A native of Middle Tennessee, Thomas (Tommy) E. Bates., Jr. began his career as an FDIC bank examiner, then transitioned to First American National Bank in 1992. A commercial lender role led him to the Clarksville area, where he would later help establish Legends Bank in 1998. Bates would eventually be named president and CEO of the locally owned institution. He is a staunch advocate for community banking, having served as chair of the TBA Independent Bankers Division and director of the Independent Community Bankers of America. He has led numerous boards, including the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Board, the Montgomery County Community Health Foundation, and the Rotary Club.