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This year it was CU Times’ honor to host our ninth-annual Trailblazer Awards reception to honor a variety of credit unions, executives and volunteers that are moving credit unions toward the future while maintaining their humanity. They do things differently and successfully and avoid internal inertia.

By far, the most dramatic stories were those of President/CEO Joe Thomas Jr. and Vice President of IT Nicole Bowen of Fairfax County Federal Credit Union, our Trailblazer CEO and IT Executive of the Year, respectively. Work on the building’s roof started a fire that caused $400,000 in damage, but the credit union executives were thankful on a number of levels: everyone was safe—at least after Thomas pulled one of the roofers, who was worried about getting tar on the carpeting—from the burning building; the dedication of the employees to their work at the credit union; and the brand new disaster recovery plan was working like a charm.

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