published Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Trucking, banking hold similarities


by Amy Williams
Audio clip

Miller Welborn

Miller Welborn has spent his career in the trucking industry, where his entrepreneurial spirit led him to start several businesses.

As he steps into the shoes of chairman of the board of Cornerstone Community Bank's parent company, he sees the similarities between running trucking companies and chairing the board of a bank.

"They are all people businesses," Mr. Welborn said. "Whether you're in manufacturing or transportation or banking, you treat people fairly, provide a great service and make an enjoyable experience, I don't think they are any different."

Mr. Welborn, 50, became the chairman of the board of directors of Cornerstone Bancshares in mid-November following the resignation of chairman and chief executive Greg Jones, who had been with the bank for 10 years.

He believes the future is bight for Cornerstone, and said the bank has a great opportunity here with its ability to serve both small and large businesses.

"I'm excited to have him here," said Frank Hughes, president and CEO of Cornerstone Community Bank. "He brings a new energy to the bank with his entrepreneurial spirit, and he'll help us grow in our small business focus."

That interest in being an entrepreneur started early for Mr. Welborn.

At age 29, he and a partner founded a trucking business that 10 years later was bought by a public company. He had taken the company from 20 trucks to 400 in 10 years, until it eventually was bought by Boyd Brothers Transportation. At the time, the late 1990s, that company was the largest flatbed carrier company in the country.

He stayed with that company for a couple of years until he and his wife decided to move to Chattanooga, and it was not a decision they took lightly. Mr. Welborn had just started a trucking consulting business called Transport Capital Partners. Today, that business has six offices across the country, but back then he needed to consider his family in the decision.

"It didn't matter a bit where we opened another office," he said.

Today, almost 10 years later, the family has come to know Chattanooga as home.

And while he spent his career in the trucking industry, he always has been intrigued by banking. The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native served on the board of SouthTrust Bank there for 10 years before he was appointed to serve on the Birmingham branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He served two three-year terms on that board, two years of which he was chairman.

While he admits Cornerstone, like other banks, faces challenges in the years ahead, he said the bank is uniquely placed to take advantage of opportunities in Chattanooga.

Personal glance:

Name: Miller Welborn

Age: 50

Position: Chairman of the board of Cornerstone Bancshares

Education: Degree in political science from the University of Alabama

Personal: Married to wife, Karen, three daughters, ages 18, 12, 9

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