PART 1: Jonathan Patrick describes himself as a “dabbler in things”

SouthFound Media(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article in a two-part series updating readers on the activities of Knoxville’s Jonathan Patrick and his corporate and entrepreneurial pursuits.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Imagine being able to design your life and making your work fit into it. Well, that’s exactly what Jonathan Patrick has done, an approach that appeals to more and more people.

Many of our readers may recall Patrick, then a 15-year banker, from his days with the UT Federal Credit Union (UTFCU) where he helped launch the “Line 12 Micro Fund” in 2014. The program which the banker-entrepreneur marketed was designed to provide low interest loans that start-ups needed to get off the ground. One such beneficiary was Dandridge-based Vextras, a start-up we profiled in this article.

Today, Patrick, who describes himself as a “dabbler in things,” is mixing his passion for entrepreneurship with his love of the credit union space in two distinct, but complementary activities. He has just taken on the role of Senior Project Manager for Symitar, a national provider of services to credit unions, while also championing entrepreneurs in the region through a company named SouthFound Media.

“I loved my time at the credit union,” Patrick says of his days with UTFCU. At the same time, he also wanted even more flexibility to pursue varied interests that included his involvement with his own start-ups and those of others.

“One day I woke-up and decided I wanted to design my life to fit the way I wanted to live,” Patrick explained.

As he pursued how that goal might be achieved, he says he came across a job listing for a Senior Strategic Advisor to Jack Henry & Associates Inc., a company that provides integrated computer systems for in-house and outsourced data processing to commercial banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

He immediately saw a strong tie.

“That’s what I’m best at . . . high level strategy,” Patrick says. So, for a little over a year, he served as a contract consultant to the Missouri-based conglomerate of which Symitar is a subsidiary. In the role, Patrick focused on new strategic initiatives, drawing on his expertise in the financial industry but as an outsider.

“It’s a killer company,” he says, adding the corporate culture is akin to Zappos. On April 1, Patrick joined Symitar, which is located in San Diego, as an employee.

“My role is to spearhead efforts in two areas, working with a team,” he explains. One area involves enhancements to the functionality of the company’s two core products – Episys and CruiseNet. The former is described as “a highly customizable, IBM System p™-based solution deployed in approximately 650 (large) U.S. credit unions,” while the latter is “a Windows-based solution built with the latest .NET technology and deployed in approximately 180 (smaller) credit unions.”

In addition to what one might consider normal product enhancements, Patrick is also leading a team that is developing a technology roadmap that will identify and bring to market new functionalities to meet credit union needs as they serve their customers.

“It’s like a start-up business plan,” Patrick says in describing the roadmap.

The initial contract engagement and now the employee role have allowed Patrick the flexibility to continue to call Knoxville home and also do other things such as SouthFound Media that he founded a few months after starting as a consultant to Jack Henry & Associates.

NEXT: What is the role of SouthFound Media?

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