Leadership spotlight: Richard Lehmann

Richard Lehmann
Founder and chairman
The Biltmore Bank of Arizona

“After being associated with large national and international banks since 1969, myself and other banking leaders founded the Biltmore Bank of Arizona in 2003 with a singular mission: to work with Arizona businesses face-to-face, ensuring we’re an integral part of each client’s growth – and the growth of Arizona’s economy.”

Biggest challenge: “In my 44 years in banking, I have never experienced a more severe economic downturn than the past five years – with a disproportionate impact on small, community banks. We overcame it thanks to our team, clients and a 2012 agreement with Grandpoint Capital for a capital investment, enabling us to expand our banking capabilities.”

Best advice received: “Always try to hire people who are smarter than you; and always pay attention to the details. After all, the devil is in those details.”

Best advice to offer: “Once you hire those smart people noted above, you must be smart in the way you treat and motivate them. Use care. Be respectful. Encourage teamwork. To be a successful leader, you must recognize that a business won’t prosper long term solely based on individual success, but on the team.”

Biggest accomplishment: “Through the late 80s/early 90’s, I helped lead the turnaround of Valley National Bank. All these years later, I am most proud that I have been able to use the tools I learned during that turnaround to ensure the long-term viability of the Biltmore Bank, despite this recent economic downturn.”


About Michael Gossie

Michael Gossie is an award-winning journalist who has earned more than 50 awards for writing, editing and design. He studied economics at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y., and put his entrepreneurial spirit to work in 2007, using a 200-year-old family recipe to launch an Italian sauce company. He is a competitive marathon runner, Ironman triathlete and is most proud of being the founding president of the Steuben Arc Foundation in Upstate New York, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities, including his sister.