‘Stormin’ Norman’ Bagwell a Hands-On Leader
Norman P. Bagwell, CEO of Bank of Texas and executive vice president of BOK Financial, loves hardware stores and do-it-yourself projects.
“I’ll try pretty much anything once,” he said, recalling how when he was young and broke he installed a sprinkler system, an arduous endeavor that involved, “digging holes, laying pipe, and running wires.
“That’s the job you do one time,” he said, laughing.
The hands-on ‘Stormin’ Norman,’ as his friends call him, has served for years as a leader in business and the community – work that has won him recent recognition from Bank of Texas, Texas Woman’s University, and Texas Woman’s University Foundation.
They selected him to receive the 16th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award on Feb. 21 at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion.
“Texas Woman’s is thrilled to honor such an inspirational leader for his ongoing commitment to improving life for others, including helping so many to achieve their dreams through education,” said Carine Feyten, chancellor and president at Texas Woman’s University.
Bagwell has an approach to living life and facing challenges: “No matter who you are or where you are from, whatever hand you are dealt— play the hand to the very best of your ability to get the best outcome.”
Whether it was adjusting to the move from small town Monroe, Louisiana to the “big city” of Dallas where he knew no one; getting his start in banking in the 1980s, when failures and the savings and loan crisis dominated headlines; or facing health issues in his 40s, Bagwell sought to do his very best, keep a good attitude; and ultimately learn from and use his experiences as stepping stones to move forward, he said.
“I want to be around him because he has the most contagious, positive outlook,” said Kevin L. Knox, an assistant dean for SMU’s Cox School of Business.
Bagwell, an SMU graduate, credits the “good hands” he’s had to the “greatness of our city and our community,” his career in financial services, and his parent’s guidance.
He sees promoting education as a way to help others obtain good outcomes, too.
“Education lifts people out of poverty and propels people to fulfill their personal aspirations, is mission critical for our community, and needs to be accessible by all,” Bagwell said.
Mark B. Wade, Bank of Texas president and COO, describes Bagwell as a great mentor and friend who “has inspired our people to be the best that each one of them can be.”
To be his best, Bagwell’s vision for this year involves balancing his roles as husband, father, holder of numerous titles, and member of several boards.
He half-jokes his long-term dream is to open Norm’s True Value Hardware and Ice Cream.