MADISON, Wis. (8/24/12)--Rick Craig, president/CEO of America First FCU, Ogden, Utah, has been named winner of the 2013 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement, announced the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Thursday.
"No matter if it's teaching at Western CUNA Management School (WCMS), fighting for credit unions in the Utah State Legislature or Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., or serving on countless local, state or national organizations that make a difference, Rick is there in full force," said Bob Schumacher, NCUA Awards & Recognition Committee chairman.
Craig became executive vice president at the credit union in 1977 and was appointed president/CEO in 1997. During his watch, the credit union achieved $5.4 billion in assets, 575,000 members and 100 branches, said James D. Likens, president/CEO of WCMS.
He served for many years on the Utah Credit Union Association (UCUA) board and was appointed by the state's governor as a member of the Board of Credit Union Advisors. He also was active in national organizations, including serving on the Filene Research Council, as a board member of CO-OP Financial Services, and on Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Committee on AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide Task Force as well as CUNA's Governmental Affairs Field of Membership Committee.
Through multiple lawsuits and legislative attacks, America First FCU modeled a form of public and governmental advocacy that many in the industry would follow. In 2007, trade press named it as having the most "Outstanding Political Action" program in the nation.
"One of the most visible actions Rick took on behalf of credit unions was the fight with the Utah bankers who were aggressively attacking the credit union tax exemption," said Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. "These efforts increased the awareness that being actively engaged in the political and legislative arena was important for all credit unions."
U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) noted that "not only has his credit union supported candidates that support credit unions--especially through member advocacy--but Rick has also made exemplary strides in activating his membership. By gathering a group of member-advocates, he has created a political group of 'minutemen' who can rally on behalf of the credit union at a moment's notice."
"I often say that the world is run by people who show up, and Rick has taught many credit union members to show up and get involved in their government," said the congressman.
Craig also served on WCMS faculty for 31 years until retiring in July.
"When I think of an individual that has dedicated his lifetime to not only his job but also an ideal, I think of Rick Craig," said Scott Simpson, UCUA president/CEO.
Three Wegner awards will be presented at a special dinner hosted by NCUD on Feb. 25, during CUNA's 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.