On a humid summer day when roofers are using blow torches to seal in black tar, at the most, a few employees working in that building may grumble about the smell or the noise.

But at the $277 million Fairfax County Federal Credit Union, the usual construction activity quickly morphed into an emergency that would put the Fairfax, Va., cooperative’s disaster recovery plan to the test and endear it even more to its county workers-heavy field of membership.

For his even-keeled temperament that helped save one person’s life, moved staffers to safety and got his credit union back up and running within 24 hours after a fire, Joe Thomas Jr., president/CEO of Fairfax County FCU, has been named Credit Union Times’ 2014 Trailbazer CEO of the Year.

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