20 Under 40 Feature: Lee CalamePublished 3:27pm Monday, July 29, 2013
It took him moving away at a young age to realize what he loved and missed most about Selma — the beauty of the Alabama River and the sense of community in Selma that develops real and lifelong friendships.
Lee Calame was born in Selma but his family moved to Tuscaloosa, while he was still in junior high school. In 2008 Calame returned to Selma to work for Trustmark Bank after longing to come back and realizing his passion for the city. After living in places like Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, he said Selma has something to offer those places do not — friendships.
“More is not always better with friends, and I think Selma gives you the opportunity to get to know your friends more so than in other cities that are bigger,” Calame said. “Even though I was 11 when I moved away, you miss that sense of community when you move away from Selma. All of our parents were friends because they all had kids the same age and it is the same with our generation — we are friends because there are only so many of us with kids the same age and that gives to the opportunity to build friendships.”
Apart from building friendships in a social setting of the community, Calame works to build friendships daily as a lender and financial advisor for Trustmark bank. Calame said his contribution is giving advice to those individuals and industries in Selma and to genuinely help the community and see it grow.
“Sometimes I help them set up a loan or account, or sometimes I tell them to look in a different direction,” Calame said of his daily work. “If you bring good, sound, solid advice, that is not only going to bring more to the bank, but help the city more than to just tell someone you need to do this or that not knowing how someone wants to accomplish their goals.”
Calame said as Selma continues to grow and recruit new industries and retail businesses, he sees the direct effect that has on all individuals in the community. And while some may refer to him as a banker, he does more than just bank and crunch numbers — he offers up advice he thinks will help the city continue to grow.
Calame also uses his financial wisdom in other areas, like financial boards and committees for various organizations in town like the Chamber of Commerce where he is chairman elect and the financial committee for his church, Church Street United Methodist Church.
And while Calame wants to see the city grow its industries and personal bank accounts, he also wants to see the city utilize its major assets such as history and tourism.
“The major events going on in Selma are the true assets. If we don’t embrace that history then we cannot embrace the future and plan better things for the future,” he said.