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Generations FCU CEO Learns Value of Hard Work and Caring for Others from Growing Up on Family Farm
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:55 AM

The values of hard work and caring for others are lessons that Generations FCU (GFCU) President and CEO Steve Schipull tells University of Texas San Antonio’s Sombrilla magazine he learned while growing up on his family’s farm.

“I don’t think we even had a stoplight,” he said of Goldfield, Iowa, where his family raised cattle and pigs, and grew vegetables. “You could drive right through.”

The fourth of five siblings learned about the importance of family when one of his brothers was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Multiple surgeries and ongoing treatment compelled Schipull’s family to move out of state and back several times to be near specialists. Schipull matured at a young age as a result of those challenges.

“I basically took care of the household through that whole summer,” he recalled of the months between his freshman and sophomore years of high school. His parents were in another state and his older brother came to stay with him. “It made me grow up a lot faster.”

After completing a year at the University of Missouri, Schipull joined his parents in Austin. Later, he and his wife settled in San Antonio, and he enrolled at UTSA to study accounting. He also worked as a bank teller full time, earning his B.B.A in 1989.

In 1999 Schipull joined GFCU as senior vice president of finance and technology, becoming chief financial officer when the credit union adopted a new organizational structure in 2007. He stepped into the CEO role in November 2012.

“I felt that this was someplace I could make a difference,” he tells the university magazine, stressing that cultivating a strong team that works hard and has fun is his priority. “When you work for a huge company sometimes it’s hard to differentiate yourself the right way. I’m not a big ego, politics kind of guy. I believe the work should prove the worth of the person and also how well you work with the team.”

GFCU held about $175 million in assets when Schipull first came on board, he said. As of the end of February, that had grown to $475 million.

“Maybe we’ll get [to half a billion] this year,” he said. “We’ve got some pretty aggressive growth goals.”

Geraldine Breeding, CFO of GFCU, has worked with Schipull during his entire tenure at the credit union. She said his positive attitude and “employee-centric” focus enrich company culture and boost morale.

“I enjoy coming to work because of him,” she said.

Schipull encourages employees to spend time with their families and sets the example by being there for his own, she added.

“There is more to life than your job,” Schipull said. “You don’t want to miss the time when your kid kicks that winning goal at the soccer game.”