Jim Culley is Senior Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at Mt. McKinley Bank. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UAF in 1993.
What does it mean to you to be a UAF alumnus?
It means being a part of a very large family. I am always amazed at the exceptional people that I meet who have been impacted by UAF. I enjoy letting others know what a great university we have in Fairbanks
Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
My favorite class was the Student Investment Fund when it was first getting started. I learned to analyze companies and try to decide if we wanted to invest in them or not. Then I presented this information to the class and tried to convince them why I was right. I use these tools every day now in my work as a commercial lender.
What is a favorite college memory?
Other than meeting my wife on campus, one of my favorite memories was my microeconomics class taught by Mr. Rainey, who also taught at Lathrop High School at the time. He gave real-world examples and then had us do small projects to demonstrate how these theories actually worked. One of the exercises was demonstrating a learning curve, and as my experiment, my girlfriend (now wife) learned how to put on hockey gear, my stinky gear by the way, while being timed. Emily and I still talk about that experience to this day.
How do you stay involved with SOM?
I love being involved with SOM and giving back to the program that helped make me successful. Whether serving on the Business Leader of the Year steering committee, participating in the Etiquette Seminar and Dinner, helping with the Arctic Innovation Competition, or engaging with the marketing class on their projects like the Roast and Boast, I enjoy working with the students.
What is the number one skill or practice learned at UAF that has contributed to your success?
I think the biggest skill I learned was how to analyze businesses to help them succeed, and how to present this information to a wider audience. I do this every day in my work, and without these skills, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What advice do you have for current students?
Experience as much as you can as a student and then continue to explore in your professional life. You never know if you will ever get another chance to do some of the coolest things in the world here in Alaska, that many people would give their life savings to experience. Make the most of your time at UAF and embrace the journey.
- What is your favorite breakfast food? I love chicken fried steak and eggs with gravy. My doctor, not so much.
- Dream vacation destination? I love history, so Egypt is high on my list.
- How do you define success? By being happy; as long as I am with the ones I love and having fun, then I feel I am successful.
- What would be the title of your autobiography? Hold my Beer: Having fun doing (sometimes stupid) stuff in the Last Frontier.