R.G. “Kelly” Caldwell is CEO and President of Caldwell Trust Company and its parent, Trust Companies of America, Inc. The Caldwell Trust Company Business Scholarship is an award given annually to students attending the College of Business at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
Why is USFSM important to you personally?
Caldwell Trust Company has first-hand experience in the value of USFSM, not only to our community but also to our own business. Back in 2003 we hired Sonya Kristie (now Sonya Dlug), as an intern when she was a junior-year student at USFSM. Sonya proved so capable and talented that upon her graduation in 2005, we promoted her to fulltime trust assistant. She rose quickly within our company, becoming a trust associate in 2007 and assistant trust officer in 2009. By 2010—just five years out of USFSM–she was a full trust officer, serving her own clients with our complete confidence. It’s gratifying for Caldwell to know that USFSM helps to educate our young people right here in Sarasota. We don’t have to look outside our area to find capable employees who already know and love our community.
What do you think the role of USFSM is in the community?
Absent institutions like USFSM, many of our local youth would be attending colleges in other communities or states. USFSM provides the same resources, presenting a clear path for our kids to stay and work within our community. By serving our young people so well and keeping them in town, USFSM brings a vibrancy to our community.
How important was your education in preparing you for your business success?
Very important. I was trained as an engineer, a profession that taught me to approach problems with critical thinking in a linear fashion. In our fast-moving, ever-changing world, it is vitally important to bring that keen, cold-eyed look, to cut through the superficial noise and get to the heart of a situation.
What drives you in giving back to the community?
This is my home. My family’s roots herego back to the 70s. This community has given so much to me and has meant so much to our family for generations, and I believe strongly in giving back.This is where I grew up as a child, where I wish to raise my three children. I want them to live in a strong community, a prosperous one. The best way to ensure that future for my boys—and for others here—is to contribute my time, talent and whatever other resources I can provide so that I can help to build on the outstanding resources we all enjoy.