If you have had the pleasure of meeting J. Pat Hickman there are several things you can learn from him. He is quite a businessman. Pat is the former chairman, president, and CEO of Happy State Bank. He started as a banker at a young age. He found his passion and continued to do what he has loved for years.

He started college at Texas Tech back in the seventies. He never did finish that degree. He obviously didn't need that to become the success that he is. Knowing Pat there are several things you learn over the years.

He was born on St. Patrick's Day so you would think that was his favorite holiday. Nope, that would be the 4th of July. We were at his house once and he showed us his stash for the upcoming holiday. He has a massive fireworks display on his property each and every year. He doesn't do it on the 4th because he doesn't want to take away from Canyon's celebration. Oh, but his arsenal of fireworks is quite the show. Many people have enjoyed them over the years.

He also loves Christmas and the time with his family. He made sure when it was time for bonuses for the staff at Happy State Bank that he would deliver them personally to each and every employee at each and every branch. It was always a whirlwind of travel to get to the thirty-plus branches to see each and every employee. Oh, but he loved doing that every year.

Another thing you learn right away is that he loves the colors red and black. If he sees you at the bank branch and you are wearing that combination he will tell you himself how much he loves those colors. I know because I worked with him for about seven years and I knew when I wore those colors he would mention it. I loved running into him in the break room. My office was around the corner from his. So it would happen quite a lot. He loves red and black because of Texas Tech.

credit: Happy State Bank
credit: Happy State Bank

I knew the story about him starting Texas Tech. I also knew that he never graduated, so he never got his degree. I also knew that he didn't hold the fact that you didn't have a degree against you. He would hire you if you could do the job. I respected that about him. He knew having a degree was important but it was not the end all be all as to whether you were going to be a good employee or not.

credit: Melissa Bartlett, TSM
credit: Melissa Bartlett, TSM

Pat is still a part of every meeting I am in here at the radio station. This Pat on the Back sticker is on the back of my "padfolio" I got when I worked at Happy State Bank. It's where I still take all of my notes.

Over the weekend I saw a lot of my former Happy State Bank co-workers share this great news about our former boss and forever friend J. Pat Hickman. He decided to go back to school. Of course, he went back to Texas Tech. He loved it there. He did over the weekend what he didn't get to do some forty-plus years ago.

He graduated. Kudos to J. Pat Hickman. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration to so many of us.

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