Roger Heacock Retires from Black Hills FCU
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist
1/11/2021

“We have the fundamental belief that we, as an organization, can and will improve lives. Rooted in the centuries-old credit union philosophy of people helping people, we maintain a simple premise: those we interact with will receive equal and just treatment, devoid of intolerance, false judgement, racism, or discrimination of any kind. We must not accept less if we are to fulfill our mission, ‘We Improve Lives.’ This mission empowers us to serve the greater good and to make a difference in our world.” ~ Roger Heacock

As of January 3, 2021, Roger Heacock is no longer the CEO of Black Hills FCU. After 45 years of service to the credit union industry, this longtime professional is stepping back, opening the door for the next leader of the very successful credit union.

Heacock began his career at the tiny Rosebud FCU on May 5, 1975, where he learned the fundamentals of running a credit union. In 1978, he joined the team at Black Hills Federal Credit Union (BHFCU) as the operations manager. In 1983, he was named CEO upon the retirement of his mentor, Duane Ellingson.

In a previous interview for the CEO Spotlight, Heacock shared that he found working in the credit union industry to be a rewarding experience on many different levels. “What I enjoy most are all the great things our staff does to embody our mission, 'We Improve Lives,'” he said, and what kept him motivated throughout the years was hearing the many stories from staff and members about how the credit union really did help members and fulfill dreams. The stories ranged from the purchase of a new house or business, to a member struggling to afford a used car or pay rent, to lending to an elderly member to get a new pair of eyeglasses.

Throughout his career, Heacock has been a dedicated champion for serving the underserved and those in need of fair, equal access to financial products and services. He can be proud of the great difference BHFCU has made in some of South Dakota’s most impoverished areas. Under his leadership, BHFCU grew from $23 million in assets to over $1.5 billion, expanded from 5 branches to 15, and tripled membership to more than 77,000 members in a state with a population of fewer than 850,000.

Heacock was also involved locally, regionally, and nationally. He served on the CUNA Board of Directors, representing District 5B, Class B (mid-size credit unions), in twelve states. His service, as the voice for all Dakota Credit Union Association members and those in his district, ran from June 2010 through February 2019. In February 2013, he was elected to the CUNA Strategic Services, Inc. (CSS) Board of Directors, and continues to serve as Chair, even in retirement.

He was a consistent presence in Washington, DC, attending the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) each year, advocating for credit unions with the South Dakota Congressional Delegation and industry leaders. He also represented the credit union industry by testifying on CUNA’s behalf before the House of Representatives Small Business Committee. He served on CUNA’s Field of Membership (FOM) Task Force, was a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and was the Community Credit Union Committee Chair. Heacock also served on the National Association of Community Credit Unions (NACCU) Board for 5 years, the South Dakota Credit Union League Board for 26 years, and the South Dakota Credit Union League Services Corporate Board for more than 20 years. For his impactful efforts supporting these groups and many more, Roger Heacock was inducted into the “Credit Union House Hall of Leaders” in 2019.

Photo below: Roger Heacock with members of his family and other credit union representatives during the Hall of Leaders recognition.

 

DakCU President/CEO Jeff Olson weighed in with his past experiences with Heacock, saying, “In his Laws of Leadership book, renowned author, John Maxwell, writes about the ‘The Law of E.F. Hutton.’ This is a leadership trait that references the successful advertising campaign and tagline used by the brokerage firm years ago: When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen. That promotion was touting that true leaders influence people, and I witnessed this idea in action the first time I met Roger Heacock at a managers’ forum 13 years ago. I quickly saw the influence he had on other credit union leaders in the room. Everyone literally stopped to listen intently each time he spoke or offered an idea. When a real leader speaks, people listen, and to my knowledge, no other person from the Dakotas has contributed as much to the growth and expansion of the credit union movement here in the Dakotas as Roger Heacock,” he concluded.

The Memo reached out to Roger to ask about his plans and adventures he has planned for his retirement years, and he responded:

“I have been asked many times what my retirement plans are. My wife and I love to travel to experience the wonders of other countries but that will have to wait until the pandemic abates. When it is safe to travel again, we will travel internationally with our sights set in the near future on seeing Portugal and the Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Belize. In the meantime, we are fortunate to live in the beautiful Black Hills and love hiking, so we will continue our frequent hikes and explore the area.

Retirement gives me the opportunity to run or hike whenever I want, stay up as late as I want, and take naps whenever. I love to run so I will keep on running races, particularly marathons, and look forward to running some international races. I’ll stay involved with the Black Hills Runners Club by continuing to serve on the board, participating in many of their events, and enjoying the camaraderie of my running community.

I will continue to be involved in our wonderful Rapid City community. I am a 20-year Rotary member and will fully embrace the Rotary motto of “service above self” by participating in as many local and international projects as I can. I have served on the Skyline Drive Preservation board since 2004, and while on the board, we were able to preserve over 150 acres of natural area (Skyline Wilderness Park) in the heart of our city. I look forward to stepping up my efforts to improve and expand the park.

I love credit unions and their “people helping people” philosophy. I am glad to still be involved with credit unions as I remain on the board of CUNA Strategic Services, currently serving as Chair. My wife and I look forward to continuing to be loyal members of Black Hills Federal Credit Union.”

From all of us at DakCU, and on behalf of the many credit union professionals you have supported and influenced over the years, congratulations Roger, and we wish you the best.

 

 

 

 

 

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