Ethen Pineda just graduated from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in May, but he’s already learned that life is full of surprises.
Pineda joined the EDC and affiliate Midwest Small Business Finance in April and now serves as a loan officer. If a business owner applies to MSBF for an SBA 504 or other loan, there’s a good chance he or she will be getting help from Pineda.
And Pineda, who originally thought he would be going into marketing, will love it.
“What I’m doing now is really interesting,” he noted. ”I’ve always had a love for business, but now I’m looking at a broad picture. I’ve really come to enjoy that.”
A lot of that has to do with the business owners he helps to access MSBF-administered loans. “I’m their direct line of communications with the SBA,” he said. “There can be a lot of paperwork. When you first look at the 504 application, it’s pretty scary. But that’s why I like to talk to people first. I can show them how we’ll walk through it. It’s not that bad, especially with those fixed-rate, low-interest loans we offer.”
Pineda has also learned more respect for small entrepreneurs. “I’m really passionate about small business owners,” he said. “They may work 14 hours a day because that business is their baby. It’s just inspirational to see them.”
None of this is completely new to him, however. For nearly two years, Pineda worked for a metro-area bank in personal banking, then as a loan assistant. This was while attending school at UMKC, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. He found that, in many ways, his interest in working with people equaled his interest in business.
“You might think banking is not that interesting, but I really found I loved it,” he explained. “The people you meet make it fascinating. To be able to help them makes it even better.”
A native of Camdenton near Lake of the Ozarks, his route after high school started with two years at Ozark Technical College in Springfield, which he attended for free because of his success with the Missouri A+ Scholarship Program.
Pineda is engaged to be married next year to a former high school acquaintance. Like his path in business, this love involved an interesting route. “We were friends in school, but we reconnected after we both moved up here,” he explained. “I’m glad we did!”
Another pursuit involves cooking outdoors, almost regardless of the weather. “I grilled throughout the winter,” he laughed. “Even in the ice. I wanted to be good at it so we could have people over. But it’s a lot better now than when it was zero!”