David Soldano will never get too big to make the coffee.
He arrives at Sonora Bank earlier than most, and one of his first tasks is to brew a pot of joe for his co-workers. It’s a small thing, he allows. But it’s a tangible measure of Soldano’s willingness to share the trenches with his colleagues, no matter the task.
“I try to lead by example,” Soldano said. “Let’s do it together.”
Soldano, 36, graduated from Central High School after making a deal with his mother, who was working as a nurse in South Texas. He could stay in San Angelo for his senior year, living mostly alone, but he had to keep his grades up.
He graduated in the top 10 percent of his class.
He liked numbers and was personable, so his mother suggested he consider a career in banking. That led to a college job as a teller in 2000.
“It’s a job that comes easy and natural for me,” Soldano said. “And I enjoy it.”
After college, he hired on with a South Texas bank where he had interned in the only opening it had – as a teller. He grew frustrated when no opportunities opened up after three months, so he returned to San Angelo to interview at two banks.
Sonora Bank contacted him first about its only opening … as a teller. Assured he would be promoted into an expanding branch – and eager for an opportunity – he took the job. Today, he is a vice president.
Among his responsibilities are developing opportunities for employees to contribute to their community. That has involved delivering Meals for the Elderly, serving lunches during the Kids Eat Free summer program and participating in Christmas toy drives.
“There are so many giving people in this town,” Soldano said. “People see the effect they can have, and it becomes second nature. There’s no hesitation.”
While enrolled in the Texas Banking Association’s Management Development Program, Soldano spearheaded an effort among five bankers from different corners of the state to help the Kids Eat Free program. He crafted the idea after being challenged by a program advisor to develop a charitable effort of “epic” proportions.
Each participating bank contributed to the Texas Hunger Initiative, which administers the lunch program. Some raised money; others volunteered. Sonora Bank has manned a Kids Eat Free site once a week the past three summers. The bank is now considering expanding the effort.
Soldano also serves on the local boards of Young Life and the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Soldano and his wife Kassie have four children: Andi, 12; Sierra, 11; Hayden, 7; Beckett, 1½. A star soccer player at Central, he has coached youth teams for years. As with most of his efforts, his approach is decidedly hands-on. He actively gets in the midst of drills and scrimmages.
“That’s when players see and respect you a little more,” he said. “They don’t wonder, ‘Can you do it?’ I can do it. You can do it, too!”