Number of employees
Brief background of
Tri-Cities Community Federal Credit Union) is the only small local credit union
in the Tri-Cities, originally founded in 1969 by the IBEW #112 Electricians
Union, right here in Kennewick. We have grown rapidly the last decade, having
nearly quadrupled in assets and employees, and just relocated into a beautiful
new office last winter.
We serve anyone who
lives, works or worships in Benton or Franklin county. As a credit union we are
a not-for-profit, tax-exempt financial cooperative, led by a volunteer board of
directors elected by our membership. Our mission is not to make money at the
expense of our members but rather to help our members achieve financial success
by giving them better rates, better service and lower fees than they can get
How did you land your
current role? How long have you been in it?
I have been the
president for 11 years, when we were still called Kennewick Credit Union.
Previously I was in executive management at a credit union in Port Townsend and
another credit union in Idaho. I was raised in Western Washington and grew up
working in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry, including managing a
seafood processing company. This background helped me be something of a
jack-of-all-trades (master of none), which was a nice fit for managing this
small credit union (at least the directors thought so).
Why should the
Tri-Cities care about the banking industry?
achieve financial independence is key to security and happiness, so access to
convenient and low-priced financial products and services is key. When this
community supports local community banks and credit unions, the positive effect
on our community is huge — because 100 percent of the money stays local.
Do you have any
upcoming events planned to commemorate Tri-CU Credit Union’s 50th anniversary?
Why yes, during the
entire month of August for every new account or loan we will donate $50 to the
“charity of choice” of that new member. Our lobby party will be on Friday, Aug.
2 from 1-5 p.m. We will have a dunk tank, snow cones, cookies and a charity
raffle to give away four $500 golden tickets to the charity of their choice. We
are excited to have been serving this local community for 50 years and are
excited to give back to the community even more at this celebration!
What’s contributed to Tri-CU’s success?
The board of
directors, management and staff really maintain an innovative and laser-like
focus on service, convenience and lending to meet the needs of our members. It
appears to be working because we are strong and growing.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
I believe that most
importantly a leader should care about their employees and their members, and
be internally motivated to help them improve their lives.
What is the biggest
challenge facing credit union presidents today?
The biggest challenge
is keeping up with increasingly complex and burdensome regulations —
regulations that were designed for gigantic and highly-complex banks that limit
our ability to help our members. I don’t think anyone will be well served if
growing regulations drive all the small community banks and credit unions out
of business, so competition evaporates, and our only options are between a
handful of impersonal and self-serving big banks.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
If you want to be a
good leader, then your goal and focus should be making a positive difference in
the lives of your employees and members. Nothing else will matter in the long
Who are your role models or mentors?
My mentors would be
the current Tri-CU board of directors. They are experienced, intelligent,
forward thinking and conscientious local folks who care about Tri-CU and our
community. A role model would be the CEO at my first credit union job. He was a
man of high integrity and was devoted to giving back to his employees, their
members, his community and his family.
How do you keep your
I try to hire employees who share the same values of energetic innovation and
helping others. Then I try to ensure they have the tools to do it (training,
technology, etc.). Lastly, we constantly highlight amazing service stories of
helping our members to strengthen that culture.
How did you decide to
pursue the career that you are working in today?
It’s a rather
interesting story, and the credit goes to my wife. I grew up working in the
commercial fishing industry in Alaska, then went to business school at Western
Washington University, I could learn how to better manage our family seafood
processing company. Due to planes being grounded during 9/11, we took a huge
loss when a large shipment of seafood went bad waiting on the tarmac, which was
the beginning of the end. I started back to college to get a teaching degree to
teach business, when a friend offered me a management job at a small credit
union in Port Townsend. I turned it down because I was already on the path of
being a teacher, but my wife suggested I at least try it out or talk to the CEO
before turning it down. I tried it, loved it and here I am almost 20 years
How do you measure
success in your workplace?
When our credit union
is financially healthy (boring financial ratios and benchmarks), when we are
able to help our members to save money and achieve financial success, when we
are able to give back to the community, and when it is a good and profitable
place for the employees to work… then I believe we are succeeding.
What do you consider your leadership style to be?
This is difficult to
define and describe, especially about one’s self. I like my employees to be
happy and love serving them. I am a high energy person, and I love innovation
and change ... so probably a combination of servant, charismatic and transformative
What’s your best time management strategy?
Every few days I
organize my priorities on a paper checklist, so that my most urgent and
important items are at the top and I don’t waste too much time on tasks that
don’t really matter (80/20 rule). I keep that checklist within view on my desk
How do you balance
work and family life?
I am blessed to have a
job that is generally 9-6 on weekdays, which means I can usually spend evenings
and weekends at home with my family. I avoid scheduling or allowing any
personal hobbies or activities from interfering with that family time.
What do you like to do
when you are not at work?
First comes family
time. I also like to serve in my church, and lastly, I like to cycle and run (I
train for a few competitive races every year).
Best tip to relieve
Ride a bike really
hard for a couple hours, then go play the banjo.
What’s your most-used
app? Favorite book?
I tend to avoid social
media, although my favorite app is probably Strava, a competitive fitness
tracking app. The most important books in my life are the Holy Bible and Book
of Mormon, whereas my favorite “fun” book is anything written by science
fiction author Brandon Sanderson.
Do you have a personal
mantra, phrase or quote you like to use?
I hope my employees often hear me say:
“This isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity,” or for me to ask them: “How is
this helping our members?”
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!