Comparing service as an artillery officer in the Marine Corps and service to small businesses as a banker might seem like a stretch, but not to Dan Adams, who did the former and is doing the latter as business banking area manager for Wells Fargo Bank.
“Whether you're in the Marine Corps or whether you're in Wells Fargo, you have a keen awareness of history and how honorable it is to have a heartfelt commitment to be a part of something that's bigger than yourself,” said Adams, who served in the Marine Corps for eight years.
He has been withWells Fargo for six years.
Originally from Reno, Nev., Adams joined the Marine Corps after graduating from Chapman University in Orange County and earned his Master of Business Administration from Washington State University within weeks of being discharged from the service.
Adams, along with two buddies from the military, started and later sold a small company that did engineering analysis for insurance companies.
“Why that's relevant in my position here [at Wells Fargo] is that it gave me a real sense of what it was like to be a small-business owner," Adams said. “It gave me a real sense of appreciation for the struggles that small businesses have when faced with everything from economic, to technological, to government regulatory types of headwinds.”
At Wells Fargo, whether supervising a team of 20 bankers or as a problem-solver, Adams still leverages the knowledge and perspectives he gained as a small-business owner.
“I'm blessed to be able to go meet with all these different businesses who have all these different priorities, all these different technologies, products, all that. I go to a lot of meetings [with small-business owners] and I sometimes sit there just awestruck at this little community called San Diego and how much innovation goes on here,” Adams said. “The biggest, best way that I can influence the San Diego [business] community is by essentially being a repository for a whole bunch of best practices, a whole bunch of different personality profiles, a whole bunch of needs and a whole bunch of solutions that Wells Fargo offers.”
Adams said he has a genuine interest in people and a curiosity about their businesses. A key factor in being able to assist a customer, he said, is establishing a face-to-face connection, discovering the customers’ needs and recommending products and services that meet those needs.
“That's where you really make the connection with the business owner and really set yourself apart from everybody else,” Adams said.
Adams is also active in community service. Reflecting his passion and love for the Marine Corps, he serves on the board of the MCRD Museum Foundation.
Adams and his wife have been married for 30 years and are the parents of three and the grandparents of five (including triplet boys), so it's understandable that he's also involved in philanthropic endeavors for youths, including Junior Achievement and, what Adams said is probably his biggest passion, Rady Children's Hospital.
-Lovitt is a La Jolla-based freelance writer.