The best way to describe Bill Herndon is as an “American Patriot.”
He actually wears that label as a badge of honor, citing family ancestry, his upbringing, service in the Marines, and his adoration of Winston Churchill.
You’d assume that he was a military brat who was dragged around the world, learning to salute those coming and going. Surprisingly he was not, as he grew up an only child in rural Texas and his family ultimately migrated to Detroit while his father rose through the ranks of General Motors.
“My dad was a finance and insurance executive with GM, and so I just assumed that I’d follow in his footsteps,” said Herndon, “and that’s sort of what happened.”
Bill attended the University of Michigan, earning a degree in Industrial Engineering. From there he began a 40-year banking career that took him around the world.
“I started with Citibank, working in their New York office at a time when computers were just coming out,” he said. “More importantly, it afforded me an opportunity to meet and marry Sally, my wife of 53 years.”
From the Big Apple, the young couple and their two young children – Will and Alyson – got transferred to Brussels and then San Juan, Toronto and London.
“We loved everywhere we went and just kept smiling so the children thought it was all good,” he said.
As Herndon’s career unfolded, he ultimately returned to the states and his family settled in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He signed on with Bank of America, becoming Vice President of Technology for their U.S. mortgage business.
“Growing up, I was always interested in how things worked and that wound up coming into play throughout my career. A vision or plan is important, but you have to know how to get there and I’m pretty good at making things happen,” he said, admitting that his analytical mind concentrates on process and results.
No better example is when he led the way at BofA, adopting the earliest RadioMail technology that became the precursor to modern day email. Giving up his office, he hit the road and learned to use electronic communications to lead his staff and work with colleagues throughout the country. In 1996, the Wall Street Journal did a feature story on Herndon, portraying him as the maverick “Road Warrior.”
Indeed, all roads lead home, and that brought him and his wife to Arizona in 2004 as their son and Sally’s sister already resided here.
“We just love Arcadia as it’s all about community. It kind of reminds me of Texas: very friendly, caring and trusting people,” he said.
When the Herndons aren’t enjoying the splendors of the neighborhood, they find themselves in Bigfork, Montana every summer, escaping the heat and feeding Bill’s appetite for
the great outdoors.
“Honestly, I’m a gun guy and an adventurer. I guess I got that from my family tree as my great, great grandfather fought at the Texas Independence Battle with General Sam Houston in 1836,” Bill said.
Herndon said he is not one to ever look back.
“I’m very satisfied with my life as things have gone well and that makes me quite happy.”