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Community First receives Corporate Citizen/Leadership award

Four CFCU business members also recognized by Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Community First Credit Union – along with four of our business members – were recognized June 12 at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry Business Awards 2013 luncheon.

Community First Credit Union was honored with the Corporate Citizen/Leadership award for 2013 by Fox Cities chamber officials.

“Community First is built on a philosophy of people helping people,” said Amanda Secor, CFCU senior vice president of marketing/public relations, who accepted the award June 12 at the chamber’s 2013 Business Awards luncheon. “That philosophy is at the heart of everything we do – from providing a financial cooperative structure where our members help one another achieve their goals to making a difference in the communities where our members live and work.”

Four businesses that are Community First member/owners were also recognized: Gardan Manufacturing Services, Hortonville, 2013 Business of the Year/Manufacturing; Cypress Benefit Administrators, Grand Chute, 2013 Business of the Year/Service; The Chiropractic Advantage, Appleton, Rising Star/Service; and, Fox Valley Technical College, Grand Chute, 2013 Company Innovation.

Secor noted that under the leadership, guidance and role-modeling of president/CEO Cathie Tierney, Community First employees are “inspired and encouraged to find ways to make a difference in our communities.” Last year, CFCU employees devoted more than 11,000 volunteer hours to a wide variety of community causes, helped fill hundreds of volunteer roles during the Fox Cities Marathon weekend and shared their time and talents with churches, schools and other organizations that collectively work to make our communities stronger and enhance our quality of life.

“We thank the chamber for this recognition and share it with our staff, membership and our community who inspire and help us to live our name and the ‘people helping people’ philosophy every day,” Secor said.

2013 Business of the Year/Manufacturing

Gardan Inc. was organized in Hortonville in 1988 by brother in laws Gary Vandenberg and Dan Verbeten as a means for local area manufacturing companies to offload some of the indirect activities related to manufacturing products while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. It has since grown into Wisconsin’s leading contract assembly and packaging company, offering innovative assembly, packaging, inventory management and fulfillment solutions.

“Some of the activities included hardware kitting, service parts packaging, fulfillment and light assembly,” Dan said. “While many of these operations were considered secondary operations, we put a primary focus on quality, delivery and customer service.”

Thanks to expansions by some large area manufacturers, Gardan’s business continued to grow and evolve into a high level of manufacturing assembly services, including wire processing capabilities. It currently has 57 employees, mostly at the headquarters and main production facility in Hortonville along with six employees at a satellite facility in Brillion.

Gardan, which recently added Manufacturing Services to its name, making it easier for customers to understand what it does, has been a valued Community First business member since 2008. “The business team at Community First completely understands the unique needs of business financing and provided total confidence and financial support during the most difficult recent economic downturn which allowed Gardan to remain strong and grow while many struggled,” Dan said. “Our mutual philosophies and dedication to quality, customer service and community will continue to grow our relationship and strengthen the role we provide to our communities.”

2013 Business of the Year/Service

Cypress Benefit Administrators, Appleton, is a privately held company that started in 2000 as a third-party administrator (TPA) of employee benefit plans, including medical, dental and other programs. Today, it has 100 employees in its Grand Chute office and four other offices nationwide. Cypress has been pioneering the way toward cost containment in healthcare as the country’s first TPA to bring claims administration, consumer driven health plans and provide cost control measures together in one package.

Beth Davis, Community First business development manager, has known the owners for many years, going back to their leadership positions in local health care organizations in the Fox Valley. “Cypress Benefits Administrators has grown significantly by becoming a very trustworthy and efficiently run management company,” she said. “They’ve tripled their number of employees over the last eight years and many of their employees are Community First members.”

2013 Rising Star Award/Service

The Chiropractic Advantage, 658 W. Ridgeview Dr., Appleton, is committed to serving the health needs of the Fox Cities from its state of the art facility with digital x-ray, advanced chiropractic techniques and newest therapies to help patients get better faster. “We’re very honored,” said Dr. Brent Buss, a Greenville native who opened the business in October 2011 with his partner Dr. Tyler Skibba, a Wisconsin Rapids native. “We strive to do our best for our patients and for the community. So it’s just great to be noticed and recognized for our accomplishments.” Both 29, they met at UW-LaCrosse and both attended the Palmer College of Chiropractic before deciding to start a practice together in Appleton. Community First helped them with startup funding and their practice has shown significant growth in less than two years.

2013 Company Innovation

Sixty training initiatives developed and coordinated by Fox Valley Technical College have helped enhance and upgrade the skills of more than 21,000 regional employees over the past five years.

FVTC’s impact on training of regional workforce members at nearly 180 entrepreneurial and multi-national employers was a key reason that prompted the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry to recognize the Grand Chute-based technical school with its 2013 Innovation Award in June.

FVTC secured $3.5 million in Workforce Advancement training (WAT) grants to offer the training that saved companies time and money while also improving productivity, enhancing processes and more. During 2012, FVTC used more than $850,000 in WAT grants to train about 2,400 Miller Electric Mfg. Co. employees in Lean manufacturing certification, generating savings of $150,000 plus better productivity and increased sales with supplemental projects.

Other innovative FVTC initiatives recognized by the chamber were: implementation of a college-wide printing policy; outstanding employee wellness programs; processes producing more employee engagement; quality improvement through ongoing professional staff development; positive outcomes through its in-house leadership development program; and, a pro-active commitment to sustainability in both operations and in classrooms.

“The ‘status quo’ simply isn’t in our organizational fabric,” said FVTC president Dr. Susan May, a past board president and current member of the Community First Credit Union board of directors. “Our customers, students, employers, and communities have come to expect continuous improvement and innovation in the delivery of programs and services, and in our operations.”


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