Evon Markum retired, but not slowing down
Evon Markum wasn’t even sure she wanted the job when she went to work for First Bank Texas (then First National Bank) nearly two decades ago. But as she has done with everything else in her life, once she accepted it, her enthusiasm and zeal led to great success.
Now, she’s approaching retirement with that same energy as she says farewell to the company for which she’s worked since 2004.
“I’ve helped arrange a lot of retirement parties, now it’s my turn,” she said with a chuckle. “It’s time to travel a little more, and a lot of other things I’ll have more time for, like go see the grandboys.”
“I bought myself a bike for Christmas and I haven’t ridden it yet – and it’s a beautiful bike.”
Speaking of travel, she said she and husband Don will probably be taking a few more road trips to Tulsa in their two classic automobiles to see those grandchildren. She has a 1971 ElDorado convertible and he has a 1978 Trans Am.
“I think we’ll be getting those out a little bit more,” she said.
Evon, who will turn 58 in May, spent her entire time with FNB/FBT in marketing, including the last handful as the executive vice president of marketing. It was the culmination of skills she started learning early in life.At only 18 years old she and some friends bought a newspaper, the White Settlement Leader. After a couple years they sold it for a profit, she said.
“It wasn’t in business very long, but it sold for good money,” she recalled.
Originally from San Antonio, she and her family moved to White Settlement after her father retired from the military. She attended Brewer High School.
“My dad was a military police officer and on weekends he sold costume jewelry. I was his salesperson,” she said. “We had a blast doing that. From there I blossomed into a marketing person.”
Evon’s resumé reflects that. In her career she has won numerous awards, including the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and the Spirit of Careity Award. This year she is nominated for the EPCCC Business Person of the Year, an award that was being presented at press time.
“It really is an honor just to be nominated. I know everyone says that, but it really is special that someone thinks that much of you,” she said. “I would encourage anybody to go into marketing. It’s fun, it’s stressful, and you have a lot of plates spinning at the same time, but it’s so satisfying.”
Before coming to FBT she worked for CSSI and Charles Beard for several years. She sold for CSSI and helped develop programs for his local radio stations. She even helped launch QXFM, the still popular FM station in town. Then, for a couple years, she started her own public relations/marketing company. Under her expertise, G&D Pools was named Small Business of the Year by the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce.
“If someone needed a placemat or a menu, it didn’t matter, I did all sorts of little things for people,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to help small businesses grow, and I’ve felt that’s what I’ve done here.”
It was her personal success that got the attention of FNB. The bank, then First National, needed someone to do a commercial, which she did and it was well-received. That led to a few other projects and, eventually, a full-time job offer.
“At first I said I wanted to do my own thing,” Evon said.
But after she met with Chairman of the Board Joe Sharp, Evon changed her mind. She’s never looked back at what she considers one of the best choices she’s ever made.
“It’s been very good to me and my husband. We got to meet people and do things we never could have done, and now I think there’s a lot more for me to do out there,” she said.
“The thing I’ll miss most is the relationships, the friends I’ve made at the bank. I’ve met customers who are among my very best friends. I’ve even traveled with them.”
Evon and Don have been married 39 years come September. They have a daughter, Stephanie Haddock, who, with husband Sean, has given them grandsons Tristan, age 10, and 8-year-old Chase.
“She named him after a bank, and the competitor at that,” Evon said with a laugh. “Not really, but I tease her about that.
“But when he was little, about 4 or 5, we’d pass by a Chase Bank and he’d say, ‘There’s my store.’”
Among the things Evon is most proud of is her community service, particularly helping create the annual Pink Luncheon hosted by the Parker County Health Foundation, with the help of the Careity Foundation. It’s a fitting charity for her to be involved in as she is known for her love of the color pink, often found in her clothing and even in her eyeglasses.
“I’m a pink girl from way back,” noting that even her grandsons call her Pink Grandma.
She recalled how, in 2005, she joined with Kathleen Durham and Susan Sodek of the hospital district to get the now largest luncheon in Parker County underway to help fight breast cancer.
“They had gone to Brand X Bank to ask for help with a fundraiser. Brand X Bank turned them down, so they came down the street to us,” she reflected. “We thought it was a great opportunity to do this and keep everything, 100% of the proceeds, in Parker County.
“They brought the mammography bus here and it was paid for with proceeds from the Pink Luncheon. They’d never had that before.”
Over the years the Pink Luncheon has made over one million dollars and has grown from around 120 attendees to almost 900 just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s event drew around 700, she said.
She is also retiring from her position with the Pink Luncheon as volunteer coordinator, but she will still be attending her favorite event.
“I will be there as a guest for the first time, and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t have to set up the day before or clean up afterward,” she said, adding with a grin that, of course, if they need some help she’ll still pitch in.
“I’m always going to be there if they need my help. When the Senior Center needs something, I’ll be there. I’ll always be somewhere doing something, being a Meals on Wheels volunteer, helping with charities, the Careity Foundation,” she said.
Aside from volunteer work and enjoying her grandsons more, Evon has other exciting plans for retirement. While she won’t have a job, it doesn’t mean she won’t be doing a lot of work.
“I’ve always wanted to write children’s books – no one ever knew that about me – I think that’s the earliest age you can influence them,” she said. “Both of our grandboys are great readers.
“I could also write a marketing book. I’ll spend more time with my mom, who lives near the Alliance Airport. And I’ll just sit and drink a cup of coffee on my back patio.”
She added that retirement might also mean surrendering another of her passions. She is also known for her love of high-heeled shoes.
“I may have to give up my high heels for tennis shoes,” she said with a laugh.