Dave Omichinski started his career in the system in 1972, as a management trainee with Portage Credit Union. In 1973, he left to embark on a path that took him to Co-operators Credit Union (1973–78), cucm (1978–83), dgcm (1983–85, where he co-led the first Performance Improvement Program, working with financially impacted credit unions to rethink and retool how they, and other credit unions, conduct business), Heritage and Cambrian (1985–89), then dgcm. The skills he developed in those two decades allowed him to return home in 1992 as general manager (CEO) of Portage Credit Union.
The credit union has thrived under Dave’s leadership. His career experience instilled in him a healthy appreciation for good governance, which became a focus for the board after he arrived. Portage broke $50 million in assets in 1988, $100 million in 2000, $200 million in 2010 and currently sits at just under $300 million. Equity sat at 6.19 per cent in December 2014.
He began serving the wider system in 1978, working on cucm committees dedicated to model lending and personnel policies, liquidity and financial management, and orderly development. He also serves or served on cucm’s Management, Human Resources and Insurance advisory committees and the Manitoba Credit Union Collaboration Group. Nationally, he was a member of the Cumis National Appeals Committee.
Dave has been a very active member of his community. Currently president of the Portage & District Chamber of Commerce, he serves or served on the Portage & Area Beautification Committee, Portage Golf Club, Portage Public Art Steering Committee, and Downtown Business Association, which he co-founded. He also sat on the Premier’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Aboriginal employment and moderated two civic election all-candidates forums. In addition to formal committees, a long list of organizations and initiatives dedicated to crime prevention, community engagement, redevelopment, and other efforts have benefitted from his enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise.
His belief in community service is contagious. In 2000, Portage Credit Union employees were awarded the Volunteer Award for Manitoba Business from the Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg. For 17 consecutive years, 100 per cent of PCU employees have supported the United Way through bi-weekly payroll deduction.
Dave received the chamber’s Executive of the Year award in 2002, the credit union was named Business of the Year in 2004 and, in 2013, Dave was named Portage la Prairie’s Citizen of the Year.
“Dave lives and breathes the co-operative principles, willingly acting as a valuable resource to community members as well as fellow credit union system members,” the Portage board said in its nomination of Dave. “He’s a testament to people helping people.”
Dave has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to this award go to a 2016 graduate of Portage Collegiate Institute who will be furthering their education, with a preference to a student going into the business world.