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Madison, Wis.-based CUES on Thursday announced the five Finalists for the 2017 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec challenge.

A combination of public vote and a judging panel determined the Top 15 entrants. Since the results of that vote were announced in mid-July, all 15 young professionals provided updates to their projects at These updates and entrants’ earlier video applications were evaluated by a judging team composed of Deedee Myers, CEO of DDJ Myers, Phoenix, and two credit union executives.

“The five Finalists were selected from a highly competitive group,” John Pembroke, CUES’ president and CEO, said in a statement. “We had several strong entries this year. Our judges worked hard to ensure five quality young leaders from our Top 15 would move through to the finals.”

In addition to two coaching sessions provided by challenge sponsor and CUES Supplier member DDJ Myers, the five Finalists each receive registration, accommodation and airfare to CUES' CEO/Executive Team Network in Las Vegas, Oct. 10-12. There, the Finalists will face off for the grand prize, a CUES educational package valued at $20,000, and the chance to be named 2017 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec.
Geoff Bullock
Geoff Bullock, 33, is a financial education specialist for $1.1 billion Firefly Credit Union, Burnsville, Minn. He is working on creating an adoption loan model to assist potential adoptive families that is replicable for credit unions in every community.
Derek Fuzzell
Derek Fuzzell, 31, is vice president-finance at $3.2 billion Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va. He is developing a series of financial management courses designed to enrich understanding of these topics for all members of management and future leaders in the credit union industry.
Josh Gelser
Josh Gelser, 31, serves as strategic project manager for $1.1 billion DuPont Community Credit Union in Waynesboro, Va.. He aims to show how and why establishing a project management office can help get things done more efficiently.
Lindsey McMillen
Lindsey McMillen, 32, is the business systems analyst for $1.1 billion Y-12 Federal Credit Union, Oak Ridge, Tenn. She calls her project risk-based check cashing. The goal: providing immediate credit for mobile deposit items and consistency for the entire credit union.
Jessica Vartanian
Jessica Vartanian, 34, serves $280 million Red Rocks Credit Union, Littleton, Colo., as its VP project implementation and impact. Her project: learn how custom data integrations, automated system workflows, and empowered team members come together to forge a world-class CRM that is re-engineering the member journey.