Jan 30, 2015 01:47PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Civic pride is his passion and when Armiger begins to discuss the many layers of local business, finance, marketing, strategic development, and myriad concepts associated with community growth, he quickly becomes positively animated, which he did during a whirlwind meeting we had between his appointments. With Kennedy-esque coif, looks, and vision, Armiger is fueled by opportunity and by helping others. “It’s my calling,” he says, “and I know I borrow that concept from religion, but it’s true.”
Now entering year 36 of his professional banking career and having had a stake in nearly every aspect of the business, Armiger seems most passionate about the big picture; for him that’s market and civic leadership coupled with the professional development of the industry’s next generation. He has been, and continues to be, a creative banking guru—responsible for a healthy number of creative collaborations with local business leaders that have positively impacted the local economy. He points to “real estate development that is transformational,” such as working with Bill Muehlhauser to develop Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis.
“It was a critical time in the story of Inner West Street redevelopment and they were pioneers at a time when no one went past the unit block of West Street after dark,” Armiger says. “The deal was intricate. Their success, along with the construction of the Visitor’s Center and Parking Garage, really created strong belief in the area, which eventually attracted public and private investment and led to a very successful revitalization.”
Other examples of big picture success, in which Armiger played the role of financial linchpin have included: helping a small business grow to more than $100 million in revenue; helping a fashion-based product company become a national brand (HOBO); and helping a small firm in Annapolis become a world class consulting firm. There are several dozen more success stories.
But it’s the Rams Head deal that remains one of his favorites. So much so, that it served as his graduate practicum when completing his M.S. degree in the Real Estate Program at Johns Hopkins University (it even won the Paul Cordish scholarship). “I was the only non-real estate professional in that program,” Armiger says. And that’s testament to his persistent pursuit of new endeavors and goals.
Amiger’s father was a precision tool engineer and his mother a librarian. “I grew up in a very language rich, literate household that valued education, critical thinking, and writing,” he recalls.
“I always say that the kids who work for me have ‘blue chip’ educations—mine was just ‘persistent.’ I was continuously enrolled in some form of higher or continuing education through my early 40s.” Even today, Armiger is enrolled in St. John’s College Executive Seminar, which uses the “Great Books” curriculum to explore topics such as leadership; evidence of his philosophical approach toward doing so.
“I read a biographer of Faulkner, who wrote, ‘He never ceased to be fascinated with the infinite variety of the common man.’ I have a strong belief that success in financial services is about having an interest, bordering on a fascination, about how businesses work.
“With respect to civic leadership, I tend to work toward getting the talent to be complementary. It is unrealistic to think that volunteers with demanding day jobs are going to be hugely impactful, so I like to weave them together in small teams where they can be creative as a group and not be limited because of the strobe-like nature of board meetings.”
It’s Armiger’s civic commitments outside of his 80 hour work weeks that will make you scratch your head and ask, “How does he do it all?” He’s currently: Treasurer and Board Member for Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp (where he also chairs Loan Committee); Board Member of University of MD Baltimore Washington Medical Center; Secretary and Board Member of UMBC Research Park; and Board Member and former officer of the Severn Riverkeeper Program. The list of prior commitments is equally long.
As for future opportunity, Armiger points to western Anne Arundel County. “The Arundel Mills area and Waugh Chapel are great examples of recent success, and West County will, undoubtedly, be the next. That interest is in good design, engineering, construction, and infrastructure, with the thought that it ultimately has to be a better place to live and work.”
Armiger will, undoubtedly, have a heavy hand in the region’s continued development. Chalk up another “C” for Armiger, who continues to have a vision.