NDSU graduates build careers at Gate City Bank

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Two NDSU graduates came to study and play football in Fargo, and decided to stay.

Steve Walker and Colten Heagle work in Fargo where Walker is the manager for Gate City Insurance Agency and Heagle is a mortgage lender for Gate City Bank. They both had internships at the bank.

Walker, who is originally from a Chicago suburb, was NDSU’s starting quarterback from 2004 to 2007 during the university’s transition to Division I. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Walker had hoped to play football with the NFL, but when that didn’t work out, he joined an insurance company in Fargo. The company eventually asked him to manage its office in Minneapolis.

Leaving Fargo was one of the hardest decisions for Walker and his wife, former NDSU basketball player Katie Dahlen. A year and a half later, Gate City Bank asked him to build its new insurance business in Fargo. It was a no-brainer for the Walkers. “Fargo is a great place to live and work and to raise a family,” Walker said.

Heagle played strong safety in the 2011, 2013 and 2014 championship games, but sat out the 2012 game due to a knee injury. He considered coaching football and moving home to Appleton, Wisconsin, after graduating in December 2014 with a degree in marketing. Gate City Bank offered him a job and he decided to stay.They are just two examples of NDSU graduates who live and work in the area. Fargo-Moorhead businesses, such as Gate City Bank, depend on NDSU to educate professionals for North Dakota’s expanding workforce.

“The teamwork and self-discipline Colten and Steve learned from being student athletes along with the proactive education they received at NDSU prepared them to successfully enter the workforce,” said Steve Swiontek, chairman, president and CEO of Gate City Bank. “Gate City Bank recognized this and welcomed them as interns during their time at NDSU. I have enjoyed watching them grow as individuals, students and athletes and we’re privileged to have them as part of the Gate City Bank team.”

NDSU prepared Walker and Heagle to take their places in the workforce. Walker said his professors were great at combining textbook knowledge with real-life scenarios and relating it to the business world. Heagle said he needed to work at his academics and credits his professors with teaching him how to learn. That ability enabled Heagle to move from his initial marketing position at the bank and adapt to the rigorous training required to become a loan officer.

In addition, they learned teamwork, communication, self-discipline, listening skills and leadership skills as student athletes. Being on the football team was like a full-time job. They learned how to prioritize school and athletics.

Walker enjoys the family-friendly activities in Fargo, like going sledding and taking in children’s films on Saturday mornings. And, of course, they attend NDSU football, basketball and baseball games.

Fargo is also a good fit for Heagle. He’s made friends here and is networking with other young professionals in the area. “The more opportunities you take advantage of, the more you learn, which results in more memorable experiences,” Heagle said.


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