Best of Northwest Credit Union Movement Honored at NWCUA Summit Awards Program


October 10, 2013

Lynn Heider
Vice President/Public Relations & Communications
502.358.0773 (mobile)

Best of Northwest Credit Union Movement Honored at NWCUA Summit Awards Program

Advocacy, CUNA, Chapter and Professional Leadership Celebrated

PORTLAND, ORE.—Thirty-five awards were presented to credit unions, professionals and volunteer advocates at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Summit Awards gala in Portland October 9th. The Summit Awards event closed the NWCUA’s Amplify Convention.

NWCUA President/CEO Troy Stang and Chief Operations Officer Denise Gabel jointly emceed the lively celebration.

The Summit Awards program honors credit unions and leaders who see the top of the mountain and lead others to it in order to advance the credit union movement, Stang told attendees.

Hundreds of Amplify Convention attendees watched as the awards were presented on the “night of nights” in the Northwest movement.

Summit Professional Awards:

  • Young Credit Union Professional of the Year: Jill Nowacki, Maps Credit Union, Salem, Oregon. Nowacki, Vice President of Development, was recognized for outstanding advocacy, marketing, strategic communications and community outreach.
  • Innovation and Impact: Rick Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union, Corvallis, Oregon. Hein is a nationally recognized advocate who created an innovative program that matched staff political fund contributions with a donation to Credit Unions for Kids. Hein also leads mentoring programs for 140 young adults, and clears the decks for his staff to reach thousands of students and adults annually, through financial education outreach.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Rick Brandsma, CEO, Sound Credit Union, Tacoma, Washington. Brandsma oversaw 14 successful mergers at his credit union as it became a 21-branch operation with over $1 billion in assets.

Awards recognizing credit unions’ financial education, social responsibility and philosophy-in-action were minted after the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) awards program and were presented to eight credit unions including:

  • Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award (First Place): Maps Credit Union
  • Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award (First Place): Solarity Credit Union
  • Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award (First Place): Unitus Community Credit Union
  • Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award (Honorable Mention): Solarity Credit Union
  • Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award (First Place): BECU, Fibre Federal Credit Union, North Coast Credit Union, Maps Credit Union, Mid Oregon Credit Union, Unitus Community Credit Union
  • Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award: (Second Place) Oregon Community Credit Union
  • Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award (Honorable Mention): Solarity Credit Union

Advocacy Awards:

Top of the Hill awards were presented to eleven credit unions for continuing to escalate their participation raising funds, electing champions and answering calls to action. Those credit unions are: Advantis Credit Union, Oregon Community Credit Union, OSU Federal Credit Union, Pacific NW Federal Credit Union, Peninsula Community Credit Union, Rivermark Community Credit Union, Solarity Credit Union, Sound Credit Union, STCU, St. Helens Community Credit Union and United Health Services Credit Union.

In addition, two CEOs were recognized for exemplary advocacy service. Winning the Washington Professional Advocate of the Year was Fibre Federal’s Larry Hoff. St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union’s Brooke Van Vleet was celebrated as Oregon’s Professional Advocate of the Year.

Jake Jensen, Advantis Credit Union’s Board Chair, was honored as Oregon’s Volunteer Advocate of the Year, while Sadie Hawkins of Our Community Credit Union, took home the Washington Volunteer honors.

Chapter Excellence Awards:

Five banners were presented for outstanding Chapter performance including: 

  • Leadership: Central Oregon Chapter
  • Education: Southeast Washington Chapter
  • Advocacy: Pierce County Chapter
  • Philosophy in Action: Southwest Washington Chapter
  • Overall Best Practices: Capitol Chapter

Photographs from the Summit Awards program are available on the NWCUA Facebook page, and further details are provided in the Anthem newsletter.


The Northwest Credit Union Association is the not-for-profit trade association serving 164 of Oregon and Washington’s credit unions and their 4.4 million members. The NWCUA is the voice of the Northwest credit union movement, providing legislative, regulatory and public advocacy in addition to education, compliance, networking support and business solutions to its members. For information on how to join a credit union, please visit

Download a copy of the news release.

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