Dick’s parents moved from Sioux City, Iowa to Iowa City when he was three years old, and from an early age, he felt a strong connection with his new hometown. Dick attended City High where he joined their first-ever wrestling team. Dick had always had a competitive spirit and wrestling was right up his ally. Following high school, Dick earned a Naval ROTC scholarship to attend the University of Michigan where he majored in economics. While participating in intermural wrestling, Dick’s abilities were noticed and he was asked to join the University of Michigan wrestling team; but perhaps the highlight of his college career was a blind date where he met his wife, Joyce. Dick graduated college in 1958, and served three years in the Navy. The Navy forced Dick to learn a lot about himself, especially his leadership style, and how much he needed his entire team. Following his honorable discharge, Dick worked at Northern Trust Bank in Chicago.
In 1963, Dick returned to Iowa State Bank & Trust Company in Iowa City, a bank that his grandfather had began. Dick had worked in the bank when he was younger, but now had the opportunity to work for his father who had taken over as President. Dick’s uncle, Ben E. Summerwill followed his father as President, and after 20 years of working his way up though the ranks Dick had the opportunity himself to step into the role as Bank President. Much like the generations before, Dick understood the imperative role that the bank played in urban growth and economic development in Iowa City. Dick had a reputation of lending to customers who had a vision, a strong work ethic, character, and an entrepreneurial spirit. He had a genuine interest in his lenders and would truly partner with them. This commitment was greatly noticed and appreciated by the Bank’s cliental. In the words of one of his long-time customers and friends, “Dick Summerwill’s unwavering confidence and support of me motivated me in my career to be successful professionally and financially beyond my wildest dreams!”
Unlike his predecessors, he had an inclusive leadership style. Dick put his heart and soul into the bank and their employees. His father had instilled in him the importance of integrity and helping the little guy; he did things for all the right reasons and expected others to do the same. Dick approached every situation with a wonderful sense of humor and positive outlook.
Dick brings passion and excitement to everything that he does. He is intense in all the right ways. In December 2000, Dick retired as President and transitioned to Chairman of the Board, a post he held until 2011. During Dick’s time as Chairman of the Board, Iowa State Bank & Trust Company merged with MidWestOne Bank.
Dick tried to show the same commitment to his community as he did to his bank. According to Dick, “There’s an old saying that if you have a strong community bank in town, you’ll have a strong community. If we really want to grow and have a good bank, we need to make sure our community grows.” He spent a large part of his career serving on industry and community-centered boards and committees. He was driven to support new or “underdog” projects in the community, a trait he inherited from his father. Dick was a founding leader in supporting Iowa Plus for women’s athletics and the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City. He and his wife, Joyce, are seen as pillars of the Iowa City community and huge patrons of the arts. Among many other things, they were involved in the purchase of multiple sculptures for the City of Iowa City and led the campaign for the renewal of the Englert Theatre.
Dick’s grandfather had three basic principles for running the bank and they are still among MidWestOne’s operating principles today: hire excellent employees, take care of your customers (and those who should be), and conduct yourself with the utmost integrity. Dick had grown up witnessing the terrific respect that his dad had for his grandfather and Dick had the same respect for his father. Dick knew innately that in a family bank, you had better do more than anyone working for you and that is something he strived to accomplish every day.
Dick loves traveling with Joyce, spending time outside, playing golf, hunting, and spending time with his three beautiful children and five grandchildren.