CRESTLINE, Calif. – One day he may be hobnobbing with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The next day he might be addressing an auditorium filled with hundreds of credit union executives. And that same week he might be jetting away on business to the Philippines, Ireland, Poland, Mexico, or even Sacramento, Calif. Dave Chatfield is definitely a man on the go. To those who know the president and chief executive officer of the California Credit Union League, the hustle and bustle of his lifestyle comes as no surprise. What they may find surprising, however, is that the ever urbane and dapper Chatfield is really a mountain man at heart. So at the end of a busy work day – or when he’s not away on business some 160 days a year – he usually can be found relaxing at his home in the San Bernardino Mountains. “This is our little refuge,” he said, motioning around the mountain home he and his wife Kris recently purchased, and which they are busy fixing up. “We’ve been mountain people for a long time,” said Chatfield, dressed in a pair of blue jeans and polo shirt. “As soon as I got near mountains, I fell in love with them. It’s where I always wanted to be.” The San Bernardino Mountains are a far cry from the flatlands of Ohio, where Chatfield was born and raised. “There weren’t very many mountains there,” he said with a laugh. The mountains and the great outdoors – offering fishing, hunting, camping, horseback riding, hiking or some other activity – have always held great sway with the Chatfields. In fact, Chatfield was planning to purchase a canoe – a Father’s Day gift – before arriving in Las Vegas for the annual meeting and convention of the California league. He already has a jet ski, another present from a previous Father’s Day. A motor home which the family used to travel from their previous home in Upland, Calif., to the Sequoias, where they’d camp and go horseback riding, isn’t used that much any more since they moved to the mountains about a year and a half ago. “We’ll do less of that now (traveling to the Sequoias) now that we’re here because we have other things that are closer to us,” Kris Chatfield explained. Silverwood Lake, for example, is about 10 minutes from their home. The tiny village of Crestline is just a few minutes drive. “We really enjoy just poking around the mountains,” Chatfield said. “I like to come back here and enjoy the mountains and the pine trees and relax. This is the way that we unwind.” There are also the five grandkids (four of them live in Southern California, the fifth is in Texas), who Dave and Kris enjoy entertaining. The growing extended family prompted the Chatfields to sell their small cabin in the mountains and purchase the house next door, which offered more space. They admit their first attempt at downsizing from their home in Upland to the cabin went just a little too far. Living in the mountains about a 45-minute drive (longer in the wintertime if there is snow) from the league office in Rancho Cucamonga isn’t the first time the Chatfields have taken to the hills. In his 37 years in the credit union industry, the last eleven and a half spent at the league, Chatfield’s career has taken him from Colorado to Washington, D.C., to New York, Alaska and Wisconsin. He came to the California league from the Filene Research Institute in Wisconsin. Before that, he served on the board of NCUA in Washington, D.C., appointed by then-President Ronald Reagan. He joined NCUA after a 10-year stint in Alaska, having gone there in 1978 when he was hired as managing director (president) of the Alaska Credit Union League. He later joined Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, at the time the largest federal credit union outside of Washington, D.C. Working in Alaska gave him an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and to travel extensively throughout the state. “We did a lot of fishing and hunting in Alaska,” recalled Chatfield, who said he no longer hunts but still greatly enjoys fishing. “When we lived in Alaska, we went to the supermarket like everybody else, but for the most part our entres were what we got (ourselves): moose, caribou, salmon and halibut.” He admitted it took a while for a city slicker from the Lower 48 to adapt. “It took a few years to really get the hang of it, to find out where to go and how to fish, and the techniques to do it well,” he said. “But then we had all the salmon we could carry.” The Alaska adventure allowed him to travel to remote parts of the state “to go to places other people don’t get to see or to go to. It was very enjoyable.” The family also had a cabin on a lake about a two-hour drive north of Anchorage. “We loved getting out of town and going to the cabin,” he recalled. “It would be 20 below and we’d go tubing on the hill. We had a big dog and he’d haul the kids around the frozen lake.” The “kids” – sons Bart and Mark and daughters Danielle and Heather – are now grown and on their own. All either work or have worked at credit unions. Chatfield still tries to get back to Alaska at least once a year on a fishing trip, although fitting it into his schedule has become harder and harder. He and his wife also try to travel together, squeezing in a few vacation days during business trips in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the World Council of Credit Unions and was among those who helped the Polish credit union movement get under way. A few times a year they also try to get to Hawaii where they own a small home on the Big Island. “At some point off in the distant future when he finally thinks about retirement we’ll have this little place in Hawaii and this little place here,” Kris Chatfield said. Does that mean that at age 62, Chatfield is contemplating retirement? “I’m not going to work forever,” he replied. “It (retirement) is sometime off in the future. I’m 62 so you start thinking about those things: what kind of lifestyle you’re evolving to in preparation for that.” He said he envisioned living in Hawaii part of the year and in California the other part. “Somewhere down the road that’s probably the pattern we’ll look for,” Chatfield said. “The key is `somewhere down the road,’” Kris Chatfield added quickly. “We’re still having fun and doing a lot of good, and I want to continue doing that,” Chatfield said. “It’s a little stressful but it’s also very rewarding. If it ever ceases to be fun, of course that would be a different matter. But I don’t expect that.” Despite the serenity of mountain living, both Chatfield and his wife admit that the credit union movement has deeply affected their entire family life. “We kind of eat, sleep and breathe credit unions,” Chatfield said. “It’s not like we have credit unions and we have a different life. It’s an integrated life.” “We just have a real passion together for credit unions and what they are and what they stand for,” Kris Chatfield added. “It’s just a large part of our lives. The job has evolved to cover this huge umbrella of interests, but it’s something that really works for us because we do feel so strongly about it.” “It’s our job,” her husband said. “It’s our hobby. It’s part of our family life. Our kids have been around it all their lives and it’s rubbed off and they’re involved in it as well. So it’s a family affair.” “It’s a very busy life,” Chatfield added. “It’s a good life.” -

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