EastIdahoNews.com spotlights the hard-working people who make our local businesses successful. Every Sunday we get to know you!
1. Name, function and company: Tim Sopalski, vice president and head of the trusts department 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 surrounding areas. The Trust Department is an independent, full-service trust provider specializing in trust administration, estate settlements, self-directed IRAs and agency accounts.
I establish the direction, budget, policies and objectives of the trust service. I have the privilege of working 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 working with clients and their advisors to establish an estate plan that is unique and specific to their culture, beliefs and family values.
3. Where were you born and what is your date of birth (you do not need to include the year)? I was born in Jacksonville, Florida on March 19.
4. How long have you lived in eastern Idaho and what city do you currently live in? This month of February will be 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 held three jobs. I was a tumbling coach, supervisor at Chick-fil-A, and cleaned up 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 blended fruit juice products). During my seven years at MonaVie, I moved to Utah and eventually worked my way up to Executive Account Manager. I learned so much from that first job right out of high school.
6. What is the best business decision you have ever made? Take a job with the Bank of Commerce. Moving my family from Vancouver, Washington and moving here to eastern Idaho has been a scary adventure. We had a one year old at the time and just moved from Utah to Washington a year ago. I had only been to Idaho Falls once and didn’t know what to expect. It was amazing! We fell in love with the area and the people instantly and are thrilled to be raising 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 supportive in my constant endeavors. We are the proud parents of three little boys, who are just that: boys! Our house is a mess of chaos most of the time and our boys are leading the charge. Even though they have endless energy in their mischievous ways, I’m proud of them. They resemble their mother in being kind and caring. I am grateful to their teachers, their church leaders and our neighbors who support them. I’m thrilled to see them grow into incredible 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 touches on 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 develop these constraints. It helps me to reflect on certain situations in my career and to resolve conflicts or prevent problems 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 ago at a previous company. During the acquisition, I was so focused on fixing and cleaning up existing accounts that I got stuck on defense and not playing offense. My growth suffered tremendously and I was not able to produce the expected results that year. I learned that you have to do both. It may not be equal time or a balanced formula, but you need to decide what is most in line with your business goals and set expectations that align with your business goals.
10. What goal do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? My biggest goal is to create a non-profit to support families with children with port wine stain (a type of birthmark that looks like spilled wine on the skin because it is brown in color) . Our second child was born with the port wine stain, and it covers about 30% of his body. We were blessed with incredible insurance that helped with her laser surgery. For this operation, we have to travel to Salt Lake City quarterly and during this process we have seen other families do the same. Our hope is to help families with medical bills and travel expenses.
The ultimate goal would be to help establish a dermatologist or plastic surgeon in eastern Idaho so that these families do 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. This can be very overwhelming as port can lead to vision problems, bulky limbs, and Sturge-Weber syndrome. We’re lucky and had no additional issues with our son, but it was a scary concept to digest and understand at first.
11. What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Use your resources and get a mentor. The best lessons learned come 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 ask for advice. There are a ton of laws, regulations, and policies that are intertwined and can be very complex. At first, it can seem a little intimidating and overwhelming. As you dive in and get down to business, you grow and start learning.
12. If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? Not a thing. I had interesting challenges and rewarding experiences, but without them I wouldn’t know what I know now. I would not be able to sympathize with those around me who are going through a similar professional or personal experience.
13. Where is your favorite place to eat in eastern Idaho? I really like The SnakeBite
14. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I played football my freshman year of high school and was a cheerleader. I dropped football and focused on cheerleading for the rest of my high school career. I took second place at the Nationals for Partner Stunting (the base of a cheerleading pyramid) at Disney World my senior year and was on ESPN for a very brief while.
15. How do you like your potatoes? I love mashed potatoes with brown sauce. Simple, but so good!