Even though Will Brewer is a third-generation banker with First National Bank, he never thought he would follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Initially, Brewer pursued a calling about as far away from the boardroom as one can get, working as a paramedic for almost a decade. The experience was humbling, he said, and the memories of that time remind him to reflect on his blessings every day. He called joining his family in the banking business “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made” and considers his election as chairman of the bank to be his proudest accomplishment.

 

Occupation:

Chairman of the board, First National Bank

Hometown:

Paragould

 

FAVORITES:

Beverage:

Milk

Restaurants:

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

Food:

Pizza

Podcast:

AvTalk

Quote:

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd

Sport:

Football

Dream Car:

Any type of street rod

Looking back, how was your father or grandfather right, after all?

Whether I like to admit it or not, my father and grandfather were right about almost everything they ever told me. There truly is wisdom that comes with experience and age.

What was the best opportunity you ever received?

The best opportunity I ever received was the chance to join the team at First National Bank. I’m thankful every day to get to work with so many wonderful people.

What advice would you give to others who want to follow in your footsteps?

Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you are. In my case, that wasn’t a tall order, but I guarantee these people will make you work harder and look better at anything you do.

What is one thing you would tell your 18-year-old self?

Not only do you not know as much as you think you do, but most of the things you do know are not correct. Don’t rush through your early years of adulthood. The race is long, and you’ll find what is most important to you today will not be important to you in five years, so don’t stress too much over today.

What is an unconventional piece of advice you received that turned out to be true?

Don’t spend too much time getting ready to do business instead of just doing business. The first time my father told me this, I didn’t understand it, but as I’ve gotten older and gained a small amount of experience, I realize that truer words were never spoken.

If you could meet one historical figure over drinks, who would it be and what would you have?

I would have to say Teddy Roosevelt. Anybody that could deliver a 90-minute speech after being shot would have to be fun at the bar. I don’t think I’ve ever had a mint julep, but since they were Teddy’s favorite, I guess we should drink those.

What defines success for you?

What I consider success is making sure the customer is happy while, at the same time, making sure our coworkers are equally as happy.

 

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See the full list of Men of Distinction 2024 here.