Trailblazer Award Winners at CU Times Reception
WASHINGTON — A highlight of the GAC each year is hosting the reception for the Credit Union Times 2014 Trailblazer Award winners.
Competition was tough again this year. Many credit unions experienced rebound years in 2014, driven by auto lending, a stronger real estate market and technological innovations that improved service and efficiencies.
Here is a look at this year's winners and the reception at the Renaissance Washington hotel on Feb. 25.
Networking was the name of the game at the annual Trailblazer Awards reception during the GAC.
Trailblazer CEO of the Year: Joe Thomas Jr., president/CEO of the $277 million Fairfax County Federal Credit Union, led his Virginia credit union to 50% loan growth in 2014 despite a headquarters fire that destroyed its computer room. He's in the center of this shot, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues.
CFO of the Year, VolCorp's Jeff Merry, with NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, center, and Heather Anderson, executive editor of Credit Union Times.
Trailblazer Lending Executive of the Year: Corey Miller, consumer loan manager at the $831 million Northwest Community Credit Union in Eugene Ore., grew consumer loans by almost 20% last year. He's at center here, flanked by CU Times’ Sarah Snell Cooke and Tony Boutelle of award sponsor CU Direct.
Trailblazer CFO of the Year: Jeff Merry, CFO of the $1.2 billion Volunteer Corporate Credit Union, has taken his corporate beyond Solvent Five status to become a merger surviving and financially thriving cooperative. His daughter Morgan approves.
Trailblazer Marketing Executive of the Year: Willard Ross, chief retail officer at the $2.2 billion Coastal Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., used video tellers to boost his credit union>s profile while streamlining operations. Here he is with CU Times’ Sarah Snell Cooke on the left and award sponsor CO-OP's Caroline Willard on the right.
Trailblazer Outstanding Service to the Underserved: The $61 million Lower Valley Credit Union uses auto loans to provide opportunities for the underserved. Suzy Fonseca, CEO of the Washington state credit union, is at center here with Caroline Willard, executive vice president at award sponsor CO-OP Financial Services and Publisher/Editor Sarah Snell Cooke of CU Times.
Trailblazer IT Executive of the Year: Nicole Bowen, vice president of information technology at Fairfax County FCU in Virginia, got the credit union back online and on track after a fire destroyed the computer room. Here she is with CU Times’ Sarah Snell Cooke on the left and Tracy Almquist from Symitar on the right. Symitar sponsored the award.
Trailblazer Volunteer of the Year: Roger Mark Hall, chairman of the $12 million Greater Abbeville Federal Credit Union in South Carolina, has always been driven by service to others.
Trailblazer Outstanding Political Action: CO-OP's Caroline Willard, left, with Stephen Dedene of the $822 million Credit Union ONE and CU Times’ Sarah Snell Cooke. Dedene led the fight against ATM skimmers by spearheading new state legislation in Michigan.