By Sue Moore
Rudy Callen, a guy with so many diverse interests, is embarking upon the next chapter of his life after retiring as CEO of KALSEE Credit Union in Kalamazoo on April 1. He has played rhythm guitar for a band called Belfast Gin for the last twelve years, runs marathons, and continues to serve on the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation, the Vicksburg School Board, the Vicksburg Foundation and the Board of the Michigan Credit Union League in Lansing.
He and his wife, Fawn, have given up lake life on Barton Lake, which was home to their two daughters, to purchase the old Gambles building on S. Main Street in Vicksburg. They have remodeled the upstairs and moved in just before his retirement. “We wanted to be free to pick up and go places at any time, without the worry of taking care of lake property,” Callen said.
As CEO of the credit union, his record of overseeing the assets from $79 million in 2005 to $163 million today, is heartening, said his predecessor Bob Moore who lives on a farm outside of Vicksburg. Moore has known Callen since he was a kid when his dad Tom Callen worked at National Waterlift where the credit union was formed in 1954. Moore served as KALSEE CEO from 1965 until Callen took over in 2005.
Callen opted for the buyout package at Pfizer in 2004 rather than relocate outside of Michigan. Without any plans he went off to deer hunting camp and never returned to Pfizer. He had been on the board of KALSEE for 14 years and when the call came in 2005 to interview for the job, he was ready to accept the new challenge.
As a musician, he plays with the Celtic band that has a diverse repertoire, has made two recordings and is in great demand each year for St. Patrick’s Day performances. Taking guitar lessons in 5th grade, he first played publicly in high school at Loy Norrix. He ran track and cross country in high school and his last memorable appearance was in the 2015 Hearty Hustle in a Superman costume.
His quick wit and incisive mind will be needed in his next endeavor. Wherever that may take him, he will be ready, said Bill Oswalt, president of the Vicksburg Foundation.