March Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we highlight the March anniversary employees, who always put a spring in our step.

If you missed it, earlier this month we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our CFO David Merrell. Read more about David here.

Norm Dufton – 8 years
What is your current position?
My position is VP of Consumer Lending. I supervise the administration of car loans, credit cards, lines of credit, underwriting, and all administrative tasks. I work with dealers, underwriters, and the Leadership Team to get our direction and make it happen! One of the great things about Wauna Credit Union is we look for ways to make loans happen, instead of trying to find reasons to not fund people. Most recently I have been working with a lot of our front line staff to help them learn about lending and sales. Really many of the things I am teaching are for personal as well as professional development.

Norm chess. Not a link
Norm playing chess in Times Square against a hustler. He won.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?

Norm with Bigfoot not a link
Norm sizing up the competition

Prior to moving to the coast to work, I lived in urban areas all of my life. Living and playing in a rural area has taught me a lot about diversity. When I work with people that own farms, or earn extra money by fishing or are married to a logger I get a better feel for how many people live. My mind expands.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 

I would like to fish in Alaska. I have learned since I moved here how untouched many of the areas are in relation to where we live today.

Amanda Wehrley-Hazen – 1 year

What is your current position?
I started out as an Ops Support Clerk and transferred to EFT Clerk when the position became available. As the EFT Clerk, I process all of our ACH (Automatic Clearing House) files, Share Draft Files, Mobile Deposits, Returned Check Processing, Domestic Wire Set Up and International Wire review and approval, as well as ACH Form set up. I am also one of the responders to the Ops Support hotline.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Being a member of the Wauna team has taught me a truer meaning of teamwork. As a natural Supporter personality type I really enjoy being involved in a working team atmosphere. I feel like I have learned so much about myself over the last year in regards to our TMA training and communicating and responding to not only internal and external members, but to my daughter and son. (I even recognize that my dogs have different personality types and try to communicate with them accordingly).

Street scene, not a link
Amanda loves to spend time behind the camera

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
I don’t think I would choose a new hobby. Instead, I would focus on photography. I used to take pictures daily in my other work, but I have never had the spare time to actually study photography and take the time to learn all about every aspect of what, for instance, all the settings on a camera can do for the artistic presence of a portrait. So I would take a class, actually read my instruction book for my camera, and spend my weekends travelling to take nature photos.

Nichole Klopp – 1 year

What is your current position?
I am a Communication Center Member Consultant in the WCU Virtual Branch in Astoria. My primary role is to assist members over the phone and create ‘WOW’ moments. Daily I use Wauna’s core values along with TMA, a program we all use to make sure we are always assisting our members.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna Credit Union, I have been given access to this amazing program called TMA (The Member Advantage). TMA has helped me develop not only at Wauna or my second job at the theatre (free movies are an amazing bonus), but also with my personal life. We all have different ways we like to communicate, and TMA teaches you how to identify and effectively communicate with different behavior styles.

Nichole taking a selfie. Not a link
Nichole never forgets to take the time to enjoy our region

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
A hobby I will hopefully take on will be to rebuild a gas motor. I would love to finally get my 98 Civic running again.

Nik Nurkowski – 1 year

What is your current position?
I’m a Virtual Teller operating our Interactive Teller Machines (ITM). The ITMs are a pioneering technological venue for Wauna. I offer the same services as a teller, although we call them Member Consultants, but through a video screen at a drive-up or kiosk machine that looks identical to an ATM. In fact, they work as ATMs as well. It’s quite a delight and very exciting to be operating on the cutting edge of our modernization as a credit union, and it’s truly wondrous to see young and not-as-young experience the future.

Picture of Nik. Not a link.
Nik partaking in an adventure on the beach

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here I’ve learned a tremendous amount about credit and financial systems as a whole. Which has been quite a boon to me as I was always raised with a fear of credit cards and debt. At WCU, I’ve learned that too much debt is certainly important to avoid; but building ones credit worthiness through sound financial practices isn’t as daunting. This understanding is now providing me the blueprint to better my family’s financial security and achieve goals we previously thought unattainable.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
Would that I had no other responsibilities, I’d launch myself into a trade very near and dear to my heart; I’d build a smithy. I’ve loved blacksmithing and metalworking all my life, and was allowed to practice the craft through some of my high school years. I’d delight in being able to pick up the hammer once more and forge steel in earnest.

Sarah Bilyeu – 1 year

What is your current position?
I work at the Communications Center as a virtual teller on our new Interactive Teller Machine s (ITMs). I do transactions for our lovely members when they drive up in Clatskanie and Long Beach, and soon other branches as well. Now that people are getting used to us it is a delight to have the opportunity to build rapport and see their happy faces daily. I am also trained to be in our call center and assist members over the phones as well.

Sarah and her kids not a link
Sarah loves spending time with her family

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I’ve learned a lot so far here at WFCU but something that I’m very happy to have learned so much about is loans, how credit works, and how all of that plays a part in building a person’s thriving financial well-being. Its helped me become a lot less fearful of my own personal credit choices and opportunities and also gave me confidence in helping members out with their best options here.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
If I could choose any hobby at all with money not being a factor I would love to just travel all over the world and discover beautiful places with my family and learn all about different cultures.

Others

  • Janice Hanes – 13 Years

Celebrating a Decade of Excellence – CFO David Merrell Anniversary

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Wauna Credit Union’s CFO David Merrell. David is part of our leadership quintet, and is a key driver of all our success. While the work of the CFO mostly happens behind the scenes, we couldn’t do what we do without him. It’s David that really figures out how we can best manage our money and products to offer our members the absolute best solutions for their finances.

Our CEO Robert Blumberg said it best:
“David’s knowledge in economics and strategic initiatives is top-notch. He is committed to the financial well-being of Wauna Credit Union and we would not be as financially sound without him as a part of the management team.”

David grew up in a rural community (Moses Lake, WA) on 160 acres, which helps him understand our members wants and needs. While he originally started out with a huge corporation (Shell Oil) before moving on to a big bank, the idea of serving members, instead of shareholders, brought him to WCU.

There are a lot of ways to honor David, but we thought the best way was to re-post a speech he gave to our scholarship recipients last year. David has always valued education. He made sure his own children completed their studies, and always takes an interest in all of WCU’s education-focused activities.

When you look at who you are and what you do and what you’re intending to do is that you’re in position to contribute more. Not just that you hopefully make more money and do it that way, but you should be, you can be leaders. Leaders in just influencing people if that’s all it is.

We spend a lot of time trying to learn how to do well in our organization, how to create better organizations. Now you of course are geared towards that. You have a better ability to learn and you can contribute. I think that one of the best talks I’ve heard, some at the beginning of the school year addressing the student body, was will you lead. And that is so important today in society. Will you lead? Will you lead in the good? And we’re not just talking about in your environment. Will you lead in helping others to be better people and have the opportunity? And that’s one of the things that you get, a better opportunity as you go through and get better educated, a continuing education.

As we talk about ways to be better leaders now, I was listening to those talks on that as we go back and hear it again and they’re referencing books I read in high school. They had an impact. They’ve always impacted me. We’ve got engineering. We’ve got biology, science, kinesiology. Those are all good. The biggest impact in going to college is broadening of your knowledge.

-David Merrell Wauna Credit Union CFO June 14, 2017 to Wauna Credit Union scholarship recipients

Thanks for the 10 great years Mr. Merrell. Here’s to 10 more.

 

 

February Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we show the love to our February anniversary celebrants.

Paige hiking
Paige and JJ enjoy getting out and about

Paige Tischer – 6 years
What is your current position?
I’m a Real Estate Loan Officer out of the Astoria branch. Home buying is a big step for our members. I really take pride in helping our community and finding ways to get our members the financing they need to get their new home.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna has taught me so many lessons. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that the harder you work, the more you will be able to do, and the better you’ll be able to do your job. I started off working as a teller and as I’ve increased my knowledge about our products, I’ve been able to increase my responsibilities.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
If I could choose any hobby it would be to learn how to fly a plane, hands down. I’d travel to new places I haven’t been and eat food I haven’t tried. 

 

Amber Seely  – 3 years

What is your current position?
I am an MC at the St. Helens branch.  I get to assist our members with all their daily transactions, and help them find ways to make their financial situation easier and ultimately better, whether that’s through one of our great products, or simply by working with them to help.

Amber celebrates after completing the Superhero Half Marathon
Amber celebrates after completing the Superhero Half Marathon

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here has taught me how to manage my own money better.  I’ve learned how to build credit in a way that that makes my budget easier to manage. One of the things that separates us from a bank is our commitment to helping our members with their finances. I always recommend our great financial education tools to our members because I know how much they helped me.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
I would love to travel more! I recently went to Disneyland with my daughter and husband. Seeing her eyes light up at all the new things she was seeing, made me remember how much I like seeing new things too!

 

Others

  • Mike McTague – 4 Years
  • Karissa Temple – 4 Years
  • Christina Sickler – 2 Years
  • Kira Zavortink – 2 Years

November Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is growing fast (if you want to join us check out our careers page). The main reason for that is the great service our amazing employees provide our members. Employees celebrating anniversaries this month like to get out and about, and explore their world.

Brianna Malcolm – 11 years
What is your current position?
I am a Communication Center Representative III in the WCU Communication Center. The Communication Center serves as a virtual branch. We answer all of the phone calls for seven branches and help our members who call with any of their financial needs. Even though we don’t see the people we help, we have our regular members who we recognize by voice. It’s great to help members from all over.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
That happens every year. It’s being able to get together with everyone from all of our branches. Since we only talk to everyone on the phone I love getting together with everyone for training, Christmas parties or anything else we get together for. We are at work more than we are at home so everyone is considered our Wauna Work Family.

Picture of Brianna playing cornhole
Brianna is cornhole champion. Read the story at http://www.oregonlive.com/forest-grove/index.ssf/2014/06/brianna_malcolm_crowned_winner.html

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
My favorite thing to do outside of work is spend time with my family. We have a four-year-old daughter who is absolutely amazing and I love watching her grow and learn! We love to go camping and spending time outdoors.

Michael Woods – 6 Years
What is your current position?
I am a mortgage member consultant. I usually work out of our Mortgage Origination Office in Long Beach, but I am currently filling in working with our Warrenton members.

Michael in a helicopter
Michael gets ready to see Las Vegas from the air

What is your favorite WCU memory?
One of my favorite memories was when I was a member of the Lending Admin team. I helped a member get a loan. I was just doing what I felt was right, but he was so appreciative, and to this day he always thanks me, and shakes my hand, no matter where we are, or who we are with. It’s actually what inspired me to join the Mortgage Team. Just to think I could impact somebody’s life so much really gives my work purpose. You’re forever linked to your members, because you helped them get their home. It’s a great feeling, and one that I get to experience over and over.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I am not at work, I like to spend time with my almost three-year-old daughter. It’s amazing to watch her grow up. I also enjoy playing cards, and watching sports. I am a die-hard New York Yankee and Dallas Cowboys fan. (Editor’s note, the views of our employees on the November Anniversary Post do not represent the views of the credit union. We cannot condone rooting for these two teams.)

Alex Peck– 4 Years
What is your current position?
I am an MC in the St. Helens branch.  I really enjoy my job.  I have grown fond of the relationships that I’ve formed with my members. It is great to see a member you’ve developed a friendship with over the years walk in the door.

Alex in a cable car
Alex loves to travel all over the west coast

What is your favorite WCU memory?
I loved the opportunity to volunteer a couple of years ago for the Columbia Humane Society Denim and Diamonds fundraiser.  Wauna was sponsoring the Humane Society that year.   The team I was on got to stage the event in the pavilion at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
I love to travel and explore the Pacific Northwest.  Whether it be a quick trip out to the coast or a road trip up to Seattle or head south to Northern California.

Mark Crandall – 2 Years
What is your current position?
I’m a mortgage loan specialist. My job is to assist members with all of their home mortgage needs. It can be anything to helping a member purchase their first home, borrowing equity to do home improvements or lowering their payments to improve their cash flow.

Mark standing next to a tree he hit is golf ball into
We’ll call this a trick shot

What is your favorite WCU memory?
My favorite memory is helping a couple purchase their dream home on the Columbia River. They had a challenge with another lender before they came to us for help. We were able to work together and come up with a solution to get them qualified and make their dream a reality.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
If I am not at work, I am with my wife. We enjoy spending time with our family, horseback riding and landscaping.

Jeremy Grover – 2 Years
What is your current position?
I currently am a Training Specialist II at our wonderful Learning Center in Westport.  I assist new hires to learn our mission and vision statements and explain how they impact everything we do. I also help current internal members learn our lending philosophies that help all to build their financial well-being. Continued training helps make our credit union the finest to not only work at, but to do business with.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
My favorite memory doesn’t come from being an employee, but from being a member. I grew up in Clatskanie and my parents had been members for as long as I can remember. When I turned 18, I had big plans to purchase my dream car from my parents (1969 Dodge Charger R/T). To my surprise, I wasn’t laughed at or criticized for my non practical choice in a first car,

Jeremy's Car
The car that started it all

but shown respect and dignity and soon after I was cruising Clatskanie with the car of my dreams!  That experience has stuck with me and has shown me the importance of treating people with respect and never judge a book by its cover and has lead me down a long history of lending with Wauna and encouraged me to apply so I could have that same impact on other members that may be starting out like I did so many years ago.  Two Goals met, I have a great career with Wauna and I still have my dream car.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?

Jeremy with his family
Jeremy loves to spend time with family

Anything that involves spending time with my family.  My Dad taught me the importance of taking time to just hang out and enjoy every experience that your wife and children get to enjoy together.   I have never heard anyone say “I wish I didn’t spend all that time with my family”

Others

  • Teressa Wemmer –  11 Years