Dale Owen experienced significant challenges during his recently finished first year as president of Bettendorf-based Ascentra Credit Union.
Paul Lensmeyer, Dale’s predecessor as Ascentra CEO, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on May 20th, 2013, following a brief illness. Paul had been a respected community leader, astute businessman and much beloved leader of the credit union for 20 years.
Fortunately for Ascentra, Lensmeyer already had initiated a succession plan, anticipating retirement in 2014 or 2015. As part of that succession planning process, Dale had been selected and thoughtfully groomed to assume CEO responsibilities for Ascentra. Dale said this about his friend, mentor and boss, “Paul Lensmeyer definitely mentored me in a way that turned out very beneficially for our credit union.”
Ascentra’s board of directors immediately appointed Dale interim CEO, upon Lensmeyer’s death, and, in September 2013, asked him to assume permanent leadership responsibilities for the business. Dale faced the daunting task of leading a grieving organization, growing Ascentra’s business services, while planning the company’s future direction.
Dale’s education and work experience helped him meet the task at hand. He is a Rock Island native and 1986 graduate of Rock Island High School. He worked his way through Black Hawk College, receiving an AAS Degree in banking and finance. He later earned a BA Degree in Public Administration from Augustana College and a Masters in Public Administration Degree from Drake University in Des Moines in 2004.
Dale began work at Ascentra in 1999, serving as chief lending officer. Previously, he worked at the First National Bank of Moline, Benton Bank, Bank One, which later became Chase Bank, and as a branch manager of Marquette Bank in Galesburg, Illinois.
Several important items remained high on Dale’s agenda during his initial year as president. First, he had to address the normal issues related to leadership transition in any organization. Second, the Scott Schools Credit Union merger with Ascentra required completion. Third, the new Ascentra branch office, in Bettendorf at the corner of 53rd and 18th Street, needed to be opened for business. Finally, Ascentra purchased property at the corner of Brady and Locusts Streets to construct a branch office to better serve members of the merged Scott Schools Credit Union. Construction on that branch begins soon.
The issue of I-74 bridge construction looms large for Ascentra, as a downtown Bettendorf business. Dale remains excited about the opportunities that open up in the future, but mindful of dislocation issues caused by a major construction project.
Recently, Ascentra sought recognition from the U. S. Treasury as a Certified Development Financial Institution. This program opens the door to access federal government financial resources that protect a credit union from losses, while allowing grants for economic development to be obtained for under served areas. Dale believes this program can have a major impact on future downtown Bettendorf development.
Throughout this past year of transition, Dale has been deeply grateful to his wife, Angela, their four children and the employees and members of Ascentra who have been supportive of him during a time of great change.