Wells Fargo Bank Iowa
1946 -

In an age where people change employers as frequently as they change cars, Lynn Horak is an anomaly. Not only has he stayed with the same banking organization throughout his career, he has stayed in the same city, Des Moines. He has been there through tremendous changes in banking, including three changes in his bank’s name. The bank changed its name from Iowa Des Moines National Bank to Norwest bank Iowa in 1982 and Wells Fargo Bank Iowa in 2000.

Harry Lynn Horak was born in Vinton, IA on Jan 26, 1946 and grew up on a 160-acre farm nearby. He started college at University of Northern Iowa but left two years later when he was about to be drafted. He enlisted in the Air Force and spent 1966 to 1970 in Texas, the only years he lived outside Iowa. He returned to the state and got his bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Northern Iowa in 1972.

After graduation he moved to Des Moines and began his career with Iowa-Des Moines National Bank as an executive trainee, experience all areas of the bank. He quickly made a name for himself within the organization with the stellar job he did planning the bank’s move into new headquarters in the Financial Center.

By 1981 Horak was chief financial officer and in 1986, president. He was named CEO and chairman in 1991. Under his leadership the bank more than doubled in size, due largely to the acquisitions of Davenport Bank & Trust and Brenton Banks. The number of branches grew from 29 in 1991 to 95 in 2001. The sales culture that Horak promoted is credited for the nearly tripling of profits during this period.

Horak has lent his leadership to many community organizations. And he’s gained admirers with his willingness to get involved in controversial projects such as Des Moines’ Hillside housing project, where true leadership is required.