SAFE FCU’s Brad Ballentine honored with 2024 Hugh Watson Award

Brad Ballentine, 2024 Hugh Watson Award recipient, SRCUS

Southeastern Regional Credit Union Schools (SRCUS) is pleased to announce that Brad Ballentine of SAFE Federal Credit Union (based in Sumter, SC) has been awarded the 2024 Hugh Watson Award. Selected by vote of his classmates, Ballentine accepted the award on June 21 during this year’s session of the Southeast Management School in Athens, GA. The award recognizes the exceptional contributions he has made to the class over the course of the three-year program and his outstanding leadership skills.

Ballentine serves as vice president controller at SAFE FCU. He got his start in the credit union movement at the Carolinas Credit Union League, serving for ten years in various roles for PLR Credit Union Accounting where he provided back-office accounting services for several client credit unions. Following his time at the League, he went on to serve as controller for Caro Federal Credit Union, overseeing the accounting department.

While accepting the award, Ballentine commended his classmates for not only all they accomplished together, but for how they made him better as he learned from each of them.

“To my classmates, this is all your fault,” Ballentine jokingly said. “I’ve always heard you improve when you’re surrounded by people who are better than you. The person you see in front of you today is a result of this as you have all poured into me over these three years.”

Reflecting on his career journey and the support he received to pursue SRCUS, Ballentine thanked his current credit union family at SAFE FCU as well as Anne Shivers, CEO at Caro FCU, where Ballentine worked when he enrolled in SRCUS.

“Anne Shivers is the reason I know of SRCUS. She saw potential in me I didn’t know existed and suggested I enroll in the program,” said Ballentine. “She has changed my life and I’m eternally grateful. Her leadership is second to none and the credit union is lucky to have her in it.”

In 2015, SRCUS instituted the Hugh Watson Award to recognize an outstanding third-year student that demonstrates the characteristics of leadership and excellence – traits embodied by Hugh Watson, the award’s namesake. Watson joined the SRCUS faculty in 1971 and during his tenure, he taught in all three years, served as academic coordinator, and facilitated the third-year simulation for 43 years. Upon his retirement from SRCUS, the Hugh Watson Award was established.

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