Passing On the Gifts
By Scott Schulte
June 2, 2009
On any given weekend, you might find University of Utah Federal Credit Union CEO Jack Buttars in his self-made woodshop teaching his children a craft he loves. He knows the value of being groomed and taught by someone influential in life, since former credit union CEO Phil Janovak helped prepare him for the biggest job of his career.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have people around me in my career who were excellent teachers,” Buttars says. “It’s one thing to be able to do something well. It’s a great quality when you can teach others how to reach their potential. That’s a great gift.”
Buttars learned about woodwork in part because he used his skill as a framer to put himself through college. Now it’s something Buttars uses as a way to spend time with his family and relax from a hectic financial industry.
“I think I like to do these things because it’s a nice way to decompress. It’s something I just really enjoy,” he says, adding that he also likes to create gifts, because hand-made gifts mean more to the recipient.
Buttars joined the credit union in August of 2001, working his way up through the ranks as audit manager, chief of staff, vice president of operations and executive vice president before moving into the position as CEO in January this year.
“One of the things I have learned is that to be successful you have to be surrounded by good people, with high morals and good character,” Buttars says. “These are people who also love the credit union and we all have the same goal of seeing this company succeed and grow.”
Buttars believes utilizing the input from such people in a variety of areas, including technology and new products, will bring the company continued success.
“It wouldn’t be wise to shut out other people and their ideas,” Buttars says. “Advice from others is good. Bringing in different ideas from different people is only going to widen the scope of how things get done.”
As for working in the financial industry in the current economy, Buttars also remains optimistic.
“This is a tough time, no doubt,” he says. “But the economy is always changing and things are going to get better. We’re all going to grow as people.”
“It might be hard to sit back and see it right now, but it’s the tough times when we find out what we’re made of. It’s the tough times that we look back on and realize it was those times that made us better people.”