The Ohio State University at Lima

College degree leads to dual career for Todd Mason

During any given fall day, it’s not uncommon for Todd Mason to spend his mornings in a suit and tie, managing five community bank locations, meeting with clients and overseeing expansion projects, and then, by late afternoon, for him to be in the combine harvesting his 250 acres of farmland in eastern Allen County. Despite the long days and nights, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Todd Mason

“The only reason I went to college was to make enough money to do what I really wanted to do – farm,” Mason (BS, 1985) says. “I never imagined that by attending college, I'd discover another career that I loved just as much, and would afford me the opportunity to still farm our small family farm. The opportunities my degree from Ohio State provided me gave me the best of both worlds.”

Mason grew up not unlike many other students who come to Ohio State Lima. He had a modest upbringing, and knew that he’d have to find a way to pay for college. The proximity of his family farm to campus meant that he could continue to raise his once-4-H projects of hogs and cattle, and earn enough money to pay for tuition.

“Every quarter, I’d sell a few more beef cattle in order to pay for tuition,” he says. “They were my financing plan.”

When Mason moved to the Columbus campus to finish his dual major of accounting and computer science, he realized that this wasn't the career path for him. He wanted to be outside and farm and interact with people. He ultimately married his two passions with a degree in agribusiness and began a job search during the farm crisis of the 1980s.

Not to be defeated by the grim outlook for the job market, Mason reconnected with a small community bank president back home, who first gave him his first car loan at age 16. Five years later, as a recent college graduate, Mason accepted his first job as a drive thru teller. After learning every job in the bank, he became the vice president of acquisitions within five years.

Fast forward to today, and Mason is now the president and CEO of First National Bank of Pandora following a career built on small community bank opportunities.

“In 33 years, never gotten a job I’ve applied for,” he says. “Someone has always sought me out. It’s been all about networking, living local and doing the right things for the right reasons.”

Mason’s commitment to community banks and the communities they serve is evident by the relationships he’s built near and far. His professional achievements include being a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland as well as the Ohio Community Bank Council member to the American Bankers Association.

“When I was 18, I could have never imagined the doors and opportunities that would be opened by my college education,” Mason says. “But what I’ve learned is that it is up to me to act on those opportunities.”

Todd Mason (above) graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1985. His degree was awarded with distinction in agricultural economics.