Fort Wayne native Richard T. Doermer became a part of the business fabric in this city and in northeast Indiana during the mid-1950s when he started his banking career at the Dime Trust and Savings Bank. Little did he know at the time that it would go through numerous name changes including Indiana Bank and Trust Company, Summit Bank, and finally becoming an NBD Bancorp Inc. affiliate. During those years, Doermer’s jobs and responsibilities grew, too; he was chairman and CEO of the Fort Wayne area NBD operations when he retired on December 31, 1993.
Doermer was much more than a banker. He was an astute businessman in other areas, a public servant, and a philanthropist. He showed his business acumen in the 1980s, when he was the vice chair of the Avis International Corporation of Upland, Indiana. The company has 12 diverse manufacturing facilities in seven states, Canada, and England. Since the early 1960s, he has served on more than a dozen other business boards including Rea Magnet Wire Company, Inc., Journal Gazette Publishing Co., and Our Sunday Visitor. He was presented with The Sagamore of the Wabash in 2004, by then-Gov. Joe Kernan, for the more than 25 years he served as a board member of the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund.
He always believed that a solid education in all phases of the business world was paramount to having a successful endeavor. “Partnerships between business schools and local businesses are extremely beneficial to both parties—students get first-hand knowledge in a “real world” setting and the hosting business knows if it hires those students, the money will have been well spent,” he said. To that end, Doermer and his family were very generous with donations to IPFW’s scholarship funds. The university is very proud that its business school now carries his name.