Steven Zandpour, the 38-year-old Arizona regional president for BMO Harris Bank, thought he has a sure-fire career blueprint to follow.

“My cousin was in banking while I was in college and his goal was to ultimately own a business,” Zandpour said. “He told me that he was learning a lot about what banks look for from businesses and he found that business to be invaluable.”

The year before Zandpour graduated from college, his cousin achieved his goal of owning his own business when he used what he learned in banking to buy one of his client’s business.”

“Hearing him tell me how he learned all this information made me want to go into banking,” Zandpour said. “I thought I would follow a similar path and own my own business, but the banking industry has become home to me and I cannot see myself doing anything else.”

Since taking his current position in October, colleagues say Zandpour’s energy has been contagious. While the Chicago native bring 15 years of industry experience to the position, he says his youth is what he hopes will help him build BMO’s brand in Arizona.

“I am every bank’s target market,” Zandpour said. “I have two young kids. I’m purchasing a new home. I’m starting my financial plan for retirement. I’m well employed. Since I’m the client we’re trying to attract, I know what’s important to the consumers.”

He also said Arizona’s youth as both a state and as an evolving economy is something that attracted him to the state.

“In Chicago, banking is more of a process,” Zandpour said. “In Arizona, I see more opportunities for partnerships because of the entrepreneurial spirit in Phoenix and all the small business growth. It’s more like we’re holding hands through this and we’re going to grow the business together. I really love that aspect of it.”