Talking with Rudi Scheidt Jr., it is easy to see where his passions lie. While his career and interests span the industries of banking, investments, medicine, and politics, the central theme of all those endeavors is one thing – people. Whether it is influencing his employees or caring for a patient, Rudi excels at leading and helping the people he comes across in his life.
As a Paragon board member, Rudi brings extensive expertise in the banking and investment industry. His early career started with National Bank of Commerce (NBC) in the management training program. He then spent time at NBC in the Commercial Lending Department and then a decade in the Investment Banking Division. After a time, it became clear to Rudi that it was time to take a leap forward. “I realized that I wanted to get involved in management at the bank,” Rudi says. “I told the head of the bank that my dreams and aspirations were to run the department and not be a salesperson.” Shortly after that, a change in the department led to Rudi’s taking over the Bond Division at NBC. From the mid-80s until the bank was sold in 2007, Rudi led his team to grow to 200 employees and more than $100 million in revenue.
After the bank was sold, Rudi joined with another investment manager to form Commissum Capital Management – a hedge fund that managed more than $500 million. But it was the Great Recession that brought him to his current position at Bridge Capital Asset Funding. As the strength of the dollar dropped, many foreign investors became interested in purchasing rental homes in the United States. For many, the recession was a time of strain and cutting back, but Rudi and a few other partners wanted to find a way to get involved in this business and provide an untraditional source of funding for these investors, and Bridge Capital was born. Rudi still serves as chairman and partner of the organization which has now grown to serve in ten states.
When asked what his proudest accomplishment was over his varied career, one might expect Rudi to respond with one of his financial successes or entrepreneurial efforts. But without hesitation Rudi responds, “One of my accomplishments was what I was able to create for employees and their families. Until we sold the bank, I never realized how I affected people’s lives as head of a company, and when I lost that responsibility, it became apparent to me how much I enjoyed positively affecting and impacting other people’s lives.” Whether it’s helping employees provide for their families or walking beside them through crises, it is clear that Rudi truly enjoys being a part of the lives of those around him.
But his care for others around him doesn’t stop with those with whom he works. For Rudi and his wife, Caryn, community service and volunteer work are crucial. In fact, the two of them currently volunteer in the emergency room of a hospital in Aspen (where he splits his time with Memphis), and both are working toward their EMT licenses to be able to be more involved. Eventually they hope to be on the national EMT list so they can be called to natural disaster areas in need of medical care. They were led to seek out volunteering at the hospital when they cared for Rudi’s father after a major surgery. It was then that they both “realized that we were really good at this and enjoyed doing it. We went to the hospital and asked where we could get most involved without a medical license.”
Rudi joined Paragon’s Board of Directors in February of 2016 after Paragon approached him with the opportunity. He is on the Asset Liability Committee and the Director’s Loan Committee and brings a wealth of banking and investment knowledge to Paragon’s board. When describing what makes Paragon different, two things come to mind for Rudi. The first is the commitment to the community and volunteer work, and the second is Paragon’s entrepreneurial spirit. “From a management perspective, Paragon is unique in the entrepreneurship of trying different things within the banking world,” Rudi says. “Whether it’s the LPO in Oxford or adding the Small Business Capital Group, in today’s changing market traditional banking has to be creative and think outside of the box.” Paragon is very grateful to have Rudi’s expertise and knowledge on Paragon’s Board of Directors. Thank you for your commitment and service to Paragon, Rudi!