CORNELIUS – Jim Engel, CEO and president of Aquesta Bank, won the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce’s Sprit of Entrepreneurship Award during the organization's annual banquet Jan. 17 at The Peninsula Club. 

In 2006, 47-year-old Engel left his position with KPMG to start Aquesta Bank. Initially, Engel’s chief financial officer and board member worked out of his Cornelius home.

Aquesta has grown to more than $230 million in assets, four branch locations and 65 employees.

“In the course of growing Aquesta Bank, the bank has provided financing for numerous local businesses ranging from startup ventures to established manufacturers and developers,” 2013 Chamber Chairwoman Wendy Moran said. “These loans have helped the local economy weather the recession and lead the recovery in our region.”

Engel’s accomplishments in 2013 include establishing Aquesta Bank as a publicly traded company; paying Aquesta’s first stock dividend to shareholders in May 2013; paying Aquesta's first cash dividend of $.10/share to shareholders in December 2013; and election to the board of directors for the North Carolina Bankers Association.