Your Board of Directors

Meet Your Synergy Credit Union Representatives!

District 1

Brent Baier Expand/Collapse

Brent is the founder of Iron Will Innovations and inventor of the Peregrine Glove, a wearable technology interface. In 2005 he graduated with Distinction from Lakeland College, with a Computer Systems Technology diploma, and received the prestigious Vic Juba Leadership Award. He has extensive experience in business and entrepreneurship in the areas of prototyping, patenting, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, fundraising, and management with business travel taking him to the US, China, Europe and the Middle East.

Brent is a lifelong credit union member and in 2012 joined the board of Synergy.  He strongly believes in the member-owned cooperative philosophy and the positive impact credit unions have on their communities.

Brent grew up on a farm near Macklin, Saskatchewan. In 2015 he achieved his goal of winning the World Bunnock Championship, a tournament he has competed in since his youth. He is happily married to his spouse Cherene and has two children.

Tom Schinold Expand/Collapse

Tom was elected to the Board in 2015 and has served on the Audit and Building Committees and currently serves as the Risk Committee, Chairperson. Tom holds a Bachelor of Administration degree (majoring in accounting and finance) as well as a Diploma of Public Administration both from the University of Regina.

Tom recently retired as the Catholic School Division, Chief Financial Officer wherein he oversaw finance, facilities, transportation and project managed school capital building projects. Additionally, Tom has served on numerous community committees and organizations in leadership roles, such as chairman of the St. Anthony's Church finance committee and a founding member of Border City Optimist Club.

Tom has been a Lloydminster resident since 1991 and a Synergy Credit Union member for over 26 years. Tom strongly believes in the benefits the credit union provides the communities they serve.

Tom is married to Michelle and has a daughter and a son.

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 continues her education in the accounting and finance fields.

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

Richard Graff Expand/Collapse

Richard (Rick) is a lifelong member of the Lloydminster/Synergy Credit Union and has served as a director since 1996. During the past 22 years he has been involved in various committees and has chaired the Audit, Risk and Building committees. He also spent 3 years as a delegate to the Saskatchewan Credit Union Central.

Rick proudly serves the Lloydminster and Hillmond communities, volunteering for numerous and varied functions and fundraiser events. He is a RM of Britannia first responder, as well as has spent many years helping plan and build the new Hillmond arena and serving as a minor hockey volunteer.

Rick has a financial background and over 30 years of sales and management experience. Currently he is a REALTOR® licensed to trade in Commercial, Residential and Rural real estate in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is registered with the Real Estate Centre brokerage in Lloydminster.

Carolyn Young Expand/Collapse

In 2001 Carolyn, her husband and five children moved from Raymore, Saskatchewan. She holds a CMA/CPA designation and is employed with Husky Energy, Accounting Department. Previously, she worked 10 years at Servus Credit Union, in various positions including Accounting Department Management. One of her passions is coaching which she demonstrates as part of a CPA Student mentor program.

Carolyn is community oriented and believes in promoting the great things Lloydminster has to offer, giving back to the community through her involvement with Husky's Charitable Campaign Program, Relay for Life, serving as a board member on the Lloydminster Tennis Association and hosting International Rotary students. Further Carolyn and her husband Richard, donate both their time and a portion of the proceeds to many worthwhile community organizations via their personal small businesses.

Carolyn is a longtime member and believes her personal and professional experiences are assets to the Board of Directors.

District 2

C. Neil Carruthers: Board Vice-Chair Expand/Collapse

Elected in 2012, Neil was Synergy's first and is one of a few Saskatchewan directors to hold an Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director Status. Neil is the Corporate Governance Committee Chairperson and Board Vice-President.

Neil believes members should benefit from Synergy's Profit Sharing Program and mobile banking options are important so members can bank wherever, whenever they choose. Neil strongly supports Synergy's rural branch network and giving back to the communities they serve.

Neil has an Agriculture Degree from the University of Saskatchewan and for 25 years has been employed in the animal health industry. Neil is the Regional Business Manager for Merck Animal Health and served as a founding director for the Zoetis Pension Fund Board. He was awarded Canada's 2018 Circle of Excellence Award.

Neil, his wife and two daughters run a cattle operation in the Frenchman Butte area. Neil shares his leadership skills with the Paradise Hill 4-H Multiple Club.

Joe Larre Expand/Collapse

Joe was elected in 2016. Along with wife Jaime and several great people they operate MJM Ranches Ltd, a large mixed farm in the St Walburg area. Joe is a Pioneer HI Bred Pro Sales representative working with Taurus Ag dealing, micro and macro nutrient packaging for crops. Joe has a Bachelor of Science, Agriculture degree from the University of Saskatchewan and to this day utilizes many college contacts to assist with the day-to-day activities of running his businesses.

He has coached minor hockey for many years, something he passionately enjoys. Joe enjoys working with different communities and is currently President of the STEP Hockey League, comprised of 20+ communities and close to 80 teams. He is past APAS rep for RM 501 and has sat on many community boards. Joe believes in the credit union philosophy and is committed to helping our rural branches retool and prepare for the future.

District 3

Dean Walde Expand/Collapse

Dean joined the Board in 1990 and has served on all committees, in addition to 7 years as President, currently serving as Audit Committee, Chairperson. Dean also served as the President of the Board of Directors of SaskCentral. Being a SaskCentral Board Member afforded him the opportunity to serve as a Board Member of CUDGC (Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corp) and Concentra Financial.

Dean's experience is not limited to the financial industry, having served on SCA and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Council as well as a former 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 governance, risk management and financial literacy.

In 2013 Dean received the SaskCentral Order of Merit Award and in October 2017 was honoured to receive the very prestigious Lifetime Co-operative Achievement Award from the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association.

Joseph Koch Expand/Collapse

Joe joined the Synergy Board of Directors in 1990 and has served on a number of board committees as well as second vice-president. As a longtime credit union member he brings a wealth of knowledge in agriculture, agri-business and board member experience.

Community organizations and cooperatives are very important to Joe. In order to develop his skillset and competency required to hold a board position Joe has been an active member in a number of community organizations and is currently a RM of Manitou Lake 442 councilor.

Joe is passionate about farming and took every opportunity to develop his knowledge which enabled him to develop, grow and run a successful family run grain farm operation in the Marsden/Neilburg, Saskatchewan region for 37 years.

Joe resides with his wife Gail in Saskatoon, spending free time with family, including a number of grandchildren.

Don Wheler: Board Chair Expand/Collapse

Don has served as a director at Synergy Credit Union since 1998 and became Board Chairperson in April 2016. Don holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan. His previous experience in education and leadership serve him well on the board.

In 2016, Don was the recipient of the prestigious 'MacGregor Cup' from the Roy Group, recognizing personal mastery, leadership and promoting leadership in others. He currently chairs the Canadian Student Leadership Association and volunteers with the Saskatchewan Student Leadership Association.

Don believes in building strong communities within the Synergy umbrella in an ethically and fiscally responsible manner. He is enjoying his "papa" status with his 5 grandchildren where his seniority is unanimously recognized.

District 4

Lorne Janzen Expand/Collapse

Lorne served on the Kindersley & District Credit Union Board of Directors from 1995 to 2007. From 2007 to 2016 Lorne served as a Kindersley Branch Advisory Council member before joining Synergy Credit Union's Board April 2016. He currently serves on two board committees; Human Resources and Risk. Lorne believes in lifelong learning and is continuing his education by working towards completing the Credit Union Director Achievement program.

Lorne recently retired from a 36 year career at Saskatchewan Government Insurance claims division, wherein he attained a Chartered Insurance Professional designation in 2011.

Lorne has extensive experience in community and public service, having served 10 years as a Kindersley town councilor and his current committee work includes St Paul's United Church, Meridian Community Futures and Community Futures Saskatchewan. Lorne is also a proud lifetime Kinsmen Club member. He also served on a humanitarian mission to Kenya in 2013.

Dean Roberts Expand/Collapse

Dean grew up on a farm near Coleville, Saskatchewan. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Saskatchewan where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He then returned to Coleville to take over the family farm. Under his management he has grown the farm from 1,800 acres to 9,500 acres and still has plans for future growth.

In addition to the farm, Dean and his wife operate an oilfield service company. They reside near Coleville with their two daughters.

Dean has been a lifelong member of the Credit Union system, starting with the original "Fat Cat" account. Dean joined the Synergy Board of Directors in 2014.