“It was a good bridge going from high school to a four-year college,” Ward said of his SC4 experience.
He knew business was his career path, but it wasn’t until his senior year at CMU that he narrowed it to banking.
“It’s numbers related, and I always wanted to do something numbers related,” he said.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Ward returned to Port Huron to work for what was then Peoples Bank of Port Huron.
He came back to SC4’s campus in the late 1980s to advance his career. He knew he needed a master’s degree to compete. At the time, Walsh College was offering a program at SC4 that allowed him to earn his master’s degree by taking classes in Port Huron and Troy. He used that opportunity to earn his master of science degree in professional accounting.
In April 2005, he became Eastern Michigan Bank’s leader. Ward said he enjoys a close-knit community and living near the water. Heading Eastern Michigan Bank allows him access to both.
“It was almost like coming home,” he said.
Headquartered in Croswell, Ward said he welcomed the chance to run a community bank.
“You can make a decision and implement it, and it happens right away.”
The impact is immediate, he said.
Having SC4 in his community is an asset, he said. Many of the bank’s employees use SC4 for job training or attended the college before working at Eastern Michigan Bank.
Ward continues his ties to SC4. As a member of the SC4 Foundation board, he helps to raise money to support SC4 and its students.
“It’s a way to give back. It’s a great opportunity to participate in that and help others get the opportunities I had.”
The SC4 Foundation is just one of Ward’s community involvements.
In November, he was elected to a term on the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners. He first was appointed to that post in March 2010.
“I think we have a lot of very committed people who want to move the county forward,” he said. “There’s a lot of creativity in the county.”
Ward also is a member of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County.
He and his wife, Lynn, have two adult children, Veronica, who attends the University of Michigan, and Bradley, who attends CMU.
In his off time, Ward enjoys kitesailing, windsurfing, golfing and running short-distance triathlons.
“Fitness is a stress reliever,” he said.
From SC4 Alumni Connection newsletter, Winter 2011