Scott Bentley, the Amarillo market President and current Board of Directors members of First United Bank, is the newest member of the Amarillo EDC’s Board of Directors. Scott is very active in the community having served on numerous civic boards including Golden Spread Council of Boy Scouts, Amarillo/Canyon United Way, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Community Advisory Board, and the Amarillo Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.
In an interview with Savannah Tarbet at the AEDC, Bentley shares why he chose to apply to be a member of the Board of Directors, what he hopes to help the board achieve, and where the board is headed.
Savannah Tarbet: Tell me about your background, where you’re from, where you grew up, and how you came to live in Amarillo.
Scott Bentley: I’m a Perryton, Texas native, I went to college at NTSU and moved to Amarillo after graduation. I didn’t know anyone here, but I knew I wanted to start a career and family in Amarillo instead of the metroplex. Being a Texas Panhandle native, I’ve always liked Amarillo. It’s just the right size, there’s plenty to do, and a great place to raise a family – it was the quality of life that drew me here.
Tarbet: What piqued your interest in serving on the AEDC Board and what other areas of the community do you volunteer in?
Bentley: I’ve always been supportive and a believer in the mission of the AEDC. The organization is vital when competing with cities for top employers around the country, most of which have some sort of EDC. Without the AEDC, we simply couldn’t compete. I have always been a strong advocate of and served on numerous civic and city boards. I believe it is our duty as citizens to lead and not rely on others to get things done. I love civic work and helping out our fellow citizens. I guess it comes from the fact that I have a strong faith, and as such I have always believed in the tenet that we are here to serve, not to be served. But the main reason that I’m so involved with our community is because I enjoy doing it.
Tarbet: You’ve served on the City’s TIRZ’s board, how do you think this experience will help you in the role at the EDC?
Bentley: It helped me realize the impact that economic incentives can have on a business. Whether they move forward with a project or not, the economic impact a new or expanding business can have to our economy and that growth spurs additional growth.
Tarbet: As a leader in the financial/banking community, what do you feel your professional experience will contribute to the role of an AEDC board member?
Bentley: Hopefully it helps me see a project or business from a critical eye where I can help analyze it from a financial standpoint as to whether it has a good chance to be successful. We certainly want to make sure we are incentivizing businesses that have the best chance for success that will in turn have the most economic impact to our region.
Tarbet: What are your goals for the organization during your term?
Bentley: We have such a positive momentum going in our community right now. My goal is to leverage that momentum and build on it, to make others aware of the pro-business attitude and great business community and thriving economy so they will want to stay here or move their companies here.
Tarbet: Where do you hope to see the organization long term?
Bentley: I would like to see the AEDC continue to help us have a more diverse economy. Before the AEDC’s existence, our economy was mostly community fueled by the agriculture, energy sector, and medical sectors. Today, we are such a diverse economy that when there is an economic downturn in certain sectors, such as the oil and gas the past few years, our economy continues to be strong and thrive. The more diverse our economy the better we are able to sustain and grow long term and weather economic storms.
Tarbet: Where do you hope to see the community long term?
Bentley: I hope Amarillo is a community that is attractive to our youth, one that provides lots of job opportunities. I’d like to see a younger generation bring their talents here to live, start their career and families, just like I did.
Tarbet: What do you wish people knew about the AEDC?
Bentley: I think we could do a better job in letting our community know all the various companies we have attracted and helped expand, and the economic impact they have had on our community. It’s huge and it’s impressive. We have a lot to be proud of and we need to tell our story.
What’s the AEDC up to? Check out our Choose Amarillo site to see how we’re working to attract new and emerging businesses to the region.