Recent Award Winners

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Congratulations to the winners of our 2013 Recognition Awards!

Credit Union Recognition Award Winners
Outstanding Young Professional
Outstanding Professionals
Outstanding Volunteers
Hall of Fame Inductee

Credit Union Recognition Awards
Presented June 15, 2013

Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award
First Place Winners:

  • Clarence Community & Schools FCU (less than $50 million in assets)
  • CORE FCU ($50-$150 million in assets)
  • Teachers FCU (more than $500 million in assets)

Honorable Mention:

  • Buffalo Metropolitan FCU ($50 million-$150 million in assets)

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award
First Place winners:

  • Clarence Community & Schools FCU ($5-$20 million in assets)
  • Horizons FCU ($50-$100 million in assets)
  • CFCU Community CU (more than $500 million in assets)

Second Place Winners:

  • Community Resource FCU ($50-$100 million in assets)
  • Visions FCU (more than $500 million in assets)

Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award
First Place Winners:

  • Clarence Community & Schools FCU (less than $50 million in assets)
  • Visions FCU (more than $250 million in assets)

Individual Recognition Awards
Presented June 15, 2013

2013 Outstanding Young Professional
Lisa Totaro, Sunmark FCU

Lisa Totaro began her credit union career with Sunmark FCU five years ago, and she has already distinguished herself as an outstanding young professional at the local, state and national levels. At her credit union, Lisa has overseen an award-winning broadcast campaign, a new member referral program and a marketing initiative to reach young adults. In the past two years, she has also spearheaded the marketing efforts for several new and updated products.

As a charter member and chair of the Association’s Young Professionals Commission, Lisa has helped develop and grow a thriving, statewide young professionals network in New York. She has also helped other states establish similar networks and recently became more involved with the Cooperative Trust, a national grassroots group dedicated to young credit union professionals.

Last April, Lisa was one of 12 young executives named a "Trailblazer 40 Below" by the Credit Union Times. She is a true advocate for her credit union, the Association and young professionals nationwide.

2013 Outstanding Professionals
Marsha Brauer, Clarence Community & Schools FCU (less than $50 million in assets)

Marsha Brauer began her credit union career in 1986. Today, as manager and CEO of Clarence Community & Schools FCU, she truly exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding credit union professional.

Under her leadership, Clarence Community & Schools FCU made tremendous strides in 2012. The credit union was approved by NCUA for a charter expansion and introduced several new products and services for members. They were selected for numerous state and national awards, including the Association's Dora Maxwell and Louise Herring awards and the Foundation's Desjardins Award. And earlier this year, the credit union was named Business of the Year by the Clarence Chamber of Commerce.

As part of her commitment to youth financial education, Marsha initiated youth savings programs in every Clarence area school and was named co-chairman of the Academy of Finance program at Clarence High School. She also contributed to the larger credit union movement, helping to lead the Buffalo Chapter as a council member.

William E. Carhart, Oswego County FCU ($50-250 million in assets)
Bill Carhart became CEO of Oswego County FCU in 2004 and has led the credit union through an exciting period of growth. Despite economic challenges, Oswego County FCU has grown from $20 million in assets to more than $50 million in assets and added 3,500 new members, two new branches and several new employees.

Under Bill's leadership, Oswego County FCU is one of the most highly ranked credit unions in its asset category for loan growth, membership growth, ROA and share growth. This success is a direct result of the many new products and services Bill has introduced at the credit union. Oswego County FCU was also selected as a two-time finalist for Small Business of the Year by the Oswego Chamber of Commerce and was recently featured on ABC's Good Morning America for providing a financial makeover to a local family in need.

Through it all, Bill has made sure that the staff at Oswego County FCU continue to exemplify the motto of "Our members are like family" by bringing a personal touch to everything they do.

Lisa Whitaker, CFCU Community CU (more than $250 million in assets)
Lisa Whitaker stepped in as president and CEO of CFCU Community CU in February 2011, and the credit union has experienced an exciting transformation under her leadership. Last year, she led the credit union through a new strategic planning initiative. She has also been the driving force behind the credit union's new culture of giving back to the communities it serves.

Thanks to a core system conversion led by Lisa, CFCU Community CU is now offering members new solutions like e-deposits and home banking, as well as several lending enhancements to help them realize their financial goals. Lisa has also empowered her staff by supporting a new Employee Orientation program, making positive changes in employee benefits and offering new technologies to promote cooperation and efficiency.

Under Lisa's leadership, CFCU Community CU has also become an active participant at the chapter, state and national levels of the credit union movement.

2013 Outstanding Volunteers
Donald Bruning, Great Erie FCU (Tie Winner, $50-250 million in assets)

Donald Bruning began his volunteer service at Great Erie FCU (formerly Orchard Park Central School FCU) in 1974, when he became a supervisory committee member. He was later elected to the credit union's board of directors and then became the board president in 1991. Throughout his tenure, he has been a true ambassador for credit unions in the Orchard Park community.

Under Donald's leadership, Great Erie FCU has expanded its facilities four times. According to his peers, Donald never misses a meeting-even if it means rearranging his personal appointments and vacations. But his greatest quality and contribution to Great Erie FCU is his ability to see the big picture. Donald has strengthened his credit union by identifying, recruiting and supporting highly accomplished staff and attracting a diverse, committed group of volunteers to serve the credit union.

Under his visionary leadership, Great Erie FCU has grown from $1.2 million in assets to $66 million and is recognized as one of the top credit unions in Western New York.

Don Briner, Hudson River Community CU (Tie Winner, $50-250 million in assets)
Don Briner has served Hudson River Community CU as a volunteer for the past 49 years. He joined the board of directors in 1971, when the credit union had $2.1 million in assets and 2,015 members.

In 1998, he became the board president and immediately focused on expanding membership access in the Capital/Saratoga region. After successfully converting from a SEG-based charter to a community charter, Hudson River Community CU has grown to more than $175 million in assets and now serves more than 20,000 members.

Don retired from the board of directors in 2010, but he continues to offer guidance and insights as an associate board member. After almost 50 years of dedication and leadership, he truly understands the value that credit unions bring to their communities.

Ann S. Tyler, AmeriCU Credit Union (More than $250 million in assets)
Ann Tyler has served AmeriCU Credit Union since it was founded in 1962. She has played a significant role in helping the credit union grow to more than $1 billion in assets, and she has worked tirelessly for the interests and betterment of the credit union's 121,000+ members.

As chairman of the board of directors, Ann oversees board governance and the strategic direction of the credit union. She was instrumental in the AmeriCU's adoption of policy governance, helping the credit union to stay the course over a five-year period of intense training.

Ann also represents AmeriCU at industry and community events and is involved with many area charitable causes. Her dedication and perseverance have benefitted her credit union, her community and the entire credit union movement.

2013 New York Credit Union Hall of Fame
John Felton, Southern Chautauqua FCU

John Felton literally grew up in his credit union. His parents ran Southern Chautauqua FCU (then called Supervisory School District #2 FCU) right out of their family home in a small, rural county of Western New York.

In the late 1980s, John left his career as a chef to help his mother run the credit union. Under his leadership, Southern Chautauqua FCU has grown from approximately 500 members and $100,000 in assets to more than 10,000 members and nearly $60 million in assets. Callahan and Associates recognized it as the fastest-growing credit union in New York State during 2011 and 2012.

As CEO, John has championed many new products and services to help families raise their standard of living. One of his greatest accomplishments is the Kid's Credit Union Program, which he created to help local students save more than $10,000 before graduation. The program now covers six school districts and provides more than 1,000 children with monthly financial literacy lessons.

John was also instrumental in helping his credit union receive a CDFI designation, and he has built many community relationships to bring financial services to those who need them most. He is extremely active with the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program and has worked with the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation to make car loans available to those who might not normally qualify. Under John's leadership, no part of the community is overlooked by Southern Chautauqua FCU. In fact, one of the credit union's new, rural branches includes a hitching rail to accommodate the area's thriving Amish population.

John's dedication also extends beyond the credit union and his local community. He served as a chapter president for the Credit Union Association of New York for 15 years, and he has organized several fundraising and awareness initiatives to benefit credit union political action.

John's leadership, accomplishments and contributions to the credit union community make him a truly deserving member of the New York Credit Union Hall of Fame.