By Dixon Bledsoe
Melanie Dressel would have been so proud.
“Columbia Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Dressel, is the reason why our culture is personable and is built to put people first”, said Kristi Brackinreed, Mount Angel Branch Manager of Columbia Bank which was recently selected 2016 Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce.
Sadly, Dressel – the dynamic leader and creator of the firm’s culture of personal and community service – passed away recently. She was planning to attend the First Citizen’s Banquet, scheduled for Monday, March 20 at the Festhalle.
According to Brackinreed, “Our company cares about our employees and their work – life balance. The culture is about that – our community, our customers, and our employees. That is what Melanie lived, breathed, modeled, and taught the entire Columbia company.”
Need proof? Just listen to Maureen Ernst talk about Columbia, its employees, and Brackinreed.
“I simply cannot say enough good things about them. They are an incredible asset not only to Mount Angel but to this region. Kristi is on the Chamber Board, in the Lions, and is an absolute solid rock on the Chamber. She and her staff do everything from helping Oktoberfest, the schools, and just about anything you can think of. Their customer service is top notch.”
When asked what she is most proud of for her branch, Brackinreed replied, “We were recognized, I think, because we do the right thing. We enjoy being around people – our customers, our employees, and our community. We like being around like-minded people. It just feels good. Even people that don’t bank here know we are here to serve.”
Columbia Bank has helped with the First Citizen committee, Kindergarten at the Oktoberfest, helps pour beer, supports the Hazelnut Fest, Wurstfest, Mount Angel Heritage Trail markers, and is a significant sponsor of the Fr. Bernard Youth Center auction. Brackinreed is Secretary for the Chamber of Commerce, co-chair for the Chamber Oktoberfest booth, and her bank does what few banks have done before – they are open Saturday and Sunday mornings during Oktoberfest to make change for the many service club booths. They also helped with strategic education and community planning. In many ways, that is just the tip of the service iceberg.
Melanie Dressel is smiling about now.