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It is with mixed emotions that I announce the retirement of Patrick Brooke, chief financial officer, effective November 30, 2018. While Pat is looking forward to returning to the Illinois area to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, he will remain connected to Bethel after November 30, assisting with special projects on a part-time basis. We are grateful to his wife, Mary Kay, and the rest of the family for continuing to share Pat with us.

Pat has led us to a better financial position in remarkable ways. As part of his work to rebuild the finance team, Pat insisted on budget discipline and developed comparative annual financial reports to keep us accountable. Pat developed reliable long-term financial forecasts and models that helped us identify budget challenges in advance. He also designed with integrity creative solutions in working with operating issues and capital expenditures. Beyond day-to-day financial matters, Pat kept us focused on the long view, helping us see the importance of building endowment and took steps to help us get there. Externally, Pat helped us achieve an investment grade bond rating and led us through a refinance of our 2007 bonds to bring us a lower rate and to free up some funds for capital investments.

It is important for me to share that Pat’s heart for employees’ financial well-being was big. He paid special attention to the defined benefit plan and identified strategic solutions to balance our operating budget needs while ensuring the plan’s long-term stability. During the budgeting process, Pat prioritized salary increases and competitive benefits first. Pat also strategically increased the defined contribution plan from 3% to 5% and funded a zero percent employee health insurance increase a historic two consecutive years (calendar year 2018 and next year, calendar year 2019!) Although the development of the staff compensation plan has been on hold, Pat has funded a small budget to allow us to address our most pressing staff compensation needs.

Plans are underway for filling the chief financial officer role. I will provide more details as decisions are made and plans finalized. Details about a retirement gathering for Pat will be shared later this fall in E-Announcements.

Serving together,