Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is elected by the membership to oversee Westerra’s strategic direction in serving members. Each Board Member brings their unique experience, talents, knowledge and perspective.
Andy Raicevich, Chairman
Andy Raicevich is a retired assistant superintendent for Denver Public Schools, having also served as a teacher, principal, human resources director, lobbyist and in support services. He has served as a Trustee for the DPS Retirement System and a Trustee for Colorado PERA. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the Denver Teachers Club. A longtime credit union member, Andy was elected to the Westerra Board of Directors in 2011.
Larry Ottele, Vice Chairman
Larry Ottele is a retired teacher and administrator with 32 years of service in Jeffco Public Schools. He joined Jeffco Credit Union in 1968 and was elected to the Board in 2005, serving as Vice Chairman for two years. Larry has an undergraduate degree in business administration, a master’s degree in economics and additional graduate work in school administration with an emphasis in school finance.
William S. Abbey, Secretary
William Abbey graduated from Regis University and received a Masters degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He retired from Denver Public Schools in 2001 after serving most of thirty-five years as an elementary principal. He was elected to the credit union’s Credit Committee in 1997 and served two years on the Nomination/Election Committee. He served on the Supervisory/Audit Committee from 2003-2011 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2011. He is currently an educational consultant and continues to be active in professional, civic and community organizations.
Barry Beal, Jr., Treasurer
Barry Beal, Jr. has been a member of the credit union for over forty years. He has over 25 years of corporate accounting experience. Throughout his professional career, he had the responsibility of working with auditors and legal counsel addressing financial reporting, internal control and operational issues. Mr. Beal's beliefs are to maintain a high level of ethics, work hard, and protect the members' assets. Mr. Beal served on the Supervisory/Audit Committee from 2005-2012 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2012.
JT Gaietto has over 20 years of experience providing enterprise information security and risk management services to a variety of organizations, with a particular emphasis on the financial services industry, He served on Westerra Credit Union's Supervisory/Audit Committee from 2017 - 2020, before being elected to the Board of Directors in 2021. He lives in Lakewood, Colorado with his wife and son. In his free time, he enjoys all things outdoors, including skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and working towards completing his goal of climbing all of Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks. He also dedicates his free time to youth organizations, such as Boy Scouts of America.
Jim Kullhem was a teacher and principal with Denver Public Schools for 34 years. He has worked at both the elementary and secondary levels. Currently, Jim serves on the Prospect Recreation and Park District Board. He is also a past President of both Southwest Kiwanis and the Denver Principals Association. He served on the DCTA negotiations team in the late 1970s and 1980s, the DPS Retirement Board in the 1980s, and the DPS recruiting team in the 1990s. He was the founding Principal of Grant Ranch School K-8 when it opened in 2001. He served on the credit union’s Supervisory Committee for 12 years and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2010.
Ron Walker is a retired senior high school assistant principal serving Jeffco Public Schools for 34 years, including 24 years in Administration and 10 years as Driver Education Program manager. He served on the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association Board for 12 years and volunteered for Boy Scouts of America for 10 years. Ron was elected to the Jeffco Credit Union Supervisory Committee in 2004 and served as chairman from 2005 – 2009. He served on the Westerra Supervisory/Audit Committee and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016. Ron earned his Bachelors Degree from Colorado State College and Masters Degree in Curriculum/Instruction from the University of Northern Colorado.
Executive Leadership Team
Westerra’s leadership team operates on the leading edge of change within the retail financial services industry. Collectively, they provide the expertise necessary to deliver quality financial products in an environment of safety and soundness. The Westerra executive team includes:
Jay Champion, President and CEO
Jay Champion became President and Chief Executive Officer of Westerra Credit Union on December 1, 2018. Jay joined Westerra from Boulder-based Elevations Credit Union where he most recently served as Chief Operating Officer overseeing lending operations—including commercial, consumer and mortgage lending programs—and directing retail delivery channels, including all branches, the contact center, and digital experiences. He was also responsible for governmental affairs and marketing, focusing on building relationships and brand awareness for the credit union with current and prospective members.Jay’s career spans over 30 years of lending and financial services expertise. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from East Texas State University, a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and is a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. Jay donates his time to serve on the Mountain West Credit Union Association Colorado Governmental Affairs Committee and as an MBA mentor at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. Jay is a current Board member of the Texas A&M University-Commerce Foundation, and also has a long history of prior service on numerous boards of community service and philanthropic organizations. He has been a featured speaker at numerous national credit union conferences and has been published in local and national credit union publications. His interests and hobbies include kids' sports (coaching or spectating at baseball games and gymnastics events), fishing, cycling, cooking, entertaining, reading, and traveling with family. Read the press release.
Jason Sasena, Chief Lending Officer
Jason Sasena, CMB®, joined Denver-based Westerra Credit Union as Chief Lending Officer in April 2019 driving the organization’s lending strategy and credit oversight. He brings more than 20 years’ experience as a thought-leader in the mortgage banking industry, overseeing residential mortgage leadership, marketing and technology. His leadership roles have included serving as Senior Vice President of National Mortgage Production at Lake Michigan Credit Union, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he led the credit union to become the #1 purchase lender in the state of Michigan and third largest mortgage lender in the credit union industry. In his career, Jason has also held leadership roles with Kinecta Federal Credit Union, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC Residential Capital and ditech.com. Jason is an active member of several industry associations such as Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Certified Mortgage Banker’s (CMB®) Society, and actively serves on the American Credit Union Mortgage Association (ACUMA) Board of Directors. Jason was a contributing author of The Mortgage Professionals Handbook. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Midland, Michigan-based Northwood University supplemented with a Master’s Degree in Internet Marketing from Orlando, Florida-based Full Sail University. He is also a graduate of the Cardwell Group 306/2 Leadership Symposium.
Steven Schmidle, Chief Financial Officer
Steven joined Westerra Credit Union in April of 2019 to serve as Chief Financial Officer. He brings more than 20 years of operational, strategic, and leadership experience within financial institution management. Previous to joining Westerra, Steven served 13 years as Chief Strategy and Performance Officer, and Senior Vice President of Finance, for Elevations Credit Union in Boulder, Colorado. In these roles he was responsible for the accounting and finance operations of the credit union, financial reporting, treasury and secondary markets, risk management, project management, and strategic planning. Prior to that, he also served as Chief Financial Officer for Park Side Federal Credit Union in Montana, Assistant Vice President of Finance for First National Bank of Colorado, and Financial Analyst for First Tennessee Capital Markets. Steven received his Master's of Accountancy from the University of Colorado Denver in 2004 and his BS in Finance from the University of Memphis in 1997. He has volunteered his time to such organizations as Flatirons Habitat for Humanity, Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence, and Western CUNA Management School Alumni Association.
Our Compensation Philosophy