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Featured Business Customer Stories

Service that keeps you rolling.

Four States Tire and Service - Owners, Robby and Amber Wright 

Robby and Amber Wright

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you/your business?

Amber: It’s been great to have an FCCB branch in each of the markets we are located in [Cortez, Durango, and Farmington]. We’ve enjoyed the convenience and greater accessibility since the Durango branch opened.


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use? Why?  

Robby: Four Corners Community Bank has assisted us with commercial loans for our business.  We were pleased with the terms on the loans which have resulted in lowering our monthly operating expenses. I also grew up with Durango Market President, Shawn Candelaria. Having a personal connection has a lot to do with who we bank with because of the trust that is already established. I also value the opportunity to do business with a locally-owned bank. I purchased my first store in Farmington in 2008; ironically, it was originally opened by Frank Macaluso [FCCB board chairman] in 1963. 


Q: What does Four States Tire and Service entail? Where are you located? How many people do you employ?

Robby: For 31 years we’ve been servicing anything that takes tires. Aside from tire sales we also do automotive repair and preventive maintenance at every location. We originally started in Cortez and later expanded into Durango in 2005. We built the Durango property along the river, which is a very beautiful location. The first Farmington location was acquired in 2008, and we opened the second in 2012. Between our four locations we employ over 70 people.         


Q: What do you like most about what you do? What makes you different?

Amber: Robby loves people and working directly with customers. He has a way of establishing trust and building relationships with them. Our priority has always been taking care of the customer. It’s more about that than selling a product.  

Robby: What makes us different is that we strive to always do the right thing the first time, and stand behind the products and services we sell. We are locally-owned and we’re very hands on. We frequently work the sales floor, go on sales calls, and work directly with our customers. We offer professional automotive service completed by ASE Certified technicians, and we provide quality products and service at competitive prices. We also have state-of-the-art equipment and highly competent and trained employees.

Q: How are the communities you’re in similar or different? Does having stores in three markets effect your operations?

Robby: The markets are a little different demographically, but we run the same business model everywhere including a high level of customer service with consistent products and pricing.

Amber: Because we’re in three areas, customers can be taken care of at any location. We’ve had customers purchase tires in Cortez, get a flat tire in Farmington, and receive service at a different Four States Tire location. They were pleased that they already felt like customers and could be assisted. Commercial customers also like that they can shop all four stores and only receive one statement. 

Four States Tire & Service logo

Farmington West


507 Airport Drive

Farmington, NM 87401


Farmington East


2508 East Main Street

Farmington, NM 87401




480 South Camino Del Rio

Durango, CO 81301




41 North Edith Street

Cortez, CO 81321


Connected via mobile. 

Kevin Killough - Autoworld owner 

Kevin Killough

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you/your business?

A: My dad taught me a long time ago that it’s important to establish a good relationship with a bank because they can help you through good and bad times. This can be difficult in today’s world because most banks are corporate, and the decision-makers don’t live here. We started banking with Four Corners Community Bank in 2001, and I liked it because of its hometown feel and because the people I worked with could make decisions. Even the bank’s board of directors are approachable. As a business owner, having a local connection makes a huge difference. You’re not just a number on a spreadsheet. The bank knows who we are as people and knows our character. We have a good trust relationship with the bank and the people within it. I’ve always felt like the bank is interested in our success and it’s felt like a partnership for many years. I have a lot of respect for a lot of people at FCCB.


Q: What is one FCCB product or service that is particularly beneficial for you?  

A: Technology has changed our industry. We do a tremendous amount of in-house financing, and about 70 percent of our customers prefer making payments via credit and debit cards. Our decision to use FCCB for merchant services stemmed out of our existing partnership. I trusted them and knew they had my best interest in mind, so it was natural choice. We’ve used FCCB’s merchant services for several years which includes debit and credit card processing, and all the necessary equipment. We also use their mobile processing devices that are compatible with our smartphones, allowing our collection managers to take payments in the field. This has been a huge convenience for us, and an even bigger one for our customers.


Q: What does Autoworld entail? What services are provided?

A: Autoworld is a used car dealership with between 100-150 cars of all makes and models. We offer in-house and outside financing as well as vehicle repair services for our customers. We’re pretty straight forward and try to find the best fit for our customers. I tell my staff to forge a relationship before anything else in the car-buying process, to put our customers at ease. We’re not high pressure folks. When I sell a car I form a relationship with my customers, many of which come back to me for years. We work differently from new car industry in that they are usually paid in full and may never see the customer again; whereas we see our customers monthly when they come in to make payments. It’s more of a family feel.


Q: How long have you been in business and what do you enjoy most about what you do?

A: I opened Autoworld in 2001. I enjoy the versatility most about what I do, by far. I don’t get bored because it’s not the same job every day. I love the variety. I can get involved with many different things in one day. I enjoy the interactions with my staff and my customers, and what stems from the relationship and family-centered culture at Autoworld. And I get to travel and buy cars!


Q: Do you have a personal mantra or philosophy you follow?

A: We don’t sell cars as much as we sell the ability to buy cars. We work with our customers to get them into reliable transportation when they might not have the ability otherwise. And we do a lot of financial counseling so that they understand and feel confident in what they can afford. I tell all my customers when they buy a car that we’re in it together and that I will always uphold my side of the deal, and I ask them to uphold theirs. It’s more than just selling cars, it’s a partnership.


Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: I enjoy doing anything outdoors including hunting and fishing, and watching my two boys grow up. I got to watch them both win a state championship in football last year for Bayfield High School. They were both starters on the same team. 

Autoworld logo

5899 West Main Street

Farmington, NM 87401



Anytime, Anywhere, FCCB 

Steven D. Schlagel, CPA, CEPA, JD

Steven D. Schlagel

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you/your business?

A: I refer business clients to FCCB’s qualified business bankers for debt portfolio advice and financing opportunities. I feel that my clients receive good assistance in these areas.  


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use? Why?

A: I personally use remote deposit capture, bill pay, and eStatements. I like to bank online as much as I can, especially with my busy schedule. Remote deposit capture allows me to make deposits whenever I need to. I appreciate having this capability. It makes my life a lot easier knowing I don’t have to run to the bank.


Q: What services do you offer?

A: We provide coaching and consulting services for business owners including business purchase, sale, and succession planning. We also assist with the more traditional CPA, legal and financial planning services, taking a holistic approach to help owners achieve their goals.   

As a small business mentor and coach, I have an absolute passion to help business owners discover ideas that change business and their life. There is nothing so satisfying as helping someone achieve their goal of a growing, profitable company that has everyone 100 percent laser-focused on a shared vision, gaining real traction toward their goals.


Q: What does a typical day look like for you, and what are you currently working on?

A: I’m doing a lot of workshops for small business owners and managers to help them overcome the common frustrations most have: people issues, no growth, not enough profit, a loss of direction, a loss of control, and a feeling that nothing seems to work. The workshops teach them how to master the six key component of every business with a handful of timeless principles and practical tools. It’s very hands on and we go step by step through exactly what needs to be done to break through those issues.

I am also currently developing and testing a workshop version for very small companies and solopreneurs along with a web-based training program for remotely-located businesses.  


Q: What one piece of tax advice would you give everyone?

A: I am a CPA, however I counsel clients to worry less about taxes and more about building a successful business. Multi-year tax planning is of course important to limiting one’s tax burden, but the reality is that most businesses get stuck and can’t break through to the next level in their growth. A growing and healthy business is often overlooked as being much more important than getting trapped in the ‘I don’t want to pay taxes’ mindset. Taxes are only one part of the puzzle; it’s far more important to focus on running the business well with a growth mindset and improving profitability.


Q: What are the biggest changes or challenges you’ve seen in your industry in the last few years?

A: Many professionals are so overwhelmed dealing with government compliance requirements, reporting, filings, tax returns and such that don’t have time to provide the valuable services that their clients, want, need and deserve.


Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: I enjoy astrophotography which is involves photographing deep space objects like nebula and galaxies from my observatory.

Steven D. Schlagel, CPA, PC

New Mexico
4801 North Butler, Suite 9101
Farmington, NM 87401

101 West 11th Street, Suite 112
Durango, CO 81301


Ag lending that keeps you on the range.

Darin Goodall - Cortez Rancher

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you?

A: Four Corners Community Bank’s ag loan helped me expand my cattle operation, including purchasing the grazing permits that are attached to it. Since the expansion, I currently have one of the larger cattle operations in Montezuma County. In my line of work, I need a strong partner, and [FCCB] has been really good to do business with.  


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use? Why?

A: Other than the ag loan, I use several other FCCB products. To me, it’s very traditional banking. I’m able to write checks in the field to cover my expenses and not have to constantly worry about balancing my checkbook. They’re always looking out for me and know how I operate. It allows me to stay on the ranch, watch the herd, and focus on my work. It’s wonderful service.


Q: What does a typical day look like for you? What occupies the majority of your time?

A: Right now I’m living on the summer range near Lone Cone, Colorado on forest service land. We’re focused on keeping the cows in the right pastures and monitoring their health. Once the summer permit expires we’ll go to our BLM winter range in Utah. I go where the cows go.


Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

A: I’ve never had to work a day in my life. I’ve never had to get up and go to a job. I enjoy the lifestyle and had my children alongside me too when they were growing up.


Q: What are the greatest challenges and rewards you experience in your line of work?

A: The greatest challenges we face in the industry right now are political, including grazing access, private property rights, and water issues. The greatest rewards come from being able to live a life I enjoy as result of the lifestyle, like getting to be outdoors.    


Q: Sounds like a great deal of work. What traits do you think you possess that make you successful?

A: I get up early, stay up late, and work hard. I’m fourth generation on both sides of my family, and my kids are the fifth. My ancestors homesteaded in the area, my great grandfather helped build the Del Rio Hotel in Dolores, and my mother’s folks were miners in Rico and Dunton, Colorado. The work we do is almost something you have to be born into to be successful, it’s not something you can learn anywhere else. There’s a certain expertise that comes from doing it all your life.


Our business loans ensure the future.

Chris Latshaw (right) - State Farm Agent/Owner

Chris Latshaw and Shawn Candelaria


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use? Why?

A: I’m currently using the commercial loan products and transitioning all of my operating/personal accounts over to FCCB, since the new Durango branch is open on Main Ave. I chose FCCB because of the trust, flexibility, and uniqueness of the loan products that exceeded my expectations. I also value my long­standing personal and business relationship with Shawn [Candelaria, FCCB Durango market president] who is very loyal and committed to his service. I couldn’t be happier.


Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you/your business?

A: FCCB assisted me in refinancing a commercial building for my State Farm office. It has allowed me to prepare and help build stability and a solid framework of my financial future.


Q: What State Farm services do you offer? How long have you been in Durango?

A: We knowledgeably offer life, auto, home, renters, commercial, and health insurance. I’ve lived in Durango for over 20 years and opened my State Farm office in April of 2008.


Q: What do you like most about working in your field and in Durango?

A: I truly enjoy building relationships with people like my clients and the entire community. I also appreciate the small­town feel of La Plata County since I’ve gotten accustomed to living in small towns for the last 25 years. I like the random interaction of running into clients, but still feeling like Durango is progressive in the modern day.


Q: What personality traits do you think make you successful?

A: In both business and personal pursuits, I’m very dedicated and have a true passion for excellence. I go beyond the basics and always strive to exceed customers’ expectations. As a State Farm agent, my personality reflects my desire to secure the financial stability of my clients and stand alongside them.


Q: What do you think differentiates yourself from your industry peers?

A: With the onset of bargain­brand insurance companies, people have turned toward less expensive services and have unfortunately discovered that they’re not completely covered when filing a claim. Having personally been a State Farm client for nearly thirty years and an agent for eight, the unique difference is how we handle our claims. Buying insurance is emotional, yet a necessity, and our customers value how we understand that and truly support them while they’re going through a loss or an emergency. It’s calmly reassuring to our clients when I sit down with them while they experience the unanticipated stress levels. State Farm stands behind our clients and pays the maximum without looking for loopholes to avoid paying, even when it’s questionable.

Q: What do you do outside of work?

A: I’ve been actively involved with the cycling and running community in Durango for a number of years, currently including Trails 2000 and Durango Devo. I also sponsor the Thirsty Thirteen half marathon in August, donating water bottles and other items. I feel that community involvement and giving back is magnified in small­town life, and is essential to anyone’s personal and business success.


State Farm logo

Chris Latshaw State Farm

400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite C

Durango, CO 81301



Our business banking makes scents.

House of Flowers - Co-owners Dori (right) and Norma Keffalos Dori and Norma Keffalos

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you and your business?

Norma: The staff have always been so congenial toward us. There’s a real convenience of banking locally. Community is what it’s all about. It’s great to see consistent staff too, unlike other banks. When I pull up to the drive-thru at the 20th Street branch [in Farmington] they always say, “Hi Norma! Did you have a good weekend? Your money bag smells like flowers!” Dori: FCCB is the friendliest and most personable bank in Farmington. Whenever I call, I get someone right away who can help me. And now that everyone at the 20th Street branch [in Farmington] knows us, they really personalize our service. We’re a small business too, so we understand the importance of banking locally.


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use? Why?

Dori: We have our business and personal checking and savings accounts at FCCB and use online banking a lot. We’ve also used FCCB in the past for a loan and our credit card processing. Norma: Online banking is wonderful and changed the way we reconcile our statements including our daily ACH [debit and credit card] transactions. Before online banking came about, it was a manual process and we’d have to wait for each statement to see our transactions. Now we can see our card sales instantly with FCCB’s online banking.


Q: What made you choose to bank with FCCB?

Dori: Originally we banked where my dad worked including SunWest, Boatman’s, and eventually Bank of America. But we wanted a small town bank and came over to FCCB in September of 2007. Another influence was Butch Mathews who frequently bought flowers for Sheila [Mathews, FCCB president and CEO]. He was supporting local, so we wanted to support local too. Plus it was only three blocks away from the shop. So was another bank, but you didn’t get the same personal service there. Norma: We wanted local, and as it turned out so many FCCB employees were also our customers.


Q: What types of services do you offer? What is the most popular holiday to send flowers?

Dori: We’re a full-service florist. We do flowers and delivery for weddings, parties, funerals, proms, and holidays. We have plants, candy bouquets, and gourmet, fruit, and snack baskets. We also do balloons and shrink wrap. People send flowers for all sorts of reasons. You name it! We’ve even delivered engagement rings. We’re busy November through June. I work months ahead of time preparing for different occasions.

Norma: Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are our busiest holidays. I think every mother lives in Farmington!


Q: What anniversary are you celebrating this year?

Dori: Our 15th anniversary in Farmington is April 1, 2016. We had our Roswell location for five years before we moved here.


Q: What is on your wish list for the next five years?

Dori: We’re hoping to upgrade our technology in the store and automate more of our processes. Another goal of mine is to educate people on how they order flowers. If I can’t fill an out-of-town order I tell people to look in the phone book, but go at least halfway down the page to the actual floral shops in that town. The others above are order gatherers who charge a processing fee for sending the order to the actual shop that completes the order. It’s better to buy direct. Flowers are a luxury, not a necessity, so we hope to see the local economy improve over time too.  


Q: What do you think contributes to your success?

Dori: Our customer service and product quality sets us apart from our competition. People have told me their arrangements have lasted for weeks, even beyond our guarantee. We have such high turnover of flowers, they don’t stay in the store for very long. And we have special nutrient solutions they’re treated with right away. We’re pretty well known for our dozen-rose bouquets. No one’s in town looks like ours. When we moved to Farmington we felt like customer service was lacking and knew we could improve it. And now we know so many people that we get a lot of repeat customers. We have a lot of family here too. My great grandparents, the Hares, were settlers in Bloomfield.


Q: What do you like most about your work?

Norma: I enjoy satisfying people, making people happy, spreading joy, and the beauty of what we work with. I feel like we deliver blessings. It makes the giver and receiver feel good. After 22 years in the flower business I loved going to work every single day. Dori: We’re better than bar tenders and hairdressers because we usually know who’s sick, who has died, who’s fighting, and who’s cheating. We often know about a funeral before it’s even in the paper or because people call to send flowers. Nothing is mundane. Every day is different. And how many jobs can you say that about?

House of Flowers logo

House of Flowers

2480 East 20th Street

Farmington, NM



Our mobile apps are suited for functionality and style.

Jae-Geo’s Bridal and Tuxedo - Owner, Jeanette Lopez-Vigil

Jeanette Lopez-Vigil

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you and your business?

A: We enjoy the convenience of the downtown location. The service is outstanding. I use my debit card a lot, and I work with vendors all over the country. I like the bank’s fraud protection services and being involved with transaction approvals. When I have to call the bank to approve a transaction, I immediately get someone to answer. I’ve never been placed on hold. Everybody knows what they’re doing in an instant. The service I get is above and beyond. I guarantee if I have a question and a customer or vendor is waiting, I get an answer immediately. I don’t ever have to wait. It’s ideal. 

I first knew Sheila [Mathews, FCCB president and CEO] as our teller at SunWest Bank when we first opened our business. One day after we moved downtown, she came into the store and said she was the president at FCCB. I said, “Wow, our teller from SunWest!” She’s amazing. And I was impressed that she came in to welcome us to downtown. That’s when I came over to Four Corners Community Bank.


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use?

A: I use business checking, online banking, the mobile app, and bill pay.  


Q: Where does the name Jae-Geo’s come from? How long have you been in business?

A: The name is half mine, Jeanette, and half my late husband’s, George. The “e” and the “a” in Jae were flipped in the beginning by accident, but the error wasn’t caught in time so we just kept it that way because it was too late to change it back. We’ve been in business since 1987.


Q: What does your business entail? What is your store like?

A: We offer bridal and formalwear for all ages, including tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses, mother’s gowns, flower girl dresses, shoes, accessories, and invitations. We also sell prom dresses and tuxedos and quinceanera dresses. We serve 26 schools from all over the region and we’ve never served one disrespectful customer or experienced any shoplifting. We have a good batch of kids here.

We’ve also become a focal point for referrals for caterers, cake decorators, DJs, and other vendors to advertise their services with our clientele. We do a lot of networking amongst ourselves and help each other out. Our first location, near West Main Safeway, was only 300 square feet and not enough room. Our current downtown Farmington location is 7,000 square feet.  


Q: What are you currently working on? When are your busy seasons?

A: We’ve got our camo trunk show going on right now which is popular in this area; Cortez is our number one market for that style of apparel. You can visit our website and Facebook page to see more. We get busy right after the first of the year with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s engagements. The spring and summer are prom, quinceanera, and wedding seasons. October and November used to be our slow time, but now that Farmington has so many fall events we stay fairly busy with formalwear needs. We do our in-house bridal show in early November, and get busy again with company Christmas parties toward the end of the month. And people here still do outdoor winter weddings because our weather isn’t that bad.


Q: What’s are the greatest rewards you get being in the formalwear business?

A: The appreciation we get from our customers is the most rewarding thing. We have a wall full of thank you notes and pictures. Knowing our customers went out of their way to do that for us is really rewarding because generally we don’t see them after their event. A couple stopped in last week that were former customers who got married 21 years ago; I guessed it had only been 10! We’re also starting to see third generation customers. We’ve done weddings for couples followed by their child’s christening, prom, and wedding and now see their children too. It’s also good validation when we receive awards. Just last week we received the Jim’s Formalwear 2016 Elite Retailer of the Year award for our formalwear and tuxedo product volume and measurement accuracy. And we are proud to maintain an A+ rating with BBB for several years.


Q: What sets you apart from the competition?

A: We get a lot of compliments on our customer service and the quality of our products. We’ve been featured in several national bride magazines for the lines that we carry including couture dresses. We cater to all budgets which brings people in from Albuquerque, Taos, and Santa Fe. We know that what we do is extremely important to the customer. We’re in a business where there’s no room for mistakes.

Jae-Geo’s Bridal and Tuxedo

302 West Main Street

Farmington, NM




Business banking technology for the best.

The Geeks - Dapper Cowboy, Perry Lewis and Cloud Goddess, Victoria Petersen 

Perry Lewis and Victoria Petersen

Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you/your business?

A: The staff at FCCB are always willing to help us get the most out of their services. They work to match us with the best banking products that take our business to the next level. FCCB also happens to be our landlord since we’re located in the same building [77 West Main Street in Cortez]. It’s the perfect location and our customers recognize the professionalism of our office. 


Q: What FCCB products or services do you use? Why?

A: Currently we use FCCB’s business banking services. As a technology company, online and mobile banking are extremely beneficial to us. It is safe and secure, and lets us manage our finances in a way that is comfortable for us. Even if we’re traveling we’re still able to do what we need to. We are also looking into other services such as personal loans.


Q: What services do you offer?

A: Since 2012, we’ve offered IT solutions and support for businesses and individuals including computer repair, website design, and training for Mac and PC in SW Colorado. Our strength is managing IT services for businesses including business network and security to make sure they can operate smoothly without interruption. We also provide website design and development services that showcase a business or product in a modern and attractive way. We also pay special attention to search engine optimization.


Q: What does a typical day look like for you, and what are you currently working on?

A: Because of our line of work, we tend to get a lot of emergency calls due to technology failures. But that’s ok—we’re here to help! After we come in and get organized for the day, we react to our customers’ emergencies. Perry does the site visits and I stay and work from the office. It’s a balance. And we provide service on different tiers, so support is affordable. We also manage large projects over longer time periods, such as upgrading businesses office technology. These projects require in-depth consultations with clients to match new technology with their business needs. We are with the client through the entire transition from ordering, installing, and configuring the technology; we also make sure everything works together efficiently, properly, and securely. We are currently finishing up a large project for a local dentist office, which upgraded to new computers in each of the dental rooms and offices. The package included new servers and dental software making the office completely state-of-the-art technology-wise. The new technology is also compliant with industry standards, such as HIPAA.


Q: What is your biggest achievement to date—either personal or professional?

A: Personally, we are most proud of our family. We have three wonderful boys ages 11 and under. We work hard to give them the best, and also teach them the best. So far, they are growing into smart young men, of course we haven't hit the teenage years with them yet! Our kids are also the fifth generation of Perry’s family to be raised in Mancos. Our business is very important to us too, but the most important thing for us is our family, and living the good life here as opposed to the craziness of San Jose or Silicon Valley where we came from.


Q: What is the most important development in your field today? What impact do you think it will have?

A: It’s all about security. We live in a society where everyone puts everything online, and wonders later why they’ve been hacked. Data security is an ongoing concern that will only be more important over time. As technology changes, so do the methods used by hackers and other criminals to obtain personal information. We are highly sensitive to confidentiality, and insist on system and network compatibility that is updated and secure. We tell our customers to stay current on their device updates, change their passwords frequently, don’t click on links they’re unfamiliar with, and adapt to industry trends that protect personal and financial information. It’s important to be more aware of what you’re doing, who you’re communicating with, and how you share your information to reduce vulnerability.


Q: Do you have any special offers going on?

A: We give a 10 percent service discount to all Four Corners Community Bank customers including web services and computer repair.  

The Geeks logo

The Geeks

77 West Main Street, Suite C

Cortez, CO 81321




Online banking with a community focus.

Tony Bennett Photography | Instructor, San Juan College

Tony Bennett

Q: When did you start Tony Bennett Photography?

A: I started the business in Farmington in May of 2005.


Q: How has Four Corners Community Bank been a partner for you and your business?

A: We use FCCB for general business and personal banking services like checking, savings, online banking, and wire transfers.   


Q: What FCCB products do you find the most useful?

A: I do a lot of online banking to check balances, make transfers, and pay bills. It’s very easy and convenient to have these capabilities available online.  


Q: What are your different roles?

A: Although I started my photography business in Farmington in 2005, I’ve been a professional photographer since 1979. Professionally, I’ve shot a wide variety of things from being a team photographer for the Cowboys to commercial work for companies like Dr. Pepper. I have been a photography instructor at San Juan College since 2010. I teach black and white, digital, and studio photography.


Q: What is your favorite thing to shoot?

Because we’re in a small market, I have shot everything. You have to do what the market calls for. In a bigger city I would specialize in studio product photography; all objects need to be photographed for advertising. Although, I also really love working with people too.


Q: What’s the biggest advice you give to aspiring photographers?  

A: Shoot a lot and learn your equipment. My best students are the ones who always have their camera with them and are out shooting. And if you’re equipment is only ever set to auto, that’s all you’ll know about a camera. Using manual settings makes you think about what you’re doing and allows you to be more creative.  


Q: What are your biggest achievements?

A: What I am most proud of now is the photography program we are building at San Juan College. We have students that are doing outstanding photography. I am also very proud of the commercial work I did in Dallas, which is a huge and super competitive market. I enjoyed having clients like Hertz, American Airlines, and Seven-Up for many years, and being a team photographer for the Dallas Cowboys for 10 years. 


Q: You graduated from Farmington High School, left for a time, and came back. Where did you go?

A: After high school I joined the Air Force so I could get the G.I. Bill to help me pay for school. Shortly after that I moved to California to attend Brooks Institute. I went straight to Dallas after I graduated, where I met my wife, Diane. After 20 years there, we lived in the Caribbean for about six years. I flew cargo and built a large hydroponic farm for the Department of Agriculture. After that, we moved to Farmington in 2005. Once we got here, we started banking with FCCB because we wanted a local bank. Ironically, my dad did appraisals for Four Corners Savings and Loan, which is now FCCB headquarters.  


Tony Bennett Photography logo

Tony Bennett Photography | Instructor, San Juan College