Surprises, Suspense, and Connectivity Dominate 2016 MAXX Awards

The 2016 MAXX Convention finished with a flourish as the year’s Northwest credit unions’ top professionals were celebrated during the MAXX Awards and Gala. The evening was peppered with surprises, spotlights on passionate advocates, emotional tributes and celebration of outstanding chapter and CUNA Award winners.

The night kicked off with dinner, followed by a dozen Top of the Hill award winning credit unions taking the stage, honored for federal avocacy efforts.

Oregon Advocate of the Year

Rivermark President & CEO Scott Burgess embraces his daughter, Sadie, after her surprise appearence for his Oregon Advocate of the Year Award win.

Emcees Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO; and Denise Gabel, COO; stayed on the advocacy theme by recognizing Oregon’s top credit union advocate, Rivermark Community Credit Union President and CEO, Scott Burgess.

Gabel introduced a video featuring Rivermark colleagues, along with State Rep. Tobias Read, sharing their congratulations and warm regards.

As he made his way to the stage, Burgess was emotionally struck by a surprise visit from his daughter, Sadie, and Steve Lucas, Rivermark Board Chair, joining him onstage.

A large contingent of Rivermark leadership and staff in the audience joined with the rest of the attendees in a standing ovation.

Washington Advocate of the Year

Terry Belcoe’s daugher, Amber Nishida, and friend Clark Butler, (center) accepted the Washington Advocate of the Year Award on Terry’s behalf.

The dinner paid an emotional tribute to the late Terry Belcoe, former President and CEO of Bellingham, Washington based North Coast Credit Union. Belcoe was selected as the Washington Credit Union Advocate of the Year, but passed away from cancer September 23—less than three weeks before the honor could be presented.

Belcoe lived his entire life in the Bellingham area and had close ties to community organizations. He was known for forging partnerships to improve the community and raise Credit Union Movement awareness. For decades he mentored credit union employees to understand and overcome their fears of advocacy.

Young Credit Union Professional

Michael Murdoch accepts the Young Credit Union Professional Award as NWCUA President & CEO Troy Stang looks on.

The surprises kept rolling as the evening continued. Folllowing the CUNA Awards presentations, Rachel Pross, 2015 Young Credit Union Professional Award winner took the stage to help introduce the video announcement for this year’s winner.

As the video played, the realization sunk in for winner Michael Murdoch, Marketing Specialist at NW Priority Credit Union, and was confirmed when his family greeted him onstage to accept the award.

“I believe in credit unions, and would not be here without the support of NW Priority and my family,” he said. “I am humbled and blown away.”

Murdoch has increased his credit union’s involvement with Credit Unions for Kids, managed social media for the credit union and represented the credit union in community service with a diverse group of local nonprofits.

Innovation and Impact

Point West CEO Amy Nelson embraces her son, one of her surprise guests on hand for her Innovation and Impact Award win.

Amy Nelson, CEO of Portland-based Point West Credit Union, received the Innovation & Impact Award for her work guiding the credit union through harsh economic times and helping it serve its diverse and underserved population.

The credit union recently received Juntos Avanzamos designation for service to Hispanic and immigrant consumers. Nelson was recently appointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national Credit Union Advisory Council.

Her honor was also a surprise that brought her to tears.

“I’m so glad I wore water-proof mascara,” she told the audience. “My babies are here—all three of them,” she said referring to her surprise delegation of her husband and two children.

“I tell my kids to use your powers for good,” she said, noting the Credit Union Movement “has incredible powers” to change communities.

Lifetime Achievement

Larry Hoff embraces 2015 winner Pat Smith after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

For lifelong service to credit unions and the Credit Union Movement, NWCUA honored Larry Hoff, CEO of Fibre Federal Credit Union in Longview, WA, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Before joining Fibre, Hoff worked at Columbia Community Credit Union and Electra Credit Union, now Advantis in the Portland metropolitan area.

He is also known for his tireless advocacy work, and for being an early and constant supporter of Credit Unions for Kids since it was founded in the Northwest in 1986.

Hoff was nominated for the honors by dozens of industry colleagues. He was surprised when his wife, Renee and son Tracy appeared on stage to help announce the honor. He called his family, “the heart and soul of me.”

“I learned a long time ago that you don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room, but you do have to hire them,” said a humbled Hoff.

“Larry Hoff’s business success and long tenure serving credit unions and their members in the Northwest is only part of the reason he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO. “Larry’s dedication to the community, in particular Credit Unions for Kids and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, have been a hallmark of his career.”

NWCUA also presented the following credit unions with regional CUNA awards:

Desjardins Financial Education Awards

SnoCope Credit Union—Everett, Washington, Financial Wellness Program

Maps Credit Union—Salem, Oregon, financial education workshops

BECU—Tukwila, Washington, Junior Achievement Community Day

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Awards

SnoCope Credit Union–Everett, Washington, Wenatchee Fire Relief Fund & The Snohomish County Employees’ Fire Relief Fund

Mid Oregon Credit Union—Bend, Oregon, partnership with Junior Achievement Central Oregon

Maps Credit Union—Salem, Oregon, partnership with HOME Youth & Resource Center

Solarity Credit Union—Yakima, Washington, Employee Community Partner

Oregon Community Credit Union—Eugene, Oregon, Volunteer Day

BECU—Tukwila, Washington, Closing for Good

Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Awards

Point West Credit Union—Portland, Oregon, non-citizen lending program

Solarity Credit Union—Yakima, Washington, Member Experience Surveys

BECU—Tukwila, Washington, Member Summit

All Northwest CUNA Awards have progressed to the National CUNA Awards program for judging.

Northwest credit union chapters were also recognized in the following categories:

Leadership—Mt. Hood Chapter

Education—King County Chapter

Advocacy—Spokane Chapter

Philosophy in Action—Evergreen Chapter

LEAP—Spokane Chapter

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222,

Posted in Article Post, Awards, CUNA, MAXX Annual Convention, NWCUA.