Chairman & CEO, Equity Bancshares, Inc.Brad S. Elliott is our founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He also serves as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equity Bank. Before founding the Company, Mr. Elliott served as Director of Marketing at Koch Industries, Inc., a privately-held multinational corporation. Prior to joining Koch Industries, Inc., he served as a Regional President at Sunflower Bank, a community bank with locations throughout Kansas, Colorado and Missouri. Prior to joining Sunflower Bank, Mr. Elliott was employed in various capacities by Home State Bank and Trust for six years following graduation from McPherson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Management. Mr. Elliott is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He has served on the board of directors for the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Wichita State University Shocker Athletic Scholarship Organization, PCS Advisory Board, Via Christi Health, and the Kansas Bankers Association. Mr. Elliott adds financial services experience, especially lending and asset liability management to the board of directors, as well as a deep understanding of the Company’s business and operations. Mr. Elliott also brings risk and operations management and strategic planning expertise to the board of directors, skills that are important as we continue to implement our business strategy and acquire and integrate growth opportunities.
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Equity Bancshares, Inc.Gregory H. Kossover has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and as Executive Vice President of Equity Bank since October 2013. He has served as a member of our board of directors since December 2011. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Kossover served as President of Physicians Development Group, a builder and manager of senior living facilities in the Wichita, Kansas metropolitan area, from 2012 to 2013. From 2004 to 2011 he served as Chief Executive Officer of Value Place, LLC, one of the largest economy extended stay lodging franchises in the United States. Mr. Kossover previously served as Treasurer of Western Financial Corporation, a publicly-held thrift holding company. Mr. Kossover graduated from Emporia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and has successfully completed the Uniform Certified Public Accountants exam. Mr. Kossover’s leadership and financial experience provide important oversight of our financial reporting and enterprise and operational risk management to the board of directors.
President, Equity BankWendell Bontrager joined Equity Bank as President in February 2017. Mr. Bontrager served as Executive Vice President for Tower Bank & Trust Company (“Tower”), headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was employed from March 1999 through Tower’s merger into Old National Bancorp on April 25, 2014. Bontrager served as Chief Lending Officer beginning in 2008, and chair of the Board’s Loan & Investment Committee. He oversaw Tower’s transition from Tower Bank to Old National Bank in 2014, and led Old National’s northeast sales efforts following the combination. Bontrager began his banking career in Fort Wayne in 1992 and is an alumnus of Goshen College (Goshen, Ind.). He has been active in the northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne communities throughout his career, including board memberships with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnerships and Dupont Hospital and is a Future 40 Award Recipient of 2006, awarded by the Fort Wayne Business Journal.
Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Equity BankJulie A. Huber serves as Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives of Equity Bank. Ms. Huber joined Equity Bank in 2003 and has served in a variety of leadership roles for Equity Bank over period of twelve years, including overseeing our operations, human resources, compliance functions and sales and training, and has managed the integration process for each community bank we have acquired. Ms. Huber served as President of Signature Bank for three years following our acquisition of Signature Bank 2009. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Huber most recently served as the executive of Sunflower Bank responsible for the retail, operational, compliance and security functions. Ms. Huber graduated from McPherson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and History, received her MBA from Baker University in 2014 and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and the Bank Leaders of Kansas. Ms. Huber currently serves as President of the Andover Advantage Foundation in Andover, Kansas and is a Business Plan Advisor with Youth Entrepreneurs.
Executive Vice President, Chief Credit OfficerScott Smits oversees Equity’s credit administration and loan operations personnel, processes, and decisions throughout Equity’s footprint, encompassing 37 branch locations. Smits joins Equity after 9 years in executive credit and risk management positions for Standard Bank and Trust Co. (“Standard”) in Hickory Hills, Illinois Smits’ risk management background also includes 11 years with Crowe Horwath, overseeing business development and client relationship management as an Executive. Mr. Smits began his banking career in Fairlawn, N.J. in 1987 at Columbia Bank and worked in numerous bank management roles prior to joining Crowe Horwath. He is an alumnus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. and earned his M.B.A. from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo.
SVP, Director of Investor Relations, Equity Bancshares, Inc.John J. Hanley is SVP, Director of Investor Relations for Equity Bank. Hanley joined Equity Bank in 2012, and oversees all marketing, advertising, communication, brand management, and product development strategy as well as public relations and investor relations for the company. Hanley has more than 12 years of banking experience, serving as marketing manager for Kansas-based Sunflower Bank from 2004 through 2011, and one year as product manager for the AAFP in Leawood, Kansas. Hanley earned his Certified Financial Marketing Professional designation in 2014. He began his career as a writer and editor with The News-Times in Danbury, Connecticut. Hanley is a graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa College of Law.