By Ryan Cornell
Navy Federal Credit Union officially finished its expansion process Tuesday when it opened the second building at its Winchester operations center.
About 50 people attended the grand opening. Remarks from Vice President of Operations Susan Brooks, President and CEO Cutler Dawson, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10, and Frederick County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Shickle preceded the ribbon-cutting.
Brooks described the opening as a milestone for the team and community.
"If there's one thing I love about Winchester..." Brooks said. "When I moved here, one of the things I found so endearing and helpful to me were the partnerships we formed with the EDC, Lord Fairfax, Shenandoah."
Dawson spoke about the events in the company's history that led up to this moment. He recounted the credit union buying the Winchester building for use as a recovery center 10 years ago. He said he decided to turn it into a call center when he became president and CEO in 2004.
He added that in the credit union's 80 years of business, it's never had to lay off an employee.
"We have a hundred that are already working in this building, which has the capacity for 450 folks," Dawson said. "So by the time that we're done, we believe we're going to have over 1,400 people working in this facility, and we're very excited about it."
Wolf, who has served 17 terms in Congress, shared his fondness for the Winchester area.
"It's a great place to live," Wolf said. "Great schools, good restaurants, safe community. And if your employees in Vienna had the opportunity and knew what Winchester was like, they would evacuate."
Shickles represented the Frederick County Board of Supervisors as a member of the finance committee, joint finance committee, Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center board alternate. He also serves as the vice president of administration and finance at Shenandoah University.
"The announced 450 new jobs are the most jobs announced by a single private business in northern Shenandoah Valley in recent memory," he said.
Employing more than 800 employees and adding 450 new jobs over the next five years, the world's largest credit union also is one of the region's largest employers.
Many of the 100 employees who will begin their first day at the center this month were hired from the credit union's job fair at Lord Fairfax Community College in early June.
The two-story building totals 56,000 square feet and was supported by a capital investment of about $20 million. Ground for the center was first broken last September.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org