The Chamber’s new Chairman describes Montgomery as a strong city, one that’s perfectly positioned and ready to run in front of the pack to reach continued progress.
Regions Central Alabama Market President Arthur DuCote has been in banking for almost 30 years, but he recently slipped on and laced up another set of shoes for 2020, adding Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman to his list of roles and responsibilities. He’s watched Montgomery grow and change ever since he got here in 2001, but he believes his Chairman term will preside over some of the capital city’s most exciting days, and he’s thrilled to help his community get a jumpstart toward the great things he sees coming.
Are you originally from Montgomery?
No. I grew up in a small, rural community between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in south Louisiana. I came to Montgomery via being transferred here with Regions 18 years ago.
How and when did you get into banking?
I am an LSU finance graduate, and right out of school I was recruited by Barnett Bank in Florida, so I moved there to start my banking career.
When did you start at Regions and what drew you to the company?
I began at Regions in 1992 via its purchase of the bank I was with in Florida. What drew me to Regions was the flat management structure that allowed for local leadership and the autonomy to run your business in the community in which you operated.
What do you love about your work?
The part I really love is that I am able to play a small role in helping our customers achieve their business goals. I also get to do that as a leader of our associates. And both are very gratifying. To help people achieve their business and career goals is the best part of my job.
How are you involved in the community and why?
In addition to serving on the Executive Board of the Chamber, I’m on the board of directors of the Montgomery Business Committee for the Arts, and I’m on the Committee of 100. I’m a past board member of The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and Troy University Montgomery. I’m also a past member of the Alabama State Banking Board. Being involved in the community is a core part of Regions’ culture. A successful and prosperous community makes for a successful and prosperous bank, so it makes good business sense. But it is also simply the right thing to do to make your home the best it can be.
Why are you (and Regions) so involved in and supportive of the Chamber?
Part of the Chamber’s mission is to drive growth and prosperity in Montgomery and the River Region, which is exactly consistent with what makes for a successful bank in any community. The two are completely linked together in what they are trying to accomplish.
Would you encourage others to get involved in the Chamber?
Yes. The Chamber is the way to get engaged in the business community. It handles everything from economic development, tourism and industry recruitment to supporting small business start-ups and military relations. If you’re in business in the River Region, and you want to be a part of any of that, the Chamber is your place to be engaged.
What are your thoughts on where the city is now?
Montgomery is well positioned to capitalize on a bright future. Its business climate is good, and with the city’s new leadership, we’re ready to continue the progress of the past and take it to the next level.
What are your hopes and goals for the city?
I would like to see Montgomery continue to be a vibrant community with a growing population, one that provides economic prosperity and educational prosperity to all of its citizens.
Goal Highlights from Chairman Arthur DuCote
Goal 1: Build Competitive Regional Talent
Communities have been focused on the competition for jobs. That’s still an issue, but the bigger competition in today’s economy is for talent. Montgomery and the River Region must focus on keeping our talent and recruiting new talent. That means investing in public education, reinvesting in our neighborhoods and building quality of place.
Goal II: Strengthen and Diversify the Economy
Montgomery is in an enviable position. We have a stable base of government and military along with a strong automotive and service sector. Hyundai’s decision to invest in the production of a new vehicle here sends a signal that Montgomery is committed to its existing industry and is a preferred location for global commerce. But we can’t rest. We are working to accelerate our pace of economic growth with new kinds of opportunities through TechMGM, public/private partnerships with the military and DoD and investments in infrastructure and innovation. These efforts are getting the attention of both military and corporate leadership. When you start hearing the term “Silicon Valley of the South,” you know we’re on to something. Another focus is enriching the entrepreneurial ecosystem, identifying gaps and building resources to create fertile ground for start ups.
Goal III: Transform the Image of Montgomery
Montgomery has received unprecedented international media exposure over the past two years, and the world is changing how they think about us. My challenge to every person in 2020 is, “Are you wildly optimistic about our city and our potential? You should be!” It’s time for Montgomery to believe in how great our city and region is and to share that with the rest of the world. I can’t stress enough the impact destination tourism has on our economic growth. Driving visitors to spend an extra day here and intentionally crafting their experiences remain core priorities. New visitor data will tell us who our customer is, how we can give them the best experience and in turn, get the most from their visit.
Goal IV: Build Community Capacity
Diversity and inclusion are strengths. That is a fact in every aspect of life. And no community has a better opportunity to leverage those strengths than Montgomery. We’ve got a powerful story to tell. We are the Cradle of the Confederacy and the Birthplace of Civil Rights. Think about our history: what we lived, pushed through, survived, overcame and the progress we’ve made. At a time of tremendous divisiveness in our country, think of the beacon of togetherness we can be. If Montgomery can come together, work as a team and make room for all to build a more fulfilling and prosperous community for everyone, anyone can do it. And we have been doing it. And we are. And most importantly, our best days are in front of us. We will continue to gather momentum, push harder, and we will be that beacon of togetherness — for ourselves, our children and others. Let’s join hands and go make it happen!
Out of Office
While his long list of duties at both the bank and his multiple community involvements keep him plenty busy, Arthur DuCote does have some free time, most of which he spends with family (wife of 30 years, Denise, and his two sons in college) and among Mother Nature.
“In my spare time, I grow trees,” he said. “My family has a small tree farm, and I get tremendous joy from being there and just being in the outdoors in general. I’m happiest with a little mud on my boots.”