By Joe Morey
A Grand Opening was held on Sep. 18 for the new LCO Financial Services (FS) building located at the former Boys and Girls Club on Trepania Road west of the college.
Community members were invited to come and take a tour of the newly-remodeled facility and ask questions of the staff members who were conducting the tours. The facility, which was renovated by LCO Development, has a large call center where 23 current employees are working. That number is expected to rise to 43 advanced customer service agents by this time next year.
The Call Center is located at the center of the renovation and is surrounded by sets of offices for the senior staff members, a large break room, IT and server rooms, conference room and more.
The Wadookodaading School Youth Drum Group played a welcome song and Dennis White gave the invocation for the event.
Representing Strategic Link, partners with Cane Bay, the service provider for LCO FS, was Stephen Abbot who spoke to community members said he came from Atlanta, GA because he wanted to celebrate with LCO.
“I’ve been blessed to see the growth and the change that has happened here,” Abbot said.
LCO TGB member Tweed Shuman, who is the LCO FS Chairman, said on behalf of the TGB and FS Board, “I would like to personally thank all the dedicated staff contributing to the constant success of our lending business and the generous contribution to our tribal membership. We should all be so very proud of our huge success starting from a meeting in the snow five years ago. The success of this endeavor has greatly relied on all of your patience, hard work, and willingness to succeed. Great things happen when there is a gathering of great minds, and it shows as we set goals and knock down barriers. I am hopeful that today’s events will stimulate positive interactions and future collaborations.”
Shuman went on to encourage guests and community members in attendance to ask questions and enjoy their time with staff and executives at the Grand Opening.
The Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Link, Jennifer Kuechler, said the new LCO FS facility is simply amazing.
“This renovation is a crucial part to the growth of the call center. It’s a lot of work and a lot of details go into it,” Kuechler stated.
Lee Harden, Chief Executive Officer of LCO Financial Services, said he understands there are a lot of people in the lending industry that cast a dark shadow, but LCO wanted to do things legally, and we’re going to persevere. He talked about the Lac Vieux Desert Chairman, Jim Williams, who came to Lac Courte Oreilles five years ago and showed how the lending entity can be done.
“This is a self-determining business. It’s the perfect platform for us to exercise our sovereignty,” stated Harden. “Economically, this business can and will benefit our community and our neighboring communities.”
Randy Cadotte, Vice Chairman of the LCO FS Board, said, “This company is going to bring tremendous economic growth to our tribe and offer multiple opportunities from the revenues and job growth. I’m honored to be a part of this.”
Trina Starr, Director of Operations at the Call Center, said she was proud to be a part of the growth of the Call Center. She said when she started they had three customer service agents and now it’s grown to 23. She added it’s very important LCO FS has an excited and thriving workforce, and with that, she gave a bonus check to each of the Call Center employees.
On behalf of the TGB and LCO FS Board of Directors, Shuman thanked the service providers, Stephen Abbot and Jennifer Kuechler of Strategic Link and Kirk Chewning of Cane Bay and the accounting team from Anderson, Hager and Moe which included Mark Beckman and Erin Walter.
“We’d also like to thank our construction crew from LCO Development, Alan Johnson and Gary Butler Jr and all the hard working guys over there. Also, we thank our strong LCO legal team of Ariana Johnson, Kekek and Dyllan Linehan, as well as outside council from Rob Rosette and Nicole St. Germaine.”
Shuman concluded with a huge thank you to the LCO FS management team of Lee, Trina, Mackenzie, Michelle, and Courtney.
Left to rigth) Jennifer Kuechler (Strategic Link) Trina Starr (Director of Operations), Stephen Abbott (Strategic Link), Lee Harden (Chief Executive Officer), Tweed Shuman (LCO FS Board Chairman).
Stephen Abbott presents a gift to LCO FS.
Lee Harden speaks at the Grand Opening
Tweed Shuman speaks at the Grand Opening
Trina Starr, Director of Call Center Operations, presents a bonus check to Call Center employees.
Wadookodaading School Youth Drum Group plays welcome song for the Grand Opening.