USSFCU New HQ Groundbreaking Ceremony
Published: December 7, 2019
On Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 the U. S. Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU) held a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the beginning of what proves to be an incredible new headquarters facility. The new building, located at 1310 Braddock Place in Alexandria, Virginia, gained nationwide attention in May of 2019 when it was announced that the new building would be dedicated in honor of legendary Senate staffer and Capitol Hill icon Bertie Bowman. Mr. Bowman is the longest-serving staffer in Senate history with over 65 years of service on Capitol Hill. Mr. Bowman is also USSFCU’s longest-serving Board Member and has helped steer the direction of the credit union from a few million in assets to now where the credit union is quickly approaching the lofty $1 billion mark.
Founded on October 8, 1935, by nine Senate employees with only $45, USSFCU was originally headquartered in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. As the credit union grew, the small office could no longer hold the USSFCU staff needed to serve their membership. In 1984, with more than $30 million in assets, USSFCU opened its new branch and headquarters in the Hart Senate Office Building. USSFCU enjoyed tremendous growth in the early 90s with mergers that brought the credit union to over $100 million in assets. This growth again required a bigger home and this time USSFCU made the move to Alexandria, Virginia.
A new headquarters building, located on Eisenhower Avenue, opened in 1993 and was dedicated to J. Lewey Caraway. Mr. Caraway, in addition to serving as a board member for many years, also served as the Superintendent of the Senate Office Buildings. Additionally, Mr. Caraway attended the organization meeting on October 8, 1935. The J. Lewey Caraway building is the current home for USSFCU until the new facility is completed, which is scheduled for early 2021.
The new headquarters or Bertie H. Bowman Building officially started its long road to completion with the groundbreaking ceremony. The ceremony was a private, invitation-only event, with a little over 30 people in attendance. In addition to the USSFCU board of directors and senior management, representatives from the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, HITT and JLL also attended. President and CEO Tim Anderson started by addressing the group alongside the board on a blustery morning outside of the building. Mr. Anderson spoke of the credit union’s growth and success over the years.
The ceremony then headed inside where USSFCU Board Chair Ileana Garcia addressed the group. She also touched on the growth of the credit union and made a special mention of Bertie Bowman and his service to the credit union over the years. Mrs. Garcia then presented a golden hammer to Bertie to commemorate the event. Mr. Bowman, standing alongside the other USSFCU board members, expressed his great thanks to everyone involved with the building and how honored he was to have the building named after him. He also mentioned his long and storied journey from small-town South Carolina to sweeping the steps of the Capitol and working his way up to becoming the hearing coordinator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
USSFCU Chairman Emeritus, Chris Shunk, followed Mr. Bowman and laid out the decision to name the new building in Mr. Bowman’s honor. He explained that Bertie was the conscience of the credit union and through all of the growth and expansion; he was a constant voice making sure the credit union was focusing on serving those that needed it most. Mr. Shunk thanked all of those involved with the construction and everyone attending and then opened the floor for statements.
Alexandria Chamber of Commerce President Joe Haggerty congratulated the credit union on the growth they have experienced and on the new building. He then acknowledged longtime Alexandria City Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper, who was also attending. Councilwoman Pepper also congratulated the credit union and thanked them for keeping the credit union in the city of Alexandria.
After a few pictures were taken to mark the occasion, the real fun began as Bertie and the other board members took hammers in hand and got to work knocking down one of the walls on the third floor of the building. Senior management and others then had their turn to take a swing at the wall.
The groundbreaking ceremony signified a continuation of growth and expansion that has been the hallmark of the organization. In the last 84 years, our nation has seen recession, depression and economic hardship. USSFCU has weathered these storms and continued to provide the same stability, security and service its members have come to expect.
More pictures and video of the event coming soon!