Co-operative leaders set for ‘Hall of Fame’ welcome

Four co-operative leaders will become part of the Co-operative Hall of Fame this week during a special ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

Four co-operative leaders will become part of the Co-operative Hall of Fame this week during a special ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

The annual event is the highest honor in the co-operative community and will take place on Wednesday May 2 as part of several events during the week focusing on co-operatives.

The four leaders who are being inducted are: cooperative educator, Dr. Michael Cook; cooperative agri-business leader, William Davisson; consumer cooperative developer, William Gessner; and, cooperative banker, Charles Snyder.

Gasper Kovach, Jr., Board Chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation said: “The roster of the Cooperative Hall of Fame tells the story of the U.S. cooperative community through the lives and accomplishments of extraordinary individuals. Induction to the Cooperative Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made genuinely heroic contributions to the cooperative community.”

Each of the leaders represents a different area in the co-operative movement.

Dr. Michael Cook, Professor in Co-operative Leadership, will receive the honor for his work in Education. Through his applied research on the role of co-operatives; he has developed materials that have helped a generation of co-operative leaders to be more effective managers of co-operative business enterprises.

William Davidson, retired CEO of GROWMARK, Inc, is being honored for Agriculture and Farm Credit. As the CEO of GROWMARK he put them through a period of strong growth, and is credited with creating an innovative co-op structure that led to improved cash patronage back to it’s members.

William Gessner, Co-operative developer and member of CDS Consulting Co-operative, has worked in the food co-operative community for 35 years. He is being honored in Consumer Good and Services for work helping to set up consumer-owned retail groceries.

Charles Synder, President and CEO, National Co-operative Bank, is being honored for work in Banking and Co-operative Development. He has played a transformational role in the bank and is responsible for NCB’s commitment to Mission Banking. He also helped to achieve important landmarks such as the establishment of the name, and the development of the marketing tool the Coop 100.

Before the Hall of Fame there will be a a Co-operative Issues Forum, a public event where topics important to the co-operative community can be discussed. It is being co-hosted by the Co-operative Development Forum and the Overseas Co-operative Development Council.
In celebration of the 2012 UN’s International Year of Co-operatives, the theme of the event will be US development work overseas.

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