One Goal After Another

Sam Longoria: a story of professional success and community championship

By: Anne Booher
Photos by: MC Studio Workz

Wardrobe and accessories provided by Brooks Brothers / Outlets at Corpus Christi Bay. Individually styled by Dennis Hernandez (store manager) and Kim Encinia (sales associate)

Sam Longoria’s roots run deep in the Coastal Bend. Currently the vice president of business banking for BBVA Compass Bank, Longoria earned this title with hard work and dedication to achieving the goals he set. He wholeheartedly believes that young people have a responsibility to their community, and he encourages that in his civic engagement endeavors.

Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Longoria started his career as a sales associate for Express Men. Following a great deal of success, he transferred to one of the company’s top stores in McAllen, Texas. After enjoying an accomplished first year, he decided for a change in retail to work with Fossil.

“I liked the company and their philosophy,” he explains. “They want associates to work with customers, listening to their needs and providing products based off their desires, rather than pushing items the customer might not want and then returns later. I had a chance to run a store in Houston, but decided to finish my bachelor’s degree back in Corpus Christi.”

That decision led him to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where he received his bachelor’s degree in finance. He also holds an associate’s degree in business administration from Del Mar College. Both establishments instilled strong work ethic and helped him better determine his goals and how to reach them.

Taking a suggestion from a friend, Longoria applied for a job as a personal banker with Kleberg Bank. The position had already been filled in-house, but he showed up for the interview regardless and was offered a job as a bank teller. Longoria quickly met and exceeded goals set by management, moved up as a personal banker and then was promoted to assistant manager.

“I wanted to do whatever I needed to keep growing,” Longoria says. He was then offered an opportunity to take on a challenged store as the branch manager. “I established a great team and working environment. Within a year, we became one of the top-performing in-store branches.”

Longoria attributes that achievement to giving time and attention to his employees, teaching them accountability and pointing out their successes. “It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing if you were in my office,” he says. “Every time I would have one-on-ones with employees, we talked about what was working and what wasn’t. The environment was great. Almost all of my team became managers or assistant managers after I left that position.”

Longoria was offered a commercial relationship manager position due to his success on the retail side of banking. Longoria worked closely with bank president, Gabriel Guerra, on the commercial banking side. “Gabe was a mentor of mine and taught me the importance of community advocacy and relationship banking,” Longoria says. “I always wanted to be doing what Gabe was doing.”

Longoria was then offered a position as the vice president of business banking with BBVA Compass and decided to make the switch. “BBVA is very similar to a community bank, despite having a global presence,” Longoria says. “The U.S. market only makes up 12 percent of BBVA’s global market share. The United States market continues to grow with a significant focus on technology and innovation in banking.”

Longoria has an extensive network of community involvement, in addition to his professional achievements. He holds the following positions:

• President-elect of Leadership Corpus Christi Alumni Association

• President of Young Business Professionals

• Board member of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and Foundation

• Board member of the Corpus Christi Education Foundation

Leadership Corpus Christi is close to Longoria’s heart, and is a Chamber Foundation-led program that helps aspiring leaders develop skills that will ultimately enhance their community. Longoria recommends this program to any person starting out who may need motivation to get involved locally. “Leadership CC has been a major part of my life, and the group is extremely loyal,” Longoria says. “I always encourage people to apply.”

The professional connections he made in Leadership CC were instrumental in leading him to BBVA, and he now has a network of business leaders to whom he can turn for assistance. The opportunities for community involvement are abundant with the right attitude.

“Communication is an instrumental focus for people starting out. If you get out there and start talking to people, you will find mentors, managers and leaders who are willing to help, but you have to be willing to communicate. You are in control of your experiences in life,” Longoria says.

“Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend is a great organization open to college students and young professionals of all industries. Our focus is to retain young professionals in the Coastal Bend, so we have core values that assist our mission. Our United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce is always looking for champions to volunteer and serve our community, and nonprofit organizations are always looking for help.”

Longoria attributes much of his success to his parents. “My mom and dad taught my brother and me the importance of relationships, accountability and teamwork to thrive in whatever we did,” he says. “In your journey through life, you will meet significant people who want to see you succeed. To name a few: Dr. Ben Blanco – education; Dan Brown – regional CEO, BBVA Compass; Jerry Kane – consultant; Rosie Colin – Port of CC; I could go on with friends and family, of course. I feel blessed to have everyone in my life.”

In addition to his personal achievements at BBVA, Longoria married his wife, Veronica, in January 2017, and they have a 14-year-old son. “As your family grows, your responsibilities change from a time-management standpoint. While you’re young, you have time to be involved, so take advantage of that,” Longoria says. “I’m fortunate: I have a loving wife who understands my passion for community involvement. But getting our young community involved in our city is essential.”

Amidst his abundant professional success, Longoria has a sincere desire to see Corpus Christi fulfill its potential, and he encourages the next generation of young leaders to bolster that progress. Undoubtedly with his effort and enthusiasm, that goal won’t be difficult to achieve.

Learn more about Sam Longoria by visiting the BBVA Compass Bank, Downtown Corpus Christi location, at 101 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Corpus Christi, Texas.