John Williamson will never forget his father’s words as they stood looking at his grandfather’s gravestone. He was a teenager at the time, just beginning to forge his own future.
“He said: ‘Never let anyone tell you you don’t take anything with you when you die,’” Williamson recalls.
“At the end of that day, you take your name with you,” says Williamson. “Who you are and what you do matters.”
That simple statement got him thinking about leaving a legacy, and what he wanted to be known for at the end of his life.
As a senior vice president and commercial banking manager at Key Bank, Williamson is deeply committed to his clients and feels a great sense of reward in helping them grow and succeed. His primary goal is to help them take care of their finances from the moment the money comes in the front door until it “goes out the back.”
“I think a lot of people confuse lending with banking. But my view of the world is, basically, a company or a business is basically a wealth engine,” Williamson explains. “The banker, if they’re doing their job correctly, is looking for ways to make that engine produce as much wealth as possible.” But once that wealth begins to accrue, Williamson says, it’s important to invest and protect it.
Williamson is well known amongst his colleagues for his devotion to growing Idaho’s economy. “John has dedicated himself to growing access to capital in Idaho to progress our state as a destination to build and grow a business,” says Darren J. Schuldheiss, Key Bank market president. For example, Williamson has worked closely with the Idaho Technology Council to promote the creation of deal flow reports – documents which detail the kinds of deals being made throughout the state between inventors and investors.
“The idea of the deal network is to say, hey, banks are part of the discussion, but we’re not the only piece of the discussion,” Williamson explains. “So let’s make a group where we can have the right discussion, get the right people lined up with the right investors, the right sources of capital and get these ideas growing, and take ideation to commercialization.”
Williamson is also an active volunteer, giving his time to organizations such as the Saint Alphonsus Foundation, Boise State University Foundation, Boise Valley Economic Partnership, Boise Art Museum and the Mountain View High School of Business. He loves to spend as much time as possible with his wife, Laura, and their four children: Quincey, Rebecca, Griffin and Sydney. The Williamson family loves activities that get the adrenaline flowing, such as roller coasters or parasailing.
“But if I can’t share it with my kids, it’s not worth doing,” says Williamson.
He hopes to leave a legacy for his children, and for Idaho as a whole. On the family side, Williamson hopes his example will encourage his children to “live their best life.” As for Idaho’s economy, he wants to see it continue to build on its own success.
“What we want to do is make sure we have great managers with solid ideas and get the money in their hands,” says Williamson. “That’s how you create an economy.”