About Beth Bumgarner

Flag Day 2015

Oh, every heart beats true for the red, white, and blue.

Oh, every heart beats true for the red, white, and blue.

“We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home. … But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done.” - President Calvin Coolidge

Five fast facts for Flag Day can be found here, courtesy of the USO.

Memorial Day 2015

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-symbols-america-image4813009“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” -John F. Kennedy

It is with sincere gratitude that we remember those who gave their lives to obtain and preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today.

A Word to 2015 Graduates

It’s graduation season, and all across the country, members of the Class of 2015 are taking that walk across the stage, beaming with pride and experiencing the thrill of, “I am so glad THAT is over with. Now I can move on to the rest of my life!” Go ahead, grads. Bask in the glow for awhile. You’ve earned it.

We are thrilled for you, Class of 2015!

We are thrilled for you, Class of 2015!

Graduation truly is a momentous occasion, filled with caps and gowns, embarrassing baby pictures, lots of cake, and sentimentality for all of your years of growth and effort. The swirling of hope for the future, which is finally the here-and-now, is in the air. It feels good to take pride in a job well-done. (Don’t worry, we aren’t checking with the dean to see how well your job was actually done. The point now is that it’s over with!)

Meanwhile, parents, commencement speakers, and family friends will be doing their best to sum up their pride in your achievements and all of their wishes for your future in a fifteen minute speech or a scrawl on a Hallmark card. If only it were that easy.

You got your diploma, you’ve earned your degree. Now what? Does true life really start now? Will everything work out well because you followed all of the rules, passed all of the tests, and shook all of the right hands? We don’t know. And neither does anyone else. Irritating, right?

The reality is, this is your journey and it didn’t begin the second you stepped off that stage with a piece of parchment in your hand. You’ve been on it since you got here. There have been twists and turns, and there will continue to be some more. Lots more. But, keep up the effort, work hard and be a success in your chosen career, and try to do some good. You don’t have to save the world, just keep making a difference to someone, no matter how small, every day. Keep in mind this stellar quote from e.e. cummings as you continue on your path, grads. We know you will do just fine. Congratulations.


“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”

e.e. cummings


Veterans Day 2014

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14325905568/in/photolist-nPW1BS-o7ieZm-cze8bf-nPW2hj-nPVFX9-9hXri1-o7ifhW-dN7rKV-9HwxtQ-nPW4gj-nwUNyy-8PvfPD-a5dWtP-mgrfhn-nuQE6d-nwCfPG-nuQDdw-7UzoSM-nfoKpi-kZZBsP-nyEipM-nPVDU1-drNHhP-nwCe7o-7Uzp7D-9bMZfP-ntepCy-6rvyLM-efMUzz-eBpaqV-nMG5oM-4LNeSr-o5nXmA-nvctuq-o2UzDY-nMD72w-bGPx9D-4VCyBZ-hQCJFt-4wkgCT-nfoJUR-f2AuWa-4Dtfpo-nMG2ZD-9oprPQ-7ycycn-7ygnsm-nvcWfr-aAjbxH-7ygwjC

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart.

It is with sincere gratitude that we honor our veterans today. May we never forget the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, and their families at home who await their safe return.

To all those who have answered the call to serve our great nation, thank you.

A Farm Fresh Perspective

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-fresh-berries-dark-background-strawberries-raspberries-blueberries-health-diet-gardening-harvest-concept-image41423247Farmers markets are in full swing this time of year. Handmade signs beckon us to stop and browse the morning’s harvest and friendly farmers gladly chat about growing conditions and recipes. It’s a time to reap the rewards of their hard work, time, and attention to the details. Planting conditions are not always ideal and the weather can waylay even the best garden plans. But still, the farmer adjusts and adapts to the current situation by watering more, watering less, and pulling out the ever-eager weeds. So in the end, we benefit from all of their efforts and score some fresh marmalade and pints of sweet blackberries.

Believe it or not, strategic planning for financial institutions is not unlike the work that our faithful farmers dedicate themselves to year-round. We make plans, we till the soil, and we plant the seeds. We establish a vision for where we want to be in the coming months and years and we work day in and day out to make it happen. We make adjustments as the economic weather changes and we keep our eyes on the goal: growth, whether it be organic, or from the acquisition of new “farmland,” increased profits, and perhaps rotating the crops of our products and services. Like the farmer, we must mind the details. If we grow impatient and attempt to maximize yield at the expense of the land by dumping an aggressive amount of fertilizer on our seedlings, we will kill our crops and never see a healthy harvest. Because the farmer has one ultimate goal in mind -feeding people- she must manage her land, her crops, and her employees with care. We must keep our sights on our goals as well.

In the heat of the summer, however, ”garden fatigue” can set in. Home gardeners and farmers alike grow weary of the water demands of the garden in the dry, hot conditions of the peak of summer. And those ever-present weeds? Enough!

As we head into fall planning sessions, have you grown tired of last year’s strategic plan? Has it been a while since you even looked at it? It is always exciting to plant new seeds, but the day-to-day work can seem painfully unfulfilling at times. Exhausting, even. Maybe garden fatigue has drained the life out of your strategic plan and the harvest seems out of reach. It happens to the best of us. Through careful planning, mindful adjustments, and an eye on that ultimate goal: harvesting the food and feeding the people, the profits will come.

Many of our clients appreciate the new perspective we can offer in creating next year’s strategic plan. We not only help plant the seeds, but keep them watered and fertilized as well. And those darn weeds? We can help with that, too. If you’d like to have a conversation about the specific needs of your financial institution,  we can be reached at 908-368-1270. We’ve even scooped our share of, um, manure over the years.


Memorial Day 2014

Photo credit: FleetonFields.com

Photo credit: FleetonFields.com

It is with great reverence and respect that we remember those who gave their lives in defense of our great nation. One day of remembrance does not do their memories justice, but we remain ever thankful for their service and sacrifice.

New Blog Series: The 6 Ps of Business

© Pavalache Stelian | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Pavalache Stelian | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Can we really wrap up all you need to know about business in just 6 easy blog posts? And, can we do it with only one letter of the alphabet?

Let’s find out! Join us for our new series featuring “The 6 Ps of Business” starting on Monday.

Please be our guest.

It won’t be painful.

We promise.



Reconn Radio: Podcast #15 – Week of 03/17/14


A Special Guest, St. Patrick’s Day, and the movie “Da”

This week, we shift gears a bit and talk with old friends, discuss sports, and turn Irish for the day. Our special guest is one of my dearest friends in the world, Dwayne Fulmer. As our Man on the Street, Dwayne give us his perspective on banking from the consumer’s point of view. Plus, we consider Milwaukee sports and Martin Sheen in the movie “Da.” Aren’t you green with envy? We thought so.



To listen to more of our podcasts, please click here.

Lucky Charms


Green beer, four-leaf clovers, and leprechauns are on center stage as we all become Irish for a day on St. Patrick’s Day.

Although my married name of Bumgarner keeps it a secret, my family tree is actually rooted firmly in Irish soil. As a child, the seventeenth day of March brought with it the rollicking sound of the Irish Rovers from my dad’s stereo turntable and milk made green overnight in the refrigerator by the magical touch of a sneaky leprechaun. It was a day to be proud of our family heritage and eat the requisite corned beef and cabbage. Forgetting to wear green that day was practically a mortal sin, or, at the very least, painful, because you would be pinched all day long.

Some look forward to the whimsy of days like St. Patrick’s Day because it breaks up the monotony of the average day. And who doesn’t love a good Reuben sandwich with the leftover corned beef? Others find the minor holidays a mere distraction from the work of the day and pay them no notice at all.

It’s true that as adults we know that the leprechaun’s pot of gold is as elusive as a winning lottery ticket. By now we pretty much understand that we make our own luck (no matter how difficult that may be to accept on any given day) and that horseshoes and rabbits’ feet are merely symbols of our desire for a favorable outcome. In fact, one of the Irish blessings currently hanging in my home is this one:

“Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it.”

There is no magical rainbow that leads us to riches, but that doesn’t stop me from taking a second glance at a clover patch…just in case.

As you go about your day today, here’s an Irish blessing for you. It’s one of my favorites.

May those who love us, love us;
And for those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we will know them by their limping!


Here’s to a great St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours. Slainte!


Reconn Radio: Podcast #11 – Week of 2/17/2014


The Economy, EMV & “The American President”

This week, I discuss the upcoming economic items for this week. I also delve into EMV and remind folks of its pending entrance into the American market. Finally, we close with a timely discussion about “The American President,” one of my favorite movies, and about gaining perspective. Go!




To listen to more of our podcasts, then please click here.