After nearly 15 years away from his hometown, Aaron Bastian returned to Wichita to help run the $1.9 billion bank started by his grandfather.
He spent those 15 years attending the University of Wisconsin, as a credit analyst with UMB Bank in Kansas City, Mo., and then as a commercial bank officer with IBC Bank in Oklahoma City. He later joined Oklahoma Fidelity Bank, where he was its CEO until moving back to Wichita in 2015 to work as president of the parent bank.
Since his return, Bastian, 34, has inserted himself into a variety of community leadership roles. He’s a member of the Wichita Rotary Club. And he has joined the boards of directors of the Greater Wichita Partnership, Leadership Wichita and Visit Wichita.
He’s also treasurer of the e2e Accelerator/Incubator, a private entity created last year to assist the city’s entrepreneurs. It was launched in part with a $75,000 gift from Fidelity.
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Bastian is big on his hometown.
“When I look around Wichita, all I see is a city full of possibility, and I will admit that I am unabashedly excited about our future,” he said.
Wichita’s greatest strength: We have all of the pieces to be an exceptional city: wonderful arts, growing downtown, good universities and outstanding people. Wichita simply needs a few of those people to stand up and build something extraordinary.
Wichita’s greatest challenge: I moved back to Wichita two years ago and was asked countless times, “Why did you move here?” — mostly by complete strangers. This … was stunning to me. The typical Wichitan didn’t understand why anyone would want to move to their town. No wonder we have a perception problem.
The first thing you tell people about Wichita: Raise your expectations. Wichita is a city of surprises.
Favorite restaurant: Playa Azul
Favorite thing to do in Wichita: We often walk the (College Hill) neighborhood with our boys, enjoying the parks and nearby businesses and restaurants. It may sound simple, but it’s important that home be a place where you feel welcome and folks are looking out for each other.