Gary Oakland to Join Ranks of JA Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame

Gary Oakland, the long-time president and CEO of BECU, will be inducted into the Junior Achievement (JA) Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame next month in honor of his “lasting impact on the region’s business and society.”

After a 30-year career that saw him guide BECU as it grew from a SEG-based credit union with less than $200 million in assets to the fourth-largest credit union in the nation that counts one in 10 Washington residents as a member, Oakland retired last summer, handing the reins to new President and CEO Benson Porter.

Oakland will officially join the more than 100 laureates inducted locally since 1987 at a dinner gala at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott on March 21, an annual induction event that also celebrates the continuing success of Junior Achievement in improving the quality of young people’s lives by sharing the opportunities of free enterprise.

According to Joanne Kahl, senior vice president of marketing and development for Junior Achievement of Washington, Oakland is one of very few inductees to be honored so soon after his retirement—a reflection of Oakland’s commitment to financial literacy and his myriad accomplishments as a leader in the credit union movement.

“We are all very excited about Gary’s selection,” Kahl said, “because he truly is a hero to this region’s youth and a champion of the credit union movement.”

The nominees were selected by an independent committee chaired by Puget Sound Business Journal Publisher Gordon Prouty. Joining Oakland as 2013 laureates are: Bill Ayer, who headed the dynamic leadership team that grew Alaska Airlines/Horizon Airlines to a legendary national and international carrier; Tom Cable and Woody Howse, pioneers in Seattle’s venture capital community who shaped the city’s bio-tech industry; and Mike Flynn, who transformed the Small Business Weekly into a regional leader for business news and connections.

Tickets for the March 21 dinner event, which begins with a reception at 6 p.m., cost $325 for individuals or $2500 for a table of eight. BECU and the Boeing Company are among the dinner events major sponsors, which will feature Jeff Hansberry, president of channel development for Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee, as chair and Q13Fox News Anchor Marni Hughes as the emcee.

An exclusive Laureate VIP Reception will be held at 5:15 pm at the World Trade Center Seattle, the home of the permanent Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame Laureate Exhibit.

All proceeds from the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame benefit Washington’s 100,000 Kindergarten through 12th-grade students taking part in Junior Achievement’s programs this year. Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization with a mission of inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy.

“Credit unions and Junior Achievement have a long history of partnering to provide financial literacy programs to our youth,” said Kahl. A significant credit union presence at the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame dinner would, she said, “demonstrate the importance of teaching financial literacy. But more importantly, they will be paying tribute to a leader in the industry via the highest business honor that is bestowed in the Greater Puget Sound region. It is a huge celebration of not only Gary’s accomplishments, but a celebration of the advancements of credit unions as a whole.”


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Posted in Business Solutions, Industry Insight, Strategic Link.