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McClatchy-Tribune  06/14/2014 11:34 PM ET
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Job Spotlight column [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer :: ]

June 14--He's been a U.S. Army Infantry instructor, sold insurance and securities, and helped customers with their personal banking needs.

But when it came time for Robert Horn to make his latest career move, a key qualifier was that it be closer to home. Or, for the Philadelphia native, closer to the Columbus-Phenix City area, where his wife, Heather, was raised.

He has been with Wells Fargo and its predecessors -- First Union and Wachovia -- for 15 years. And there have been opportunities in several states and markets -- including Florida and in Atlanta -- but he couldn't stomach the distance some of the jobs required and traffic jams he would endure in others.

"So a lot of my decisions have been around family. Can I stay close? I have to look after what's best for my family, for my children," said Horn. "So this was a great opportunity. I couldn't not put my name in the hat to take this position."

That position he speaks of is area president for Wells Fargo in Columbus, with his area of responsibility stretching from Smiths Station, Ala., north to Pine Mountain, Ga., and east to various Georgia communities -- Macon, Warner Robins, Dublin and Americus -- 27 branches in all, which includes 27 branches.

Horn became area president in February and is in the process of relocating to Columbus from the Gainesville, Ga., area, where he oversaw 10 bank branches. But, again, considering the time he has spent locally through the years, this feels more like a homecoming.

Horn talked to the Ledger-Enquirer in a recent interview at his downtown Columbus office, Horn talked about his career path, his latest job, and what it takes to keep a firm and productive handle on more than two dozen banks. The interview has been edited a bit for length and clarity, with an expanded version at www.ledger-enquirer.com.

So, how did you get to this moment in your life?

I spent 13 years in the Army and my wife's from the Columbus area. I was at a crossroads, I guess, in my career in the military and decided to get into the civilian sector. I got out and actually went into sales at Metlife (in Columbus) for about four years. I got into insurance and securities sales and really enjoyed that. But they went from a mutual company to a (publicly traded) stock company, and at that time they were closing the office here. One of the things they look at is how to reduce expenses, because then you have to answer to a stockholders.

You were at Fort Benning. What was that like?

I was at Benning as an Infantry instructor for close to five years. (There was) a lot of outdoors, a lot of late nights and the weather, but I really enjoyed that. It gave me time to not only look at my career, but gave me time to go to school. That was opportunity that you traditionally don't get when you're in a (go-to-war) line unit. So I was able to complete my bachelor's and my master's degree (at Troy State).

What did you teach as an instructor?

All kinds of things -- urban terrain, first aid, individual squad tactics, a lot of things that they're doing now. We were at a range and we would just have trainees. Then I became a Bradley (Fighting Vehicle) instructor for the last couple of years ... Then it was trainees, plus officers, and master gunners. So there was a mix.

Where did you travel in the Army?

I did training here at Benning, went to Hawaii, and went to (Fort Riley) Kansas; that was a short stint. And then I went to Germany. I was in Kirchgoens, Germany, and I actually got stop-lossed (told he could not leave the military). So I ended up going to Desert Storm, and then came back after about 18 months. I ended back at Fort Benning, and that was my last duty station.

You were in 13 years and didn't want to make the military a career?

No. You can always look at two sides of the coin, right? When I was here, my neighbor kept getting stop-lossed. He was looking to retire, but he kept postponing it. It woul

 

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