Christopher Funk knew from an early age that he wanted to work in financing, but he thought it would require a move to a big city. tThat’s one area he wasn’t willing to negotiate.
Funk was born in Akron, Ohio, where he resided until he was 3 years old. His family moved to Yadkin County.
“I always felt like Akron was home to me, but after I after I started school and made some friends Yadkin County became home pretty fast,” Funk said.
Family played a major part in Funk’s upbringing. His brother, Jay, and grandmother, Ninny Jean, were major influences in his formative years.
“My brother is three years older than me, and he was always an inspiration from me,” Funk said. “He helped protect me, he helped raise me and he praised me like all good big brothers do. He was always a big part of my life.”
His grandmother taught him a life lesson that he still reminds himself of today: “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
“My Ninny Jean played a big part in my life,” Funk said. “She taught me a lot of my morals, manners and how to treat women. She was always the one who woke us up on Saturday mornings and had us out working in the fields and the garden.”
Funk attended Forbush High School. He said he struggled with what he would do when he graduated. He said he considered a career as an attorney since his step-grandfather was a prominent attorney in Florida. He quickly realized that a law career would take a large amount of his personal and family time, and he didn’t want to sacrifice those things.
Funk had another idea while learning about career possibilities in middle school.
“While I was in Ms. Barnes’ English class in seventh or eighth grade she passed around this paper that told us about different careers and how much they paid,” Funk said. “On the list was stockbroker, and that stood out to me as something I thought I would like to do. Back then I was under the impression that you had to move to New York to be a stockbroker, and I wasn’t going to leave Yadkin County. So I forgot about it.”
In the meantime Funk attended classes, played sports and held a full-time job as an assistant manager at Action Video. At just 16 years old he was pulling in nearly $18,000 a year.
Funk graduated from high school still unsure what he would do professionally, so he headed to Forsyth Tech to get his basic classes out of the way until he decided on a direction. After two years he went to Gardner Webb and obtained his bachelor’s degree in business.
He quickly found a job work for Revco Pharmacy. He would dedicate the next 13 years of his life to the company and also meet the love of his life.
“I had worked with my wife at Revco, and we were both dating somebody at the time when we met,” Funk said. “It was just a platonic relationship for quite a while, but much later she broke up with her high school sweetheart and somebody suggested that she call me.”
Funk said that he agreed to the date but due to a cousin’s wedding out of state and a miscalculation on driving time his date ended up being two weeks later than she had requested. His arrival on the big night was late as well. Both are things his wife still pokes fun of him for today.
Funk said it only took that first date to convince him that she was special.
“That evening I went home and called my grandma and told her that I didn’t know if I had met the woman I was going to marry. But I knew I had met the kind of woman I wanted to marry,” Funk said.
While his wife finished her college career, Funk continued working for Revco, which was bought out by CVS Pharmacy. In the merger Funk was chosen as one of 12 Revco employees to travel to all of the locations to help with the transition.
“We were to try to find commonalities between the businesses and do meetings at all these new CVS locations and try to let them know about policies and regulations,” Funk said.
With this temporary position Funk said he finally got to travel and see life outside of Yadkin County, something he never thought he wanted to do. Funk said that although it was a fun and exciting experience for him, he knew that he still wanted to remain in his beloved hometown.
“My dream up to that point was to become a district manager of a store,” Funk said. “After my experience traveling I realized that I liked doing the training, but I didn’t like all the district manager’s responsibilities. So I decided not to do that.”
He spent a small amount of time working on the benefits package and 401K program for the Revco employees, and it dawned on him that he could still pursue his dream of bring a stockbroker without venturing outside of the county.
Funk went back to Gardner Webb and got his master’s degree in business with a concentration in finance with the intention of chasing down his childhood dream. However, the wavering economy would quickly put him back in his place.
“When I graduated cum laude with my master’s I thought I would be set, and I shouldn’t have any trouble finding a job,” Funk said. “I changed careers dramatically and the month after I graduated Wachovia and Bank of America laid off 2,500 financial advisers in Charlotte, which is what I wanted to become. I kept applying locally, and I couldn’t find a job.”
Funk said he assumed that he would need a career in a bank before a company like Edward Jones would accept him, but after being turned down by all of the local banks who weren’t hiring he decided to take a shot anyway.
“After months of not having any luck I decided to go ahead and apply to Edward Jones, and I was hired,” Funk said. “I felt like it had to be God. It was amazing the chain of events that occurred from where I came from to where I ended up.”
Funk said he started out in the Dobson office and was being prepped to open an office in East Bend when the position at the Yadkinville office became available. The company learned that the East Bend location was not viable after all and quickly sent Funk to man the Yadkinville store on his own.
Funk said that he now feels like he is serving people with his work, and he enjoys going to his job each day.
“I like the work. The whole idea of investments has always been very rewarding to me,” Funk said. “I feel like I’m helping people here. I pray that I do what’s right for my clients and not just what’s best for me and my family.”
More important than his work are his wife and children. The couple has a 7-year-old son, Caden, and a 7-year-old daughter, Caitlyn.
“My world was turned upside down when my kids were born,” Funk said. “Anything I do is for them, so as far as my immediate goals they are to take the best care of them as I can. The time goes by so very fast, and you have to learn to enjoy it while it’s there.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.