MIAMI – The CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Diamond Awards turned out to be an evening filled with surprises. First, Tampa, Florida-based GTE Federal Credit Union became home to not one but two CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Diamond Award winners. GTE FCU’s Senior Vice President Traci Germain was named Marketing Professional of the Year for her efforts in implementing a member rewards program and establishing unique merchandising systems; and Business Development Manager Cathy Long took home the Business Development Professional of the Year award for developing the credit union’s “points-for-rewards program. According to CUNA Councils Manager Cheryl Sorenson, the Business Development and Marketer of the Year are judged independently by two different groups of individuals and neither group knew that they had selected the winners from the same credit union. Then, the council inducted Credit Union Times’ own founder/publisher Mike Welch into its Hall of Fame. Considered the Council’s most prestigious honor, the Hall of Fame recognizes those marketing professionals who have excelled throughout their professional careers. Nominated by Delta Employees Credit Union VP of Marketing Mary Olson, Welch was singled out for his 35 years of serving and working with the credit union movement. “Mike has been a pioneer for credit union marketers,” said Olson. “He brought marketing into the limelight as a professional position and has remained a champion for marketers.” Welch not only established the first credit union marketing group- the Financial Marketing Association- under the CUES umbrella while he served first as executive director and later as president, but also facilitated what became the founding and first planning meeting of the CUNA Marketing Council. “In fact, it was Mike who offered the group the name `Diamond’ for their new awards program,” said Olson as she introduced Welch. “He was planning to develop a new awards program but decided not to pursue it since CMC was developing a similar program. The following year Dick Hartley presented Mike with a special award, `Friend of Credit Union Marketers’ -it was the first and only time the Council has given that award.” Other award winners for the evening included the following: New York State CU League “Let’s Talk Campaign”, Best Association Entry; Texans CU “Bank-O-Suction Relationship “Radio Spot, Best Use of Humor; Spokane Teachers’ CU “American Dreams Consumer Loan Campaign”, Best Use of Art; and Navigator CU “Navigating a Name Change” Competition’s Best. The event was held March 10-13 at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort. For a complete list of Diamond Award winners visit the Council’s site at diamond2004/intro.html.

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