Bill Shank: Leading the old-fashioned way
- Written by Bruce Olson
Tribune Community Leader Series Cutline: In 1989, Bill Shank moved to Houston to begin a financial investment career at Edward Jones. He has been a resident of the Lake Houston area since 1994. Photo by Bruce Olsen Bill Shank is a leader in everything he does. He not only applies his leadership to his own company in Kingwood but to his community. He is Chairman of the Board for Kingwood Medical Center Hospital (for a second time) and Executive Chairman of Houston’s Be an Angel Fund. He is a past member of the board of El Centro de Corazon of East Houston (a charity for disadvantaged children), and a past board member of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Texas Professional Golf Association and the YMCA Member of Youth Sponsor 500 Club. In addition, he is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and has served on various HLSR committees. Shank and his son Christian founded Shank Wealth Management in 2006. Shank describes his company as one providing a family-oriented approach to financial services. “I wanted to start the company as a family business which is what I grew up in. I feel we excel in client service, at least that’s our goal,” he said and pointed out that with his son as co-founder it is truly a family business. Shank follows the principals of his grandfather who, with his brother, founded Beall’s Department Stores in Henderson, in 1923. The business was run by the family until they sold it in 1988. By that time Shank had worked in various stores and at the head office in Jacksonville. During his time at Beall’s, he learned his primary principal: “Service is not just an option; it’s how you run your business.” And that, Shank said, is how he and Christian run their business today. “We are trying to do highly technical, leading-edge business the old-fashioned way,” he said. Shank was born and raised in Jacksonville. His leadership emerged early in life and he was Commander of the Color Guard in high school at Texas Military Institute in San Antonio. He went on to earn a degree in finance at Texas Tech University and returned to the family business until it was sold in 1988. In 1989, Shank moved to Houston to begin a financial investment career at Edward Jones. In 1994, he moved to Kingwood and grew his office into one of the company’s top producers. In 2003, he joined his son at A.G. Edwards in Kingwood and worked there until together they created Shank Wealth Management. Since 2006, he and Christian have worked and built their company into a thriving business. “I am very fortunate that I enjoy what I do and that 99 percent of the people I deal with are my friends,” he said. “Business wise, I don’t have a lot of big ambitions for the coming year because I am planning to spend a disproportionate amount of time working on the Kingwood Hospital expansion,” he said. Shank is an avid golfer and loves animals. He lives in Huffman, raises competitive cutting horses and owns a cattle ranch near Brackettville. His civic activities occupy a lot of his remaining time. He was honored with the Hayden McKay Citizen of the Year Award in 2006 for his coordinating efforts to build the largest barrier-free park in south Texas for children with disabilities at the Lindsay/Lyons Park and Sports Complex. The people most influential to Shank were his parents. “They were two of the smartest people I have ever known. They set the standards I live by today,” he said. Shank also described an event that also greatly influenced him. “When I went to military school as a kid, my roommate told me one day he was tired of listening to all my talk and said …just show me,” Shank said his roommate meant you had to actually follow through on your ideas rather than talk. “I have never forgotten it,” he said. Shank has two children in addition to Christian. Shank’s older daughter, Courtney, is to be married in California in October and his stepdaughter, Shey, is in the seventh grade. And, of course, Shank is also grandfather to Christian’s two sons.