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Getting to Know Tim Sopalski with The Bank of Commerce

Getting to Know is highlighting hardworking people who make our local businesses a success. Every Sunday, we’re Getting to Know YOU!

1. Name, job title and company: Tim Sopalski, Vice President & Trust Department Manager at The Bank of Commerce

2. What does your company do and what are your responsibilities? The Bank of Commerce is a local community bank providing several financial services in eastern Idaho and the surrounding area. The Trust Department is a full-service independent trust provider specializing in trust administration, estate settlements, self-directed IRAs, and agency accounts.

I establish the direction, budget, policies, and goals for the trust department. I am privileged to work with a team of experienced professionals where we manage and administer the overall function and activities associated with our accounts. One of my favorite responsibilities is to work with clients and their advisors to establish an estate plan unique and specific to their family culture, beliefs, and values.

3. Where were you born and when is your birthday (don’t need to include year)? I was born in Jacksonville, Florida on March 19.

4. How long have you lived in eastern Idaho and what city do you live in now? This February will make it five years. My family and I live in the Ririe area.

5. Tell us about your first job after high school/college. During my senior year of high school, I worked three jobs. I was a tumbling coach, a supervisor at Chick-fil-A and I cleaned a daycare in the morning before school. When I graduated, I became a warehouse supervisor for MonaVie, (a now-defunct multi-level marketing company that manufactured and distributed products made from blended fruit juice). During my seven years with MonaVie, I relocated to Utah and eventually worked my way up to an Executive Account Manager. I learned so much from that first job right out of high school.

6. What is the best business decision you’ve ever made? Taking a job with The Bank of Commerce. Moving my family from Vancouver, Washington and relocating here to eastern Idaho was a scary adventure. We had a 1-year-old at the time, and we just relocated from Utah to Washington one year prior. I had only been to Idaho Falls once before and I did not know what to expect. It has been amazing! We fell in love with the area and the people instantly and we are excited to raise our boys here. I love my job and see substantial opportunities for my career.

7. Tell us about your family. I am married to a very kind and loving woman who is patient with me and supports me in my constant endeavors. We are the proud parents of three little boys, who are just that — boys! Our house is a beautiful mess of chaos most days and our boys lead the charge. Even though they have endless energy in their mischievous ways, I am proud of them. They take after their mother in being kind and thoughtful. I am grateful for their teachers, church leaders, and our neighbors who support them. I am excited to see them grow into amazing young men.

8. Tell us about a movie or book that has inspired you the most in life. A book that really changed my life is called, “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox. The book addresses some key aspects of business and management that really made sense to me at a young age. I could visualize the concepts of constraints and see how to improve and build upon those constraints. It helps me think through certain situations in my career and resolve conflict or prevent issues and constraints.

9. Tell us about a lesson you learned from a mistake you made in your career/business. I was involved in an acquisition several years back at a prior firm. During the acquisition, I was so focused on correcting and cleaning up the existing accounts that I became stuck in defense and was not playing offense. My growth suffered tremendously, and I was not able to produce the results I was expected to that year. I learned that you must do both. It may not be equal time or a balanced formula, but you have to decide what is more in line with your companies’ goals and set expectations for yourself that are in line with your company’s goals.

10. What is a goal you hope to accomplish in the next 12 months? My biggest goal is to establish a nonprofit to support families with children that have Port-Wine Stain, (a type of birthmark that looks like wine was spilled on the skin because it’s maroon in color). Our middle child was born with Port-Wine Stain, and it covers about 30% of his body. We have been blessed with amazing insurance that has helped with his laser surgery. For this surgery, we have to travel to Salt Lake City every quarter and during this process, we have found that other families do the same. Our hope is to help families with the medical expenses and the expense of travel.

The ultimate goal would be to help establish a dermatologist or plastic surgeon in eastern Idaho so that those families would not need to travel for this treatment. We would also like to have a support system for families to help them navigate the situation when their baby is born. It can be very overwhelming as Port-Wine can lead to sight concerns, large limb extremities, and Sturge-Weber syndrome. We are lucky and have had no additional concerns with our son, but it was a scary concept to digest and understand at first.

11. What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to do what you’re doing? Use your resources and obtain a mentor. The best lessons learned are from the mistakes of my mentors because I didn’t have to feel the sting of them. I just had to have the humility to ask and seek advice. There are a ton of laws, regulations, and strategies that are intertwined and can be very complex. At first, it may seem a little daunting and overwhelming. As you dive in and get to work you will grow and begin to learn.

12. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? Not a thing. I have had some interesting challenges and humbling experiences, but without them, I wouldn’t know what I know now. I wouldn’t be able to empathize with those around me going through a similar business or personal life experience.

13. Where is your favorite place to eat in eastern Idaho? I really love The SnakeBite

14. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I played football my freshman year of high school and I was a cheerleader. I dropped football and focused on cheerleading for the rest of my high school career. I took second place at nationals for partner stunting (the base of a cheerleading pyramid) at Disney World my senior year and was on ESPN for a very brief moment.

15. How do you like your potatoes? I love mashed potatoes with brown gravy. Simple, yet so good!

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