Sicard receives Jack White Leadership Award, says he is ‘morally indebted’ to the community

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,026 views 

Sam T. Sicard, president & CEO of First National Bank of Fort Smith, who was thrust unexpectedly into a business and community leadership role in 2011 when his father died, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Jack White Leadership Award.

The award is the top honor from the Leadership Fort Smith program and is considered a premier leadership award given by any organization in the region. The Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce manages the program.

“The Jack White Leadership Award is a notable moment for us each year,” said Fort Smith Chamber President and CEO Tim Allen. “The award process is rigorous starting with a nomination and culminating with a committee making the selection, so recipients really must have distinguished themselves over time and made an impact in the community. I couldn’t be more pleased to have Sam recognized for his achievements and his vision.”

White was employed by OG&E for 35 years, and when he died unexpectedly in 1997 at the age of 57, was the Arkansas manager for OG&E. In that job he was responsible for the 70,000 to 75,000 customers the Oklahoma City-based company then had in Arkansas. The Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce said this of White after his passing: “This quiet leader was highly regarded by business, civic and political leaders across the country. In his travels throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas and the Nation, Jack was a priceless and professional advocate and cheerleader for the Fort Smith Region.”

The award was presented to Sicard during the Thursday night (May 11) Leadership Fort Smith class of 2017 graduation banquet. Propak CEO Steve Clark, who received the award in 2016, formally presented Sicard with the honor.

Sicard’s accomplishments have included helping guide the development of the U.S. Marshals Museum, being an active proponent for the trails effort in Fort Smith and also positioning First National Bank as a supporter of countless non-profit agencies throughout the region, according to a statement from the Fort Smith chamber.

“Most notably, Sicard was the driving force behind the creation of the ‘Step Up, Speak Out’ campaign that was formed to bring awareness and an end to child abuse in the area,” noted the chamber information.

(from left) Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Tim Allen, First National Bank of Fort Smith President/CEO Sam T. Sicard, and Propak founder and CEO Steve Clark.

Sicard’s father, Sam M. Sicard, died August 2011 after a sudden heart attack. The younger Sicard was 35 when his father died, and was soon selected by the bank’s board of directors to take his father’s place at the helm.

Prior to his death in 2011, he was an advocate for the U.S. Marshals Museum with the bank first donating $500,000 in 2009. At the time it was the largest single cash donation to the museum.

“Receiving this honor is incredibly humbling, particularly when I reflect on those before me who received it and those in our community who I believe are more deserving than me to be recognized with this award. Whatever I can give back to Fort Smith can never match what Fort Smith has given me and my family,” Sicard said. “Fort Smith gave me a wonderful childhood surrounded by selfless leaders throughout the community who sacrificed for my well being, and our community is now giving these same experiences to my children. Our community has also now supported the livelihood of six generations in my family by entrusting the bank we have led (First National Bank of Fort Smith) with their money and allowing us to reinvest these funds back in the community to help spur economic growth, jobs, and the overall quality of place of our community. Therefore, while many in our community are monetarily indebted to First National Bank, I believe that both and I and First National are morally indebted to our community. I will continue to honor this privilege given to me by our residents to do everything I can to  continuously improve our community’s economic vibrancy and quality of place.”