Juanita Richards Has Built Networks in Grant County

Posted on Feb 25, 2016

Juanita Richards with Horizon Credit UnionWhen Horizon Credit Union's Juanita Richards was asked for a contribution for the Grant County Economic Development Council, she asked a company vice-president for permission. The donation was approved and the vice-president said, "Maybe someday you'll be on the board of directors." At the time, Richards thought that would never happen, but she just ended her term as President of the Grant County EDC having been on the board since 2012.

Richards is originally from San Diego, California. When she got married, her husband lived in Grant County so she moved. She says she needed to get out of Southern California because Grant County and Moses Lake are "a much better place to raise kids. The kids ended up in a much better spot because I moved here."

Richards started college in California but ended up finishing her education at Big Bend Community College. "It took me twenty to get my two," she says with a smile.

Twenty-three years ago, Richards started working at Columbia Basin Federal Credit Union, which later merged with Horizon Credit Union. She started as a teller and is now Regional Manager over six branches: Colville, Davenport, Deer Park, Ephrata, Moses Lake, and the branch in the Moses Lake Safeway. She works to keep consistency between the branches so that when a customer walks into any of the locations, they get the same level of service and knowledge. Other challenges she faces are growing the business and keeping up to date with ever-changing regulatory requirements.

Richards enjoys her job because of the ability to work with so many different people and that the challenges are not the same every day. She also enjoys being able to learn and grow in the iJuandustry.

"I'm very interested in activities going on in the community," Richards says. That drew her to the monthly EDC board meetings. "I'd walk away energized and more knowledgeable about the community and looking forward to the next meeting," she explains. Dale Pomeroy noticed she'd been coming to meetings and asked her to be on the board. Soon she was Treasurer and then later President. "You know so much about the surrounding community," Richards says, because you hear it from the members of the board. "As a unified group of individuals and community members we have a stronger group for bringing in new business."

"If you're not involved, you're missing the opportunity to know other individuals in the community," Richards explains about the EDC. The EDC, she says, builds a network of individuals that builds a stronger community. "I've learned so much," she says, of being involved with the EDC.

The biggest change Richards says she's seen in Grant County is all the new business. "More opportunities for jobs and more opportunities for shopping," she explains, citing SGL, Genie, and REC.

Richards is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Moses Lake and a Trustee at Big Bend Community College. She serves on committees for Samaritan Hospital. "I think the college does a great job," Richards says, but she would like to see the surrounding school districts have more growth and support, including new buildings.

Richards's family enjoys camping and boating. "We take full advantage of the recreational opportunities in the state." And, she adds, "Not only is my family here but I've built up family from friends of business associates. The relationships I've built with people over the past twenty years," are part of why she likes living in Grant County. She enjoys the four seasons and that there are no traffic jams on her five-minute commute to work. Also, Richards has three grandchildren. "They all live here so I'm never moving anywhere else."