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Bank of Ozarks CEO discusses expansion plans

George Gleason, chairman and CEO of the Bank of the Ozarks, took a break to talk with the press by phone from his hotel room in Gainesville June 21st during a week the bank’s entire board of directors spent touring recently acquired Georgia facilities.

The Bank of the Ozarks, which began in 1903 in Jasper, Arkansas, has added 30 branches in Georgia to their Little Rock based operation through a series of FDIC acquisitions of failed banks. Included in those was Chestatee State Bank with its Marble Hill (Foothills) office.

Gleason said Georgia now accounts for roughly one-third of Bank of the Ozarks operations with 300 of its 1,100 employees in Georgia. He said the week-long series of bank tours and meetings gave directors firsthand knowledge of the business climate in Georgia – a state where they are planning aggressive acquisition and expansion.

Gleason has been chairman and CEO of Bank of the Ozarks since1979, when, as a 25-year-old attorney, he bought a controlling interest in the bank which at that time had a handful of employees and $28 million in assets.

In 1994 the Bank of the Ozarks, (a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, symbol OZRK) began expansion throughout the Southeast. It now has locations in Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.

Gleason said he considered it important that his entire board spend time in Georgia to understand what he called the environment for “aggressive expansion.”

 

Read more about what Mr. Gleason had to say in this week's print edition.

 

Statebound! Pickens 8U All-stars off to Eastman

The Pickens team will begin state tournament play this week.


 

Congratulations to the 8U girls All-Star team! They are going to the state tournament in Eastman, Ga., starting July 7. Best of luck to these girls who have worked so hard.

Team members: Sarah Parks, Adeline Fitts, Caroline Carver, Beverly Crouse, Jayd Hamby, Kayla Jones, Brooke Taylor, Sarah Morris, Payton Green, Morgan Krastes, Ashtyn Jones, Madelyn Elrod and Kensley Essig.

Coaches: Matthew Parks, Trent Green, Sandy Essig, Kevin Jones, Frank Morris and Alex Jordan.

A special thank you to all the sponsors.

 

Jasper 4th goes off with a bang

 

From the parade to the rides, to the entertainment, the Independence Day celebration in Jasper went well throughout the holiday weekend.

The sponsoring Lions Club reported solid attendance at all events.

Lion Mark Miller said they had been a little worried that Monday events on July 4th might see smaller than normal crowds due to the numerous activities here and in surrounding areas the weekend leading up to the main events on Monday.

But Miller said they saw good numbers at all the activities including jam-packed streets in Jasper for the opening parade.

Above, even Elvis was sighted having his hair done during the parade. See more parade photos from the Progress staff.

Ga. Gas prices continue downward trend

Georgia, July 5- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have fallen 0.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.45/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 0.5 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.57/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 87.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.2 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 19.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 84.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

About GeorgiaGasPrices.com

GasBuddy operates GasBuddy.com, GeorgiaGasPrices.com, and over 225 other local gasoline price-tracking websites that follow prices at over 125,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. GasBuddy also uses Facebook (facebook.com/gasbuddy) Twitter (twitter.com/gasbuddy), and phone apps to keep motorists ahead of changing gasoline prices. GasBuddy.com was named one of Time magazine's 50 best websites and to PC World's 100 most useful websites of 2008.

Two die in Wednesday wreck

Two people died last Wednesday night when the car they were driving left the road and hit a tree in the west end of Pickens County near the Gordon County line.
Tony Patterson, 51, of Fairmount and Marla Mayhan, 41, of Waleska were killed in a single car accident while headed east on Hwy. 53 West near Edwards Road. According to Captain Frank Reynolds with the Pickens County Sheriff's office, the 1966 Nova went down an embankment and struck a tree. Both passengers were ejected from the vehicle and died on impact, he said.
The accident occurred Wednesday night, Reynolds said but the wreck wasn't found until Thursday morning.
"A man living near the scene heard something around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night and went outside the following morning and discovered the wreck," Reynolds said.
According to Reynolds, speed was likely a factor in the accident. The Georgia State Patrol investigation continues.