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Word comes of the traffic death about 3:50 p.m. yesterday of veteran marketing executive Tom Steves, 68, of North Little Rock. He was killed while riding his motorcycle southbound on Highway 107 in northern Pulaski County. The State Police accident summary said Steves had to "lay down" his Harley Davidson in an attempt to avoid a tractor-trailer westbound on Highway 89 that had entered the intersection with Highway 107. He was thrown into the rear of the trailer. The truck driver, Jerry Woods of McCrory, wasn't injured.
The accident is being reviewed on whether a charge should be filed. A stop sign controls Highway 89 traffic. The truck driver reportedly said he stopped and then proceeded into the intersection. He apparently didn't see the motorcycle. A State Police spokesman said it was the second motorcycle fatality in a week where reported lack of visibility of a motorcyclist was an issue. (Note: I had highway numbers reversed in original report of crash.)
Steves was executive vice president at Twin City Bank, where he'd been since 2002. His credits in a career that started in 1961 at First National Bank included stints at Commercial National Bank and major ad/PR firms. UPDATE: Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Roller-Owens Funeral Home in North Little Rock. Memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday at First Assembly of God Church in North Little Rock.
From UALR, where Steves was a member of the Alumni Board of Directors, more biographical information:
Following an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1961, Steves’ 40-year banking and marketing career began at an entry-level position as a runner for then First National Bank and taking evening courses at Little Rock University, now UALR.
In 1970 when he received an advertising and marketing degree from UALR he had worked his way up from the mailroom to senior vice president.
“I’m just glad UALR was there. I probably wouldn’t have gone to college otherwise. It offered a nighttime venue and it was affordable,” he said in an article on the Alumni Association’s website.
After completing a two-year study at Northwestern University School of Bank Marketing, Steves taught marketing and advertising as an adjunct professor at UALR for seven years and joined Commercial National Bank, rising to an executive vice president position.
He was instrumental in the 1975 development of First National’s 30-story building in downtown Little Rock, now home to
Bank of America
In the early 1980s, he entered the advertising agency industry, first as vice president and director of client services for Mangan Rains Ginnaven Holcomb and then as chief operating officer for Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods in 1989. Ten years later Steves established a consulting firm before going to Thoma Thoma Creative as senior vice president in 2001.
An invitation from former UALR classmate Bob Birch to join the new Twin City Bank persuaded him to return to banking the following year. He later was named executive vice president and director of marketing.
“This was the best career move I’ve ever made,” said Steves. “I had never had the pleasure of working for a start-up organization before.”
Twin City, an affiliate of Home BancShares Inc., has grown to over $700 million in total assets. While the current financial crisis leaves many mortgage lenders and bankers throwing up their arms, Steves was confident his bank was in a good position.
He continued to be active in numerous community and civic initiatives, including his service on the University District Partnership Steering Committee.
“I think that Dr. Anderson and the Board of Visitors have such a great vision for our school; they need our support so UALR can be a catalyst of revitalization in the University District area. I get fired up thinking about it,” he said.
Steves also served on the boards of CareLink and Little Rock Downtown Partnership, was involved in Chamber of Commerce programs on both sides of the river, and was a member of the Junction Bridge Collaborative Committee, chairing communications for the project.
His wife, Robin Helton Steves, a 1980 UALR graduate, operates Studio B, a graphic design business. His son, Tom Steves Jr., also attended the UALR College of Business at night, obtaining accounting and finance degrees, and is now doing marketing for TransAmerica Financial in Little Rock. Their daughter, Hope, is a public school teacher and pursuing a master’s degree in education at UALR.