Jim Kimball is River City Bank’s Market President for the North Bay and is responsible for expanding the bank’s commercial banking presence in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. He brings more than 30 years of experience in commercial banking, retail banking, and wealth management to River City Bank. We recently connected with Jim, and he shared his stories about living in the same town where he grew up, his passion for fly fishing, and staying positive during the harshest of circumstances while coming out stronger and wiser on the other side.
Hometown: Petaluma, CA. I am the third generation in my family to live in Petaluma. My wife and I grew up a block from each other, which is only about a mile from where we live now…we didn’t get very far!
First Job: I was a busboy Pueblo del Sol Mexican restaurant at the advanced age of 14.
First Car: 1963 VW bug. My best friend and I had nearly the same cars, and we restored and modified them together so we could race autocross.
Favorite Quote(s): “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” — Albert Einstein
Favorite Movie: “The Godfather” by Francis Ford Coppola. Not only do I really enjoy the story and the plot, but every scene could be a photograph. We have a little tradition in our house: I have been making Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family for the last 30 years, and some years ago, TMC began running a Godfather I, II, and III marathon. I have it on while I cook…except for Godfather III, I’m not a fan of that one.
Favorite song: This is a tough one. I am a classic rock fan, and there are so many songs I tortured my kids with over the years, but I would have to say “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page is a maestro!
Favorite city to visit: Florence, Italy. My daughter studied abroad and lived there for a semester, and we had the pleasure of spending a couple of weeks there. Beautiful!
Favorite place in Sacramento/Bay Area/Southern California: Bear Valley National Seashore in Point Reyes. I love to hike and backpack, and it’s a great spot to get away…and it’s only 30 minutes from my house!
First site or app you check in the morning: I usually scan through LinkedIn to see what’s happening, but I quickly move to Instagram. I’m a serial fly fisherman, and all my fishing buddies and I try to make each other envious by posting pics of trips we’ve taken and fish we’ve caught.
What are you reading right now? “Savage Son” by Jack Carr. It’s a Jack Ryan type of novel…one of the best I have ever read!
Morning ritual: I am up at 6:00 and take my Lab Hallie for an hour hike in the open space area behind our home. During the walk, I listen to a podcast or an audiobook. After that, all I can think about is coffee!!!
If you have an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it? Fly fishing or mountain biking…I would love to find a way to do both every day!
Radio or podcasts? I love podcasts. I use to commute three hours plus a day and thought I would use the time to learn something or at least become better informed. I really enjoy Dan Carlin’s podcasts (Hardcore History & Common Sense History), but I’m also a big Joe Rogan fan.
Who is your favorite hero/heroine of fiction? Jack Ryan (Tom Clancy novels) or Robert Langdon (Dan Brown novels)
Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be able to play the guitar. My son has been playing since he was 11, and I have always admired his passion and how quickly he learned. He has tried to teach me a few chords, but it was really hard for me. One day!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? My wife and I grew up together in Petaluma, and we have known each other since the 2nd grade. We grew up in homes a block from each other, and our parents still live there today. We did not date until college…it wasn’t from a lack of trying, I kept asking her out on dates, and she kept telling me “no.” Let’s just say my wife had good judgment! She was a model daughter, and I was a wild child, and she wanted me to grow-up a little before dating was a possibility.
Which causes/nonprofits do you support? I have always been an advocate and supporter of education. My wife Sharon and I have been very involved in the Petaluma Educational Foundation. They provide grants and facilitate scholarships for local students and schools.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? My wife and I have an Airstream trailer, and we love exploring and spending time in nature. My idea of “perfect” happiness is when we are camping somewhere, our adult children and our Labrador Retriever Hallie are with us, and we are able to enjoy the time together. Now, if there is a nearby stream that my son and I can fly fish (there almost always is…by design!), I couldn’t be happier.
What did you want to be when you were a child? Funny enough, I always wanted to either be a professional baseball player or a banker. As I approached college, I came to the conclusion that the odds of me making it to MLB were between slim and none; as a result, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and pursue banking.
What is your greatest fear? I think I am always fearful that I will let my team and the people I care for down. I let this fear motivate me to keep pushing and challenging myself to be better for them and for me.
Which living person do you most admire? I would have to say, my mom. She is one of eight children growing up in rural California as a Japanese-American family during WWII. While the family started as farm laborers, they were able to start their own egg business in Petaluma during the 1930s. Unfortunately, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, my mother, her family, and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans were interned for four years. Aside from the hardships they endured while imprisoned, the challenging part was coming back to almost nothing and having to start all over in a community where many still harbored harsh feelings. In spite of this, my mother always took the high road, worked hard, and never let the experience make her bitter and stop her from caring for everyone she came in contact with. My mom has always been one of the most positive and generous people I’ve known.
What is your greatest extravagance? As I have mentioned several times, I love to fly fish and this passion has taken me to different parts of the world in this pursuit. Every year I try take at least one big trip. I’ve had the good fortune to go to Alaska many times, Patagonia, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, etc. and I just love it. Given the COVID-19 situation, I will be very content to spend time in the Sierras and the rivers of Northern California this year!
What is your current state of mind? As I “shelter in place” during the pandemic with my family (both our kids have come home to ride-out the pandemic with my wife and me), I feel a mixture of gratitude and concern. Concern for all those being affected by the health and financial impact of the virus and gratitude that my family is currently healthy, safe, and still able to work from home.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Probably patience. For those who know me best, I have worked my entire life to become more patient because I am generally impatient by nature. This journey has taught me many things require and deserve high doses of this virtue: raising children, building long-lasting relationships, fly fishing, driving in Bay Area traffic, etc. On the other hand, like any other virtue or trait, you can over-play it in certain situations. I think as you get older, you figure out there are times you need to let things happen, while there are others where you need to make things happen. The wisdom I continually seek is to know the difference.
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out? (Or a piece of advice you’re glad you ignored?) My dad always told me there is something to be learned from everyone you meet. The trick sometimes is figuring out what that might be.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My family.
What do you like best about working at River City Bank? It’s the people! While I have only been with RCB for a few months, everyone has been so kind and willing to help. Starting-up a new region during a pandemic could easily make a person feel like Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves, but the entire team has made an extraordinary effort to make me feel welcome and a part of the team. During the PPP process, there were many things I needed to learn in order to get things done for our new clients, and I had to rely on many teammates to assist me. I was NEVER disappointed! Thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome.