Planning for the future

Knox Gibson (‘17) and Steve Gaskins (‘81) share a love for their industry and an appreciation for their alma mater. Steve quickly saw traits in Knox that led to an admirable career trajectory: intern to vice president to future successor.

During his junior year at Campbell, Knox interned at Seacoast Wealth Management under founder and CEO, Steve. Knox’s integrity, intelligence and people skills made hiring him full-time (once he completed his bachelors and masters degrees in Trust and Wealth Management) a simple choice for Steve.

Steve and Knox’s graduation years may be separated by 36 years, but their roads to Campbell, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and the wealth management field share similar characteristics.

Steve recalls, “Campbell has always been a part of my life. I don’t ever remember not being a Camel.”

The Gaskins family had a special connection to Campbell. “The three people my father admired the most were Jesus, Billy Graham and Jerry Wallace, and I think that was the correct order.” When it came to the all-important college decision, Steve received some subtle guidance: “My dad told me I could go to college anywhere I wanted to…as long as it was in Harnett County.”

Next came deciding what major (and subsequently career path) to choose. Steve was drawn to math and accounting in high school, but was not drawn to the image of sitting behind a desk all day punching numbers into a calculator. The ideal work environment involved getting out from behind the office walls and interacting with people. Trust and wealth management was the perfect fit.

Steve is still fascinated by his line of work. There are always new problems to be solved, challenges to face and goals to work towards with clients. He believes, “Money in and of itself is neither good nor bad; it’s just a tool to accomplish objectives. People want to take care of their loved ones, and we help them do that. That’s what makes me happy.”

Similarly, Knox’s best subjects in high school were always math-related. His college career started at Belmont-Abbey, and he was in the process of declaring a major that encapsulated his aptitude for numbers and desire to work with people. One day, he came home to a Campbell Magazine laid out by his father (a Campbell grad), open to an article about Campbell’s Trust and Wealth Management program. Knox recalls, “It got my mind rolling…Long story short, I transferred to Campbell. Best decision I ever made.”

That decision led also led Knox to his fiancé and a stronger connection with his dad.

Steve and Knox both graduated from Campbell with confidence and credibility, which they credit to the Trust and Wealth Management program. In the early days of his first job at a bank, Steve’s supervisors quickly assigned him higher level tasks. “They told me that I was working on the level of someone who had two or three years of experience.” Steve attributes his supervisors’ confidence in him to the quality of the program and the practical, hands-on experience he gained as a student.

“I owe everything I’ve been able to do in my entire career to Campbell,” says Steve.

Knox recognizes a special quality of the Campbell culture that fosters confidence in its students and alumni. “Campbell was the perfect size for me. It felt like a place where you could really grow and thrive. That had a huge impact on me moving to a new city, starting a new job with a lot of self-confidence.” 

Knox also recognizes, “We get a lot of credibility from our degrees.”

The credibility of the program also made way for Steve and Knox’s partnership. Knox says, “This man is respected by people I respect, so there was a whole level of trust that we didn’t really have to work through.” Knox appreciates knowing that Steve has received the “green check of approval” from trusted Campbell professors. “When I told them I was considering going to work for Steve, they all said ‘That’s one of the smartest things you’ll ever do.’”

That Campbell culture is now woven into the fibers of their business. Steve and Knox’s shared Campbell past brings it into the present and future of their business. According to Steve, take a quick look around their office and you’ll see “Campbell, Campbell, Campbell.”

Steve is still heavily involved with Campbell, serving as the Chairman of the Presidential Board of Advisors. “Campbell is interwoven in my DNA.”

Knox also remains involved, serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Steve founded Seacoast Wealth Management with a client-first mindset. “We’re not transaction-driven, we’re relationship-driven. I’ve got clients who have been with me for over 25 years, and I’ve worked with three generations of their families.” Knox and Steve want to make a lasting impact on their clients and their community. “We’ll be gone one day, and the question is, ‘What did you leave behind?’ I want that legacy to be that we helped people.”

Looking forward, Steve and Knox have many plans for Seacoast Wealth Management. Steve says, “I love what I do. I don’t think I’ll ever be out of the business.” But when it does come time to pass over the reins, Steve already knows who he intends to promote as CEO and his successor.

“There’s no sense of building something if you don’t have a plan to keep it going. I feel totally comfortable that Knox has the ability to keep things moving forward. One day when I’m gone, not only will Seacoast be as good as it is now, but it will even be better.” 

Seacoast Wealth Management is a registered Orange Owned business. Orange Owned connects Campbell alumni with businesses owned and operated by fellow alumni. Visit our web page to learn more about Orange Owned, find local businesses near you, or register your business.