The Pulse | 04-12-2018

Volume 7, Issue 15.5



Minnesota Credit Union Network Honors Simon Hellermann Philanthropy, Professional and Volunteer of The Year Award Recipients

The Minnesota Credit Union Network presented the Simon Hellermann Philanthropy, Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Credit Union Professional of the Year awards at a ceremony held during the MnCUN 2018 Annual Conference on April 6 in Bloomington.


The Volunteer of the Year Award is given to a credit union volunteer who best represents the credit union spirit through dedication to, and belief in, the credit union movement. Recipients are chosen based on their involvement with credit unions at the local and state levels, along with participation in activities that better their communities. The Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer of the Year Award honor was awarded to Pam Tschida, Board Chair of Hiway Federal Credit Union.

The Professional of the Year Award is given to a remarkable person who truly stands behind the “people helping people” credit union philosophy. This year, the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s honoree for Outstanding Credit Union Professional of the Year Award went to Debora Almirall, President of Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union.


The Simon Hellermann Philanthropy Award recognizes demonstrated excellence in credit union philanthropy and contributions to the credit union movement in Minnesota. This award – established in 1999 as a tribute to Minnesota credit union philanthropist Simon Hellermann – recognizes an outstanding contribution to a humanitarian cause and also promotes credit union philanthropy, service and loyalty. The 2018 award was given to St. Cloud Federal Credit Union for their KIVA Financial Education program in partnership with Sartell High School.

Video tributes of each of the award winners are available on the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s website. Additional photos are available on the 2018 Annual Conference webpage.




Follow the links on the stories below to read more about the outstanding programs, new initiatives and well-deserved recognition received by your peers recently. Got news of your own? Send stories, pitches, press releases and published articles to MnCUN Director of Communications Laura Whittet.




Crew Young Professionals Group Spring P2P

The Crew Young Professional Group will be holding their spring P2P on Wednesday May 9 at the Wings Financial Credit Union office in Apple Valley. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear Firefly Credit Union's SVP/Chief Marketing Officer Martin Kelly discuss current credit union trends in marketing, provide education on effective writing in the workplace, and share his professional journey. The event will also include lunch and roundtable discussions by discipline.


Full event details and registration are available online.


The Crew is a group for young professionals – under 40 years old - working in the credit union movement in Minnesota. The Minnesota Credit Union Network hosts special sessions for Crew members at major MnCUN events as well as standalone Crew education sessions, networking events, and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. More information about the group is available on the Crew page of the MnCUN website.



Seven Individuals Honored as Credit Union Builders Through the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation

Seven remarkable individuals were recognized as Credit Union Builders by the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation at the 2018 MnCUN Annual Convention.


The CU Builder Award provides credit unions and organizations the opportunity to make contributions in honor of or in memory of a significant individual who has been instrumental in their success. Contributions are typically made at a special time of significance to acknowledge their dedication and impact on the organization.


Credit Union Builders presented at the Annual Conference include:


Barb Brown – honorarium made by member Northwoods Credit Union - Barb lives the Credit Union philosophy of people helping people. It is apparent that every decision she makes is with her members and employees at heart. Barb is involved in the credit union movement through the local league by helping to plan meetings and attending all league events. Barb is also very involved with the Minnesota Credit Union National Association. Barb has been able to keep the credit union philosophy strong while also recognizing the need to grow and keep up with technology and an ever-changing industry.


Larry Champeaux - honorarium made by Northern Communities Credit Union - Larry Champeaux retired from Northern Communities Credit Union in 2016 as the President and CEO.  During Larry’s credit union career, he displayed true passion of the Credit Union Movement, respect to his peers, and provided exceptional leadership. Larry’s career in the credit union industry spanned a remarkable 30 years.


Rich Gabrielson - honorarium made by CliftonLarsonAllen - Rich Gabrielson was a CPA working with Minnesota credit union supervisory committees, boards of directors and management throughout his 36-year career at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP. Gabrielson retired in 2013. Dedicated to credit unions and his profession, Gabrielson and the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation established the Financial & Audit Professionals Grant Fund, which provides up to $2,000 in annual grant funding for Minnesota credit union staff and volunteers who have financial and audit-related responsibilities.


Lon Kruger - honorarium made by Accentra Credit Union - Lon Krueger started his career with Accentra {formerly known as Hormel Employees Credit Union) in March of 1977. He quickly moved up through the accounting department to become the CFO. In December of 1987 Lon was named the President/CEO and led the Credit Union through much success until his retirement in April 2008. Lon's vision and leadership saw the credit union grow from $44 million in total assets to $100 million during his time as President/CEO. Lon was active in the credit union industry on a state and national level and his passion for credit unions was evident in everything he did.


Scott Lundgren honorarium made by Centricity Credit Union - Scott Lundgren retired from Centricity Credit Union (formerly Hrmantown Federal Credit Union) at the end of March after three decades of service to the credit union movement. Scott began as a teller and worked his way up to the position of CEO leading two separate credit unions during his career, the last 16 years with Centricity Credit Union. Scott's relationship driven approach has led to financial and member satisfaction success.


Del Provost - honorarium made by Members Cooperative Credit Union - Prevost begin his career as President & CEO of Members Cooperative Credit Union in 1991 until his retirement in 2007. Prevost served on the Network’s Board of Directors from 1998 to 2003, serving as Chairman from 2002 to 2003.  Additionally, Prevost served on the Network’s Political Involvement Committee and was instrumental in the passage of the modernization of the State Credit Union Act. Actively involved in the community, officiated football games at the high school and collegiate level for 25 years.


MaryJean Lidstone- honorarium made by CUNA Mutual Group – For more than 41 year, MaryJean stared every day looking for ways to make credit unions more successful. Her dedication and focus forwarded credit unions in Minnesota and beyond as she connected the dots and marshaled resources to help credit unions better serve their members. Her passion and commitment will continue to have a lasting impact.


In total, 45 individuals have been designated as Credit Union Builders over the past nine years. The names of the recipients and the contributing credit unions are permanently displayed in the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s lobby as a tribute to those who have dedicated time and energy to building the credit union movement.


Donors are also listed in the Foundation's annual report and on the donor page online. The honorees (or their families, in the case of a memoriam contribution) also receive recognition from the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation.


A minimum $1,000 contribution is required for the Credit Union Builder Award. Contributions can be made online. For more information, contact Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Andrea Molnau by email or by phone at 651-288-5527.


Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034