People In Focus
,My dad always said, ,If you are going to do something, do it well,,, Ryland
, an admitted ,Type-A, personality, said reflecting on his
childhood.Those nuggets of wisdom have been a never-ending source of inspiration for the business dynamo who gets a charge out of helping others.Ryland is a successful banker and an attorney, and gets fired up when speaking about either profession. ,I,ve always had a desire to win in life.
I wanted to be successful and when I wanted to do something, I wanted to do it right.I have a passion about banking and I have a passion about law.And in everything I do, I want to be prepared, and do it well,, Ryland
was born in Bunkie but spent his
childhood in Effie, La. Ryland
,s father, Fred, drove a school bus and helped with the parish department of agriculture.His
mother, Corrine, knew from an early age Ryland liked to take center stage, so encouraged him to participate in various clubs at school.In elementary school, Ryland
participated in 4-H and entered every public-speaking contest he
even entered the school,s talent show to pantomime a song just so he
could be on stage.
In the fourth grade, Ryland
announced to his
two older brothers and his
parents that he
wanted to be a lawyer when he
grew up.While attending LaFargue High School, Ryland played forward and center on his school,s basketball team and even made the all-district team.But his pursuit of a career in public speaking drove him to excel in his school,s Parliamentary Law Team where he served as president.He was active in speech and debate and served as president of his high school class and as the Future Farmers of America president.After graduation, Ryland attended Louisiana State University at Alexandria for two years.Even at the junior college, he served as president of the Student Government Association.At LSU in Baton Rouge, Ryland graduated with honors earning a bachelor,s degree in business.He then received his law degree after graduating from LSU,s School of Law.He
was the first in his
family to become an attorney and the first student from his
high school graduating class to become an attorney.Ryland
wanted to return to his
roots, so moved back to Avoyelles Parish
.In high school, he
had met his
After working for a law firm for three years and even being promoted to a full partner, Ryland
own law firm in 1978.The Darrel Ryland Law Office
in Marksville currently has a staff of 10 and is the largest personal injury firm in Avoyelles Parish.That same year, Ryland was asked to be the legal counsel for the Union Bank in Marksville.
,At that time, the bank probably had about $70 million in assets,, Ryland
Through the next several years, Ryland
,s law business grew and his
involvement with Union Bank
was becoming more intense.In 1986, Ryland was named the chairman of the Union Bank Board and became the president of Union Bank.
is the largest stockholder of the bank, and Union Bank
currently has about $170 million in assets.The bank has branches in Alexandria, Pineville and a loan-production office in Lafayette.
When people ask him how he
manages to balance the life of a full-time banker with that of a full-time lawyer, father and husband, he
just grins and tells them it is because he
has a passion for all the things that are important to him: his
family, jobs and friends.
,I tell them it,s not a chore when it,s your passion, it,s a love,, Ryland
said with a laugh.
To get paid for doing something you love is a double blessing, Ryland
added.The banking industry and the law industry are both competitive businesses, but it is that edge that keeps Ryland sharp.Union Bank
is expanding and his
law firm has met with much success, usually with 350 clients at any given time.He
law business success to the repeat business and word of mouth generated by his
,I enjoy competition.It makes me a better banker and a better lawyer.I wouldn,t trade jobs with anyone in Central Louisiana.And I am surrounded by people who make me look good,, Ryland
At age 56, Ryland
does not foresee any early retirements.In fact, he
is spreading his
business wings and investing in real estate.And in his
heads back to his
farm in Effie to work with his
herd of 75 Black Angus cattle.But it is his
work that drives him and which he
gains the most personal satisfaction.
,I enjoy the law side, to be able to help others and solve their problems that gets results to make them whole.In the banking business, I get to help people by making them loans and seeing small businesses grow,, he
believes in giving back to the community too.He serves on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce and has served as the past president of the local Red Cross chapter.
Recently, the Union Bank
staff contributed money and supplies to evacuees of Hurricane Katrina and Rita.Through Ryland
,s direction, they have conducted blood drives and sponsor a Senior Citizen,s Fun Day for area residents.