What Matters Most – Community Episode with Cody Sustakoski

Cody Sustakoski, mortgage originator at First United joins us again to discuss his background, the community, involvement, how to get involved, and what it means to be community oriented.


Announcer: Welcome to the “What Matters Most” podcast, presented by First United Bank & Trust. That’s My Bank. Visit us today at mybank.com.

Eric: Hello, and welcome again to “What Matters Most” podcast, all about finances, community, savings, and security for you, your family, and your business. This podcast is brought to you by the helpful folks at My Bank, First United Bank & Trust. I’m your host, Eric Nutter. And in today’s bonus episode, what matters most is our community. And for this community discussion, I’m happy to be joined again by Cody Sustakoski, mortgage originator at First United Bank & Trust in Sabraton. How are you doing today?

Cody: I’m doing well. Thanks for having me back.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. So, in these community-based episodes, we really just wanna talk about you and the community that you live and work in. So, tell me a little bit about…where do you live? Where did you grow up?

Cody: So, I was actually born and Morgantown, West Virginia. And we moved around the state a little while when I was young with my father’s job, but it brought us back to Morgantown when I was in second grade. So, more or less grew up in the Cheat Lake Area of Morgantown and still live there currently. I actually bought the house that I grew up in from my parents.

Eric: That’s awesome.

Cody: Yeah. It’s really cool to be back in that neighborhood and…

Eric: I’m sure that brings back a lot of memories.

Cody: Yes, it really does. It’s a little weird, but it’s cool.

Eric: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So, what do you love about this community, about Morgantown? I mean, because obviously you went away, you stayed in town, you’re here.

Cody: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: What’s the…

Cody: I actually did get… I didn’t officially move, but I did get away right after college for about six months and was placed back in Morgantown. And a lot of my friends that have left have come back. It’s, kind of, a magnetic town. It’s changed so much over the years. One of the things I always talked about was when my dad would go to work as a kid. There was two stoplights when we moved here. And the last time that we counted, which this has been a few years ago, when he was still at that location, there was 27. So, it’s…

Eric: It’s definitely seen some growth.

Cody: It’s seen some growth. It’s a very diversified community. There’s always things going on here. You’ve got the beautiful scenery, but you’ve also got the small town aspect. You’ve got a lot of big town conveniences. And it’s a comfortable place to be.

Eric: Absolutely. So, a lot of the family at First United, the My Bank family, is deeply involved and engaged in the communities in which we live and play and work. And you’re no different. Tell me a little bit about some of the things you’re involved in in the community, some of the nonprofits, the organizations that you’re involved in.

Cody: Yeah. I would say the list is pretty long. I do love doing a lot of things. I do serve as a board member for PACE Enterprises, which is a nonprofit locally that helps people with disabilities find jobs and employment through training and development. And it’s an amazing organization. I’m so proud to be a part of it. They do a lot of really neat things and, you know, really such a great service to the community.

And then through rotary, I am a member of the Cheat Lake Rotary. We serve with a number of nonprofits through that and a lot of different service projects, you know, everything from road cleanup to fundraising to…we have a regatta on the lake every year down at Cheat Lake and raise money for different things. And we probably average between $70,000 to $80,000 a year in giving from our club and we’re roughly 80 members strong and growing. So, it’s really neat to see that because I remember growing up playing baseball in the Cheat Lake baseball fields and seeing the Cheat Lake Rotary sign out in the outfield knowing that rotary had made those fields possible, and then to come back around and be a part of that organization, it’s just so cool.

Eric: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. Obviously, it comes through when you’re talking about it. Obviously, it means a lot to you to be involved in those organizations. Can you speak to that? What does just that involvement mean to you? You’re obviously passionate about it.

Cody: Well, I think it should be expected of us to want our communities to be a better place. And I don’t know that everybody feels that way, but I certainly do. I mean, this is where I live and it’s a community that I’m proud of and I wanna continue to be proud of. And I wanna see it grow and be prosperous. And I feel like those organizations are key to making that happen, you know, keeping people connected and, you know, there’s a lot of synergy that happens with those and, you know, a lot of economic growth. There’s any number of things. I mean, if somebody can give me a reason not to be involved in your community, I would challenge you to do so. But it feels great to be able to do so.

Eric: Yeah. I love that. So, do you have any current projects in either of those groups that you’re involved that are currently going on right now that people might wanna be aware of?

Cody: Yeah. I’m trying to think of which ones that I can talk about publicly. At PACE, we certainly have several things going on. We’re looking at some, you know, housing projects. And the great thing is it’s actually bursting at the seams.

Eric: That’s awesome.

Cody: We’re looking for some expansion and to continue to grow that. And that’s one of those things I’m very passionate about, having people reach out to me, “How do I get more involved?” And I will absolutely tell you. And then, of course, with Rotary, we’re gearing up for the regatta that happens in the summertime. We’ve got our Flags for Heroes project. So, when you drive through Morgantown and you see all the hundreds of American flags that fly out in-between the Coliseum and the CAC, we’ve got them down on the boulevard, and then we’ve got them up in front of the Pierpont Center off the Cheat Lake exit. That’s actually where, you know, somebody can sponsor a flag and their hero’s name doesn’t necessarily have to be a veteran, can be, but it could just be, you know, a hero, the parent, the teacher, somebody.

Eric: That’s really cool.

Cody: Yeah. So, it’s a really neat fundraiser and, of course, takes a lot of hands to put that together. So, that’s one of the other things we’re gearing up for right now that we’re excited to do.

Eric: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, you actually brought it up and I’m glad you did because that’s a question I have for you is how can others get involved? What should they do if they’re interested in getting involved in either of those or maybe any other organization around town?

Cody: Yeah. I mean, Rotary is easy. Come to a meeting. Check it out. We meet every Tuesday morning at Lakeview and we have breakfast and fellowship. And we talk about what’s going on and, you know, it’s a really great way to start the day. Of course, it’s bright and early. It starts at 7:30 a.m. So, it’s nice that somebody can come before work and find out many different ways to get involved because everybody in that room is involved in a whole slew of organizations. As far as PACE goes, PACE has different arms of, I’ll call them, profit makers in-house that basically allow us to generate revenue to put more folks with disabilities back to work. So, it’s not all through state or grant funding, unfortunately. A portion of it is, of course, but there’s the Beehive Cafe where you can go out there and have breakfast and lunch or order box lunches. They do shredding, really big shred facility, actually, in Morgantown and one in Charleston, West Virginia. There’s grounds maintenance, janitorial services. So, there’s a lot of services that folks could actually take advantage of that PACE does very, very well and very, very competitively that help generate revenue that goes back into helping somebody with a disability get trained and find employment.

Eric: That’s so awesome.

Cody: So, it’s really neat to be a part of that and see, you know, not only do they do it well, price it competitively, but then you’re funding a great cause. So, it’s really neat. And then there’s different boards and committees. That’s another event that’s actually coming up is our PACE Cup Golf Tournament. And I think this is our seventh year, if I’m not mistaken. And it’s one of our largest fundraisers that we have. And we go out and we do a themed golf tournament this year. It’s like a wild-west theme. So, everybody can dress up like cowboys and cowgirls and we’ll go out and play around the golf at the ponds and make some money for PACE. So, it’s really neat.

Eric: That’s great. That’s great. Well, this has been great conversation. To end our podcast, we like to…especially these community episodes, we’d like to offer our listeners a parting gift, something, a thought, a quote, something helpful, or thoughtful for them to consider for the coming week to help their community. Something that matters to us matters to you. So, do you have any thoughts as to something to offer to our listeners?

Cody: It sounds so simple, but it resonates with me almost every single day. And it really just goes back to being kind. But I pulled up to a stoplight one morning, and this has been several years ago, and I must have had a case of the Mondays on my face and I look over to the car next to me and it was a mom and a daughter and they both looked at me and just, you know, made a smiley face motion to make me smile. And I thought, you know, how simple and easy that was, but how that turned my day right around. So, I’ll just say, you know, if you get the chance to do that to somebody, it’s something so simple and meaningful and just… I don’t know. It was…

Eric: I really like that. I’ve always thought, you know, smile when you see somebody. You might be the only one they see today. And so, I love that. That’s a really cool thought. All right Cody, thank you again for joining me today and talking about the community.

That brings us to the end of our show. As always, you can find more episodes by visiting mybank.com/podcast or on your favorite podcast app. You can also leave feedback there, ask questions or request a topic for us to discuss or by sending us an email to podcast@mybank.com. We’re so thankful for you listening. We’ll be back next week with more helpful content and community content. But, until then, we wish you the best in focusing on what matters most to you.

Singers: First United, my bank for life.

Eric: Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. This recording is for informational purposes only. Any references in this recording to any person, organization, product, or service does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or affiliation with First United Bank & Trust. First United is not responsible for your use of the information mentioned within this podcast. Please consult legal or tax professionals for counsel as needed.