicer than everywhere else? While my business responsibilities take me outside of Dane County, it is so refreshing to come back into town and go for a walk around the square or grab a great lunch at The Old Fashioned. How can you beat finishing up the day at the Capital Brewery? My wife, Jenny, and I also enjoy taking our 4-year-old son, Tre, to the Henry Vilas Zoo and the farmers market.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I am a pretty good Scrabble player, to the point that most of my family outside of my mom will not play the game with me. I learned the game from my great-grandmother at an early age. This probably makes me sound much smarter than I really am. The differentiator for me isn’t a robust vocabulary; it is seeing the board ahead, and strategically putting myself in a position to score well.

What are your guilty pleasures?

I love Starbucks and I don’t drink coffee! I may or may not be known in two separate Starbucks locations, including the one on the Square. Every time I walk in, they know what I’m having, and we have a quick catch-up conversation versus actually having to order. If you get a chance, try the Strawberry Acai Refresher, and it’s even better with a touch of lemonade. You won’t regret trying it!

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