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TAMPA, Fla. – Anyone can say branching out is a priority, but GTE Federal Credit Union is proving it by creating a new position and promoting former Director of Facilities Stephen Foster to vice president of real estate management. “This is something that is totally new for GTE FCU and I’m looking forward to the opportunities this position brings,” said Foster. “So often people look at a facilities title and think of it as more of a maintenance of branches rather than what we are actually charged with which is the care of all the physical assets of the credit union.” Responsible for the total picture of GTE FCU’s physical assets, Foster’s duties range from site selection and development to overseeing direct construction, contract leasing and interior design/branding. Foster joined GTE FCU in 2002 when the over $1.9 billion credit union set its sights on expansion. As a Tampa native whose father was a builder here, Foster says he’s always been interested in real estate and dedicated his adult life to construction and property acquisition by running his own real estate firm for some 22 years. “I was a general contractor by trade and used to do work with the credit union some 10 years ago, so I had an overall familiarity with the organization and when the opportunity to interview with the credit union as director of facilities presented itself I jumped at it,” said Foster. “The ability to be a part of this in a way that truly impacts the credit union and its members is extremely rewarding.” Foster’s recommendations over the years have led to GTE FCU’s new headquarters site and several new or relocated branches rounding out the total number of branches to 38. In his new role, Foster also heads the facility department’s staff of nine. He says there are no typical days. For example, this week Foster is getting the new headquarters ready for everyone to move into while still mapping out areas and neighborhoods for new GTE FCU branches. In addition, plans are underway to incorporate new technology to help create more “traditional” branch environments that focus on providing a variety of services. “GTE FCU’s expansion over the last few years has been pretty steady,” said Foster. “My desire for our department moving forward is to partner up with developers here because they have their finger on the pulse of expansion. So we could then coordinate our strategic plan to identify opportunities early on within whatever developments are in the planning stages.” Foster says hopefully credit unions across the country will follow GTE FCU’s example and either create or make more use of their existing facilities staff. “When you look around facility departments in general they do so much more work than people realize and sometimes the perception of the position is too limited,” said Foster. “They are already doing the work it just may not have been acknowledged yet.” [email protected]

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