BEAR Press Release
On Friday May 27 Eastern Utah Community Credit Union President Mike Milovich was surprised when a group of community business people and government officials greeted him as he walked into his office. They were there to give Milovich the Golden Bear Award, an award that is sponsored by the Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) organization and is presented to outstanding business members and leaders of the community.
But the occasion was more than just an award ceremony. It was a chance for those that gathered to thank Milovich for his many years of service to Carbon County through both governmental work as well as personal commitment. That’s because this past week Milovich retired from EUCCU, where he had been working for over 20 years.
There is a lot to the story of the home grown leader who has served on numerous boards and has been both a city councilman for Helper and a Carbon County Commissioner. His commitment to the area and its people is literally unsurpassed in the area.
Milovich attended school at Notre Dame School, Helper Central School, Helper Junior High and Carbon High School. After graduation he spent four years getting a Finance Degree from the University of Utah, financing that education by working at the Carbon Power Plant during the summer and playing accordion in a dance band.
Once out of school he hit the road working outside the county for some time. His work places included Firestone Tires, Albertsons Food Stores and then taking a job as a loan officer for First Security Bank. But the company didn’t park him in Price or Helper where they had branches, he worked in Spanish Fork, Salt Lake City, Vernal and Rock Springs, Wyoming, before he came home to the branch that existed in Helper at the time.
Milovich’s time with First Security in Rock Springs brought him the position of Vice President/Cashier, and in that capacity he began working on community projects in the Wyoming town.
“We had a very active Jaycee’s organization,” Milovich recalled that afternoon. “We had a great Sub for Santa Program and other fund raisers and were able to raise over $100,000 while I was there.”
When he was moved to the Helper Branch he was hoping it was the last move by the company. He was home. But after a short while the company wanted to move him again.
“I told them that was enough,” he said. “I didn’t want to move any more. I loved working in Rock Springs and in Helper, but I just didn’t want to go anywhere else again.”
He soon found himself working for Zions Bank in Price as a Commercial Loan Officer. He later worked for Bookcliff Sales as a comptroller and he also owned and operated the Helper Foodtown Store on Main Street in Helper.
It was after that that he moved onto EUCCU or Carbon Credit Union as it was known then.
“I have been a lucky man because I have always had a great staff here,” he said as he pointed at the office. “We were in the old building when I began and then we decided to build this new place. It was a bit of a risk but it really has worked out.”
When asked about how he has been successful and in turn the businesses he has been affiliated with have been successful, he had a simple answer.
“Business is about relationships,” he said. “That’s the key to success.”
He also had high praise for his co-workers at EUCCU. While many managers retire because they just don’t want to face the problems associated with management and worker problems, his thoughts on leaving had nothing to do with that.
“There is not a person that works with me here that I would not hire again,” he said. “The staff is outstanding and without them we would not be near as successful as we have been.”
During his time in Carbon County he has served on 16 various boards, either tied to his profession, to his passions or to government. Presently he serves on the Carbon Recreation and Transportation Special Service District Board and the board for the Carbon Water Conservancy District.
He also spent four years on the Helper City Council (1978-82) and then was elected to the Carbon County Commission in 1993. He served there until 2012 when he decided not to run again. During the time he spent in those elected offices he worked on various projects that brought everything from the Helper Parkway to the Carbon County Events Center into existence.
Despite all those endeavors, the thing he seems most proud of is the time he served as an EMT on the Helper Fire Department. He speaks about that often and has a soft spot for emergency services personnel. During his time as a commissioner he worked very hard to make the emergency services throughout the county become stronger and more professional by helping to secure training, equipment and facilities for county and city agencies.
So what is a man who has spent so many years working going to do in retirement?
“I really don’t have any plans,” he said. “I haven’t even thought about it much. I have been working since I was 11 years old and getting up every morning to go to work or school. I don’t know what it will be like to not do that.”
As many see those who have worked in Carbon County, and for the county retiring, some are concerned about the future of the area. But Milovich believes new blood brings new ideas and more success.
“Everyone has to get there (retirement) sometime,” he said. “I think change is always good.”