E-town banker for life
E-town banker for life BY DAN NEPHIN, Staff Writer
You could say Bob Enck hasn't gone far in life.
You'd be both right and wrong.
The Elizabethtown native recently retired from the only place he ever worked, his hometown bank, during a career that spanned five decades.
Yet Enck, 68, also can one-up the clich' about starting in the mailroom and working his way to the top.
At age 15, he started part time at Elizabethtown Trust Co., 143 W. Market St., doing janitorial work.
(Elizabethtown Trust was bought in 1981 by Farmers First Bank, predecessor of Susquehanna Bank.)
Enck's dad had worked across the street in what was then a gas station and was asked to do janitorial work after the bank's custodian had a heart attack.
After the custodian later died, the bank wanted to know if Enck's dad would work full time.
"He said if I could help, then he could do it. And so Dad and I cleaned the bank and he just slipped me some bucks," Enck recalled during an interview in the building where he started.
"And it was a great job for me because of school, because we did it at 6 a.m. and then I could go home and get ready for school," he said.
When he went to college at Millersville as a freshman, he kept working weekends.
One of his early jobs -- he calls it the first round of automation in banking -- was to type customer addresses into an Addressograph machine.
The machine made stamped plates so staff wouldn't have to hand-address statements.
"They paid me a nickel a plate for getting them all done," he said.
At the time though, Enck wasn't thinking about a banking career. He wanted to become a math teacher and football coach.
"I never thought about working in a bank," he said. "It just didn't appeal to me."
Bank officials asked him to stay on during the summer after his freshman year.
He wasn't sure.
He figured he could make more money working construction to pay for college.
After talking with employees, though, he figured bank experience would look good on a resume.
He started in the bookkeeping department. On Friday nights he'd work as a teller.
"Come about July of '63, then they asked me if I would want to stay on instead of go back to school," he said.
"Well, that was quite a bit to ask somebody, and I really debated it."
He ultimately decided he could make more money starting right away in banking than he could if he continued college and became a teacher.
And once he got into banking, he found he liked it.
"What I envisioned was, hoping that I could be the hometown banker," he said.
"Everybody gets into banking, they get gobbled up in mergers, and they get moved into positions they don't want, and they end up being promoted to this area and that area.
"And my goal, and what I always wanted to do, was be right here, for the community," he said.
Even if he had become a teacher he wanted to stay in Elizabethtown.
"It's where I grew up. ... I'm a hometown boy," said Enck, who also spent 22 years on the Elizabethtown school board and helped found the Northwest EMS board.
"I think we have a lot going for us in this town that a lot of other towns don't have. We have a college, we have the Masonic Village. We're now the home of Dove Chocolate," he said.
He also cites Elizabethtown's location.
"We're 20 miles from Lebanon, York, Harrisburg and Lancaster and then only nine miles from Hershey," he said.
"We're in central Pennsylvania, (which) wasn't hurt nearly as bad as other parts of the country or other parts of the state.
"And it has to do with the diversity that we have here in central Pennsylvania."
The school system is good, with a reputation for frugality "and yet our kids produce and do as well as any," he said.
Enck is on the Elizabethtown Area Education Foundation, which is at $1.1 million of its $1.7 million goal to install artificial turf on athletic fields.
And he's glad to have played a role in helping businesses get loans.
"There's nothing appreciated more than the fact if you help somebody get started.
"Somebody had to take a chance because new businesses have a difficulty getting track records," he said.
"I don't think I want to say who they are … but there's a number of them," Enck said.
Enck, who has a son, Kory Enck, who lives in Elizabethtown and works for the National Rifle Association, and a daughter, Lori Campbell, who teaches first grade in Berks County, gained increasing responsibility over his career.
He'd been assistant treasurer, branch manager, assistant vice president, vice president and market manager.
And "retired" might not be the exact word to describe the current position of Enck's career arc.
He's about to shift into a part-time position of "community ambassador" at the bank, starting Monday.
In that capacity, he'll mentor and work on community business development -- primarily to maintain relationships, he said.
He also plans to find time to indulge a hobby of his and his wife, Jan. That's cycling on rail-trails.
"We've been all over the state of Pennsylvania and into Maryland. This year, we're going to venture into Ohio," he said.
nBob Enck has had only one workplace, but jobs include janitor, typist, bookkeeper, teller, branch manager and vice president.