The Road to Palm Springs
Gerald J. Ford
Diamond A Ford Corporation
When Gerald J. Ford left his small town of Pampa, Texas, little did he know that life would eventually lead him to become an icon in the banking industry.
Gerald grew up among entrepreneurs, spending his school days working with his father at Ford’s Paint and Body Shop and on the family farm. His career in the banking industry was kick-started early on when, in 1975, with encouragement and a loan from the president of a Dallas commercial bank, he purchased his first financial institution. Over the next 20 years, he purchased and consolidated more than 30 commercial institutions, including Golden State Bancorp, parent of one of the largest savings and loan associations in California, where he served as chairman and CEO before selling it to Citigroup in 2002.
Referred to as being “Texas to his core” by his first business partner, Gerald has said, “Long ago I learned the importance of making wise investments, and that lesson holds as true for business as for the institutions and research my family supports.” He is a generous philanthropist to his alma mater, Southern Methodist University, on whose board of trustees he has sat since 1992 and whose football stadium he built.
Of life, he says: “It is not about how you handle the success, it is about how you jump the ditches.” Clearly, Gerald has shown himself to be among the best of the best at doing just that.