STEVE "ROCKY" DONOVAN '89
BA, Political Science
Steve Donovan has been in banking for over 27 years. Currently, he is the Executive Vice President, leading Business Banking, Cash Management, Wealth Management and Consumer Banking development activities for Community State Bank.
Steve believes strongly in the importance of connecting people and businesses to help one another succeed. Over his banking career, Steve has worked to build connections throughout Southeastern Wisconsin focusing on Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties. These connections span from for-profit businesses, real estate development, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. For Steve, helping an individual or an organization is not one-dimensional - it is not just about business - it is about helping them solve problems and achieve success.
Steve is a firm believer in giving back and trying to make this the greatest community in the state. He has been or is involved with numerous organizations:
- Vice President of the UW-Parkside Foundation Board
- Chair of the RangerVision2020 Committee
- Secretary for the Racine Community Foundation
- Board Chair of the Kenosha YMCA
- Past Board President of the Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency and current Finance and HR Committee member
- Board Member and past President of the Racine Founders Rotary Club
- Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) Ambassador
- Past Board Chair for the Racine YMCA and current Finance Committee member
- Past Board Chair of Junior Achievement of Racine and Kenosha
- Past Board Chair of Family Service of Racine
- Past member of the Advisory Committee for RCEDC and Credit Committee member
- Past member of the Advisory Committee for Southeastern Wisconsin for WWBIC
“I believe we collectively have the ability to make our communities better places to live, work and do business. We can achieve this by lending our time, talents and resources to the communities we live and serve.”
Over the years, Steve was recognized or achieved various personal and professional accomplishments:
- 2010 inductee to the UW-Parkside Athletic Hall of Fame (1984 Soccer Team)
- 2013 Special Recognition honor from WWBIC for outstanding volunteer service
- 2016 American Cancer Society Spirit of Hope recipient
- 2017 Paul P. Harris Fellow (Rotary)
- 2019 The YMCA’s Leadership Award of Excellence
- 2019 Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) Business Person of the Year
- 2001 graduate of the Wisconsin Bankers Association School of Commercial Lending
- 2015 Certified Commercial Underwriter
Steve grew-up in Racine and currently resides in Mt Pleasant. He has been married for the past 26 years to Tara and they have two marvelous children, Ian and Emma.
Reflecting on UW-Parkside
Why did you decide to attend UW-Parkside?
Coach Hal Henderson had recruited me to play soccer throughout high school. Coach Henderson left UW-Parkside and Coach Rick Kilps became the soccer coach in 1984, which was my senior year of high school and first year of college. I met with Coach Kilps, and we both agreed to a full athletic scholarship to play soccer at UW-Parkside.
What activities were you involved in at UW-Parkside?
I participated in various things:
- Played soccer
- Was a Resident Advisor for University Apartments - Building One for the first year UWP had on-campus housing
- Worked as an campus ambassador at UWP, being a part of the new student orientation process
- Worked for several years at the student Advising Center
- Was the Chairperson of the segregated fee allocation committee for two years
- After my soccer eligibility was over, I was an assistant soccer coach
How did your UW-Parkside experience impact your professional or personal life?
Coach Rick Kilps. We did not always get along, but he allowed me the opportunity to find my way.
Professional and Personal Highlights
What has been one of the top highlights of your career?
Having the opportunity to mentor or develop people to be successful in their career.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life or your career and why?
My older brother, Mike Donovan, has by far had the most impact on my life. We had a very challenging childhood with many difficult situations to live through. He was and continues to always be there for me. He always has my back, and I can trust him no matter the situation. I have been truly blessed to have him as my brother.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy playing golf - not incredibly good at it, but I enjoy the people and the outdoors. My son and I work out weekly together and are avid weightlifters.
What is something that would surprise us about you?
After graduating from UWP, I continued my education at UWP. I was in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. I was a few classes short of finishing the program when I was offered a wonderful opportunity to relocate to Philadelphia. Back in those days, there were no home computers, internet, or virtual classes. So, by the time I connected with the advisor for the program (Professor Dr. Murin), the MPA program was no longer offered or available. Therefore, I have never finished the MPA but was really close.
Advice from Rocky
What advice do you have for current UW-Parkside Students?
Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. It is hard to trust that everything happens for a reason when you do not get something you worked hard for or wanted really badly. I know because I have not gotten many things I have wanted in life. However, things have worked out very well and usually even better.