Reaves is a senior vice president and manager of BB&T's Life and Financial Planning Department in Winston-Salem.
A 1993 graduate of Appalachian's Walker College of Business, Reaves majored in finance and risk management. He has a master of science degree in financial services from American College. While at Appalachian, Reaves was a member of the Mountaineer football team and captain of the team for two years.
An invaluable volunteer for the university, Reaves helps secure private donations for student-athlete scholarships by recruiting new members to the Yosef Club, of which he is currently president, and encouraging existing members to increase their giving levels. He has participated on panel discussions in the Walker College of Business, sharing with students information about his career in banking and offering tips for job interviews.
He has established two scholarships at Appalachian: the J.K. Reaves Scholarship that is awarded annually to a non-scholarship football player and the J.K. Reaves Financial Planning Annual Scholarship, the first scholarship established in financial planning.
"James is a role model in all respects," wrote Dr. Delbert Goff, a professor in Appalachian's Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance. "He was a role model for other student-athletes, choosing a challenging program and excelling in his classes. He quickly established himself as a leader at BB&T. And he is a role model in the community, serving as a mentor and setting a positive example for youth. He demonstrates what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication."
Reaves professional accomplishments include receiving Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 1997, Chartered Financial Consultant designation in 1998 and Certified Financial Planner designation in 1999. He received Accredited Estate Planner designation in 2006 and Certified Advisor for Senior Living designation in 2009.
He has received BB&T's Sterling Award, the highest honor presented to an employee, nine of the past 15 years. Reaves also has been recognized by the Million Dollar Round Table as a life member.
James K. Reaves: I learned that people take your lead, in terms of your demeanor. My time as captain of the football team really helped me in my leadership skills by having to go out there and perform every day, knowing that you may have a situation where someone is not doing as well, but when they see that you're focused and determined, it's going to give them hope that "I can do it, too." The same priciples apply to the business world. It may be a young person coming into the bank. They're looking at me and watching my every move. They want to do a lot of things I've done in business. It gives me some motivation to keep going, knowing that I can help somebody else along the way.
I think that what makes me successful in the business world is teamwork, focus and hard work. I've never taken shortcuts—and making sure that you're not finished until the job is done. It feels great to be a mentor right now, because I get a chance to give back what others have given to me when I was coming up. We are mentoring kids at Hillside High School in Durham, NC. What we do is we sponsor two awards that go to the most outstanding male and female student-athletes. We also have the Reaves Family Scholarships.
This award means a lot coming from my alma mater. I've been blessed enough to give back to the university that gave so much to me and I can never repay all that Appalachian has done for me.