Your Board of Directors

Meet Your Synergy Credit Union Representatives!

District 1

Dean Walde Expand/Collapse

Dean has been a Synergy Board member since 1990. During that time, Dean has served on all committees, in addition to 7 years as the President. He currently serves as Chairperson of the Audit Committee. Concurrently Dean is also the President of the Board of Directors of SaskCentral and committee ex-officio. Being a Board Member of SaskCentral affords him the opportunity to serve as a Board Member of CUDGC (Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corp) as well as a former Board Member of Concentra Financial, Governance Committee, Chairperson.

Dean's experience is not limited to the financial industry as he has served on SCA and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Council and is currently a delegate for Federated Co-op and Canadian Co-operative Association.

Dean believes in lifelong learning and is a Graduate of the Credit Union Director’s Achievement Program, continuing his education in the areas of governance, risk management and financial literacy. In 2013 Dean was honoured when he received the SaskCentral Order of Merit Award.

Joe Larre Expand/Collapse

Joe runs a large cattle/grain operation, MJM Ranches Ltd., near St. Walburg and also holds a position with Pioneer Sales Agency. With his job, he communicates with a wide variety of people on a daily basis. He earned a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan in 1998.

Joe coaches minor hockey in St. Walburg, sat on the recreation and arena board and is a former representative of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

Joe has a passion for the credit union and wants to ensure the smalltown branches remain relevant.

Neil Carruthers: Vice-President Expand/Collapse

Elected to the Board in 2012, Neil has shown his commitment to Synergy by achieving Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director status. Neil joins only a few in Saskatchewan with this designation and Synergy's first. Currently Neil sits on the Risk and Human Resources committees.

For the past 20 years Neil has worked with market leaders Pfizer Animal Health and brings his strong results orientation to the board.

Neil holds a degree in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and is a Director on Zoetis Canada Inc. Pension Board.

Along with his wife and two daughters, Neil runs a cattle operation in the Frenchman Butte area. Neil shares his leadership skills with the Paradise Hill 4H Club and believes in giving back in communities in which Synergy serves.

Joseph Koch Expand/Collapse

Joe has served on the Synergy Board of Directors since 1990. Joe has also served on a number of board committees as well as second vice-president. Joe is now semi-retired from a long farming career, but remains active in the industry providing management expertise for leased land. As a longtime member of the Credit Union, Joe brings a wealth of knowledge in agriculture, agri-business, and Credit Union experience to the board.

One of Joe's foremost passions is farming. Joe developed, grew, and ran a successful grain farm operation with his family in the Marsden/ Neilburg, SK region for 37 years. During that time Joe took every opportunity to develop his knowledge of grain farming. At its peak, Joe farmed 4,000 acres and managed the large fleet of equipment that entailed.

Joe holds education in high regard and considers himself a lifelong learner. Along with learning every facet of grain farming and farm management, Joe also, not surprisingly, developed his knowledge of mechanics. He successfully completed the Agriculture Mechanical Technician Course at the Kelsey Institute. As his farm operation wound down in 2011, Joe continued on the path of lifelong learning by undertaking the Pre-employment Machinist course again at SIAST Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon.

Community organizations and cooperatives are very important to Joe. In order to develop his skillset and the competency required to hold a board position, Joe completed the Credit Union Director Achievement Program as well as served as a SaskCentral Delegate from 2002-2011. In addition to his long service with the Credit Union, he has been an active member in a number of community organizations, including the 4-H Beef Club, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Delegate, Knights of Columbus member and Church Councilmen.  Currently Joe serves as councilor for the RM of Manitou Lake 442.
Joe continues to reside with his wife Gail in the Marsden/ Neilburg, SK region. He spends his free time with his family, including a number of grandchildren. He enjoys continuing to hone his skill in machining, woodworking, and mechanics.

Don Wheler: President Expand/Collapse

Don Wheler has served as a Director at Synergy Credit Union since 1998 and became the Board of Directors’ President in October 2015. He worked as the coordinator for the Northwest School Division Leadership Academy to cap off a 34 year teaching career. The Academy provides leadership training to area students and promotes life-long leadership for teachers and administrators. In 2016 Don was the recipient of the prestigious ‘MacGregor Cup’ from the Roy Group, recognizing a leader who demonstrates personal mastery, leadership and character in inviting others to make their finest leadership contributions. Don cares deeply about quality leadership and serves on both the Saskatchewan and Canadian Student Leadership boards.
Don holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan and is the recipient of the 'Leader of Distinction' award from the Canadian Association of Student Council Advisors.
Don believes in building strong communities within the Synergy umbrella in an ethically and fiscally responsible manner. He encourages collaboration, cooperation, and commitment as foundations for Synergy to serve its members where they live.
Committed to lifelong learning, Don continually seeks to upgrade his skills and knowledge as a Credit Union Director. He brings his leadership skills and experience to the Synergy Credit Union team. He enjoys the challenges of the ever-changing Credit Union landscape and spending quality time with his wife, his grandkids and their parents.

District 2

Lorne Janzen Expand/Collapse

Lorne Janzen is a lifelong member of the credit union. He was first elected to the Kindersley and District Credit Union Board of Directors in 1995. Lorne has successfully completed 7 Credit Union Director Achievement models and has served in various capacities, including the credit and facility committees. After the merger to become Synergy Credit Union, he served on the local advisory committee.
Lorne has been employed with the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) claims division for 36 years and has attained his Chartered Insurance Professional designation.
He has a long background in public service. Besides his work with the credit union, he has also been a town councilor for 10 years, has sat on the St. Paul's Church Board, West Central Abilities Board, EK Water Board and various other committees. He is also a former Scout leader, minor ball coach, life member of the Kindersley Kinsmen Club and played an active role in Telemiracle for years. Lorne also served on a humanitarian mission to Kenya in 2013.
Lorne believes in the credit union co-operative system and the benefits that credit unions bring to their communities.

Dean Roberts Expand/Collapse

Dean is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Dean owns and operates a farm with his wife in the Coleville area as well as an oilfield service company. Dean has served on the Board of Directors since 2014.

District 3

Rick Graff Expand/Collapse

A lifelong member of the Lloydminster/Synergy Credit Union, Rick has served 20 years as a director. During that time he has sat on various committees, including chairing the audit risk and building committees.

Rick has been heavily involved in the Lloydminster and Hillmond communities. He is a first responder for the RM of Britannia and has been involved in the Hillmond Arena fundraising project and minor hockey for many years.

Rick has over 30 years of management experience. He is currently the regional manager of Northview Apartments REIT.

Melanie Mari Expand/Collapse

Melanie was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016 and is a former employee of Synergy Credit Union. Melanie continues her career in finance as a controller with Tryton Tool Services. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary, earned a Credit Union Fellowship designation while at Synergy and is currently working towards a certificate in leadership and conflict resolution.

In the community, Melanie has served as a board member and treasurer for the Lloydminster unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, curls in a recreational league and is a past member of Synergy’s Young Leaders Group.

Melanie believes her education and credit union involvement will serve well in the role of director and is committed to taking an active part in the future of the credit union and the community.

Brent Baier Expand/Collapse

Brent is an inventor and entrepreneur in the field of wearable technologies. As founder of Iron Will Innovations and inventor of the Peregrine Glove, he has nearly a decade of experience in business and entrepreneurship. He graduated Lakeland College in 2005 with a Computer Systems Technology diploma with Distinction. Immediately after college he founded a technology company to bring his wearable glove interface idea to life. The following years saw him gain experience with prototyping, patenting, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, investor relations, fundraising, team building and management. His business activities have given him the opportunity to deal with companies and cultures in the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Brent has been a credit union member since he was a young child. He believes in the credit union philosophy of a member-owned cooperative and has seen the positive impact credit unions have on their communities. When a board vacancy for Synergy Credit Union came available he pursued it, eager to play a more involved role in the credit union world.

He grew up on a farm near the bustling metropolis of Macklin, Saskatchewan. Upon graduating high school in 2000, Brent loaded up his little red car with all his worldly possessions and moved to Lloydminster. After working for a few years he went to college then started his business. He enjoys reading fiction and business books, writing, concocting new meals, playing computer games, tinkering with electronics,volunteering at church, and spending time outdoors. Each summer he plays Bunnock (a game played with horse ankle bones) and aims to win the World Bunnock Championship. He is happily married to his wife Cherene and they are expecting their first child in 2015.

Carolyn Young Expand/Collapse

Carolyn has been a credit union member from a young age, starting with a savings account from her babysitting earnings. Through several moves, she still ended up at the credit union. One of the core values that continue to keep her there are the personal treatment received from staff.

Carolyn is originally from Raymore, Sask., moving to Lloydminster in 2001 with her husband and five children. She holds a designation as CMA/CPA and is employed by Husky Energy, in its accounting department. Previously, she worked at Servus Credit Union for 10 years, in various positions including managing their accounting department.

She is community oriented, believes in promoting the great things Lloydminster has to offer, and gives back to the community by her involvement with Husky's Charitable Campaign Program, Relay for Life, Lloydminster Transplant Trot, as well as being a Lloydminster Tennis Association board member and hosting International Rotary students. Carolyn is a longtime member and believes her personal and professional experiences will be an asset to the Board of Directors as they guide members through the current economic challenges into a bright future.

One of her most favourite activities is coaching and mentoring staff and coworkers, providing that personal touch that is so well known within our small credit unions.

Tom Schinold Expand/Collapse

Tom has recently retired as Chief Financial Officer of the Catholic School Division where he oversaw the finance in the facilities, transportation and human resources departments. Over the years, Tom served on numerous committees and organizations in leadership roles, such as a member of the St. Anthony's Church finance committee, the founding member of Border City Optimist Club and much more.