Powered by People: Bob Morgan
Natural Resources group manages real estate properties, using a team of experts in the field.
As the sun begins to rise above the Mississippi horizon, it’s already playing catch-up with Bob Morgan.
A farm manager for Regions the past 31 years, Morgan is already on the road in his pickup truck, foregoing a banker’s suit for comfortable khakis and work boots. Late-October means he’s headed to a cotton field north of Jackson typical of the farms he manages.
“When you have farms in a three-state area, and over 23 counties, there’s something going on somewhere all the time,” Morgan said. “I’ve got farms here in Mississippi, across Central Louisiana and one in Arkansas.
“Basically, I keep farmer’s hours and respond to what’s going on at the farm wherever that farm may be.”
Morgan is part of the Natural Resources/Real Estate group at Regions, which manages natural resources and real estate properties held in trust, agency, IRA and estate accounts. These are the people entrusted with maintaining property and growing revenue, and the group includes a team of trained professionals.
During growing and harvest seasons, Morgan will cover about 3,000 miles of asphalt and dirt roads in his trusty F-150, looking at farm operations, crop conditions or overseeing improvement projects like irrigation projects. He is based in Greenwood, Miss., near where he grew up on a family farm.
Retired from the Mississippi Air National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel, Morgan is tasked to protect the investments of absentee owners, many who inherited the land, and work with the renters who till the soil in their place.
And he doesn’t work alone. In Jackson, he works with a pair of veteran trust officers: Richard Crowder and Frank Parent, both of whom have nearly 30 years of experience.
“One of the advantages of having Regions as a property manager is that I can draw on a larger team to help me manage the property,” Morgan said. And that team includes experts in a variety of fields.
Timberland dominates the state of Mississippi. And to make sure his clients get the most value, Morgan often works with foresters Ken Booker and Rich Nichols.
“A banker at Regions will help their client with their general asset portfolio,” said Booker, a forester with Regions for 15 years. “Part of that wealth may include timberland. We are here at Regions to help with management of that asset.”
Sometimes, there’s even more value under the ground. That’s when the team brings in Eddy Waller, an oil and gas property manager out of Jackson.
Waller researches mineral rights and negotiates oil and gas leases for Regions’ customers with oil companies.
“I manage trusts wherever the trusts are based. Most are in Mississippi, but I oversee trusts in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana,” Waller said.
Waller and his team also have to manage conflicts. Oil and gas exploration are dominant industries. “To get to it, you’ve got to clear trees or drill wells in the middle of a cotton field,” Waller said. “We have to protect the investment: get timber at market price and protect the land.”
Back at Regions headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., Don Heath manages the entire Natural Resources/Real Estate team spread out over the 16 states served by the company. He believes what sets his team apart is how well they know their business, and how well they convey it to customers.
No better example than Bob Morgan.
“He works 24/7 and never takes time off,” Heath said. “Seriously, I can call Bob at 6 in the morning and he’s on the road. I can call him at 9 p.m. and he’s on his way home from Louisiana. He loves what he does and his clients love the attention he gives them.
“But what sets this Mississippi team apart is that every one of these guys knows how to dig down and find the nuances that help the customer prosper.”
As the sun goes down, Bob Morgan is still on the road. But the end of another long day is near.
“I love what I do,” Morgan said. “But I’m not sure I can always call it work. When you work with the same families and renters 10 to 28 years, and everyone works together for the benefit of the farm and its operation, it’s rewarding work.”