Ryan Ellsworth Is the 2024 Outstanding CEO

At Elevate 2024, the League’s Convention, Ryan Ellsworth was presented with the prestigious James M. Gratto Award, honoring an outstanding credit union CEO. Ellsworth, who is now serving in his tenth year as CEO of The County FCU, was nominated by his employees for this recognition because of his compassion, commitment to community, and generous spirit.

Over the course of his tenure as CEO, Ellsworth has guided the credit union through tremendous growth. With over $460 million in assets, The County FCU is now one of the largest credit unions in the state. Its evolution is the result of organic growth, strong indirect lending, two mergers, and of course, Ellsworth’s robust leadership.

In his award nomination, his colleague addressed the merger with Penobscot County FCU sharing how, “Ryan remained devoted to acting in the best interests of each entity independently, while maintaining the highest service standard in both operations. Managing one credit union is a challenge, but two at the same time is a juggling act not for the faint of heart. Ryan always put his team and community first. He worked attentively to ensure staff were cared for.”

The County FCU CEO Ryan Ellsworth recognizes his team during his award acceptance speech.

Beyond his responsibilities as CEO, Ellsworth is engaged with the Aroostook Chapter of Credit Unions and serves on the Board of CU Insurance Solutions. Outside of the credit union movement, he’s active in a variety of civic efforts. He is involved with the Rotary Club of Caribou and is an initiated Mason through the Trinity Lodge. He also is a member of the Presque Isle Development Fund Council, where he previously served as its chairman.

Ellsworth also has a deep commitment to philanthropy. In addition to supporting the Campaign for Ending Hunger, The County FCU has donated over $300,000 in the last three years alone to assist local schools, scholarship programs, community organizations, and Maine Special Olympics. He also organized the credit union’s Compliments of the County initiative. Through this effort, staff can gift generosities to individuals and local businesses who employees feel are deserving of recognition.

Ellsworth has worked hard to create an environment where his employees feel valued and appreciated. As noted in his nomination, “Often in a workplace you refer to your co-workers as family. Ryan proves to his team that this is not a cliché but in fact the truth. The humanness of a CEO all too often gets lost in the title. Many CEOs operate from 1,000 feet looking down at the organization—moving the chess pieces necessary to ensure financial success and viability. Ryan works more often on the ground and alongside his team in the most humble and supportive of ways…He’s often heard expressing the importance of making time for family and cherishing the moments that matter in each other’s lives.”

His ability to roll up his sleeves and help with any duty also was highlighted in his nomination. “There’s nothing he asks of his team that he wouldn’t be willing to jump in and help on. Being a leader that’s not above any task reinforces outstanding leadership. Leading one of the largest credit unions in the state while maintaining the willingness to change a lightbulb before asking someone else to do it demonstrates his authenticity as a leader.”

On behalf of Maine’s credit union movement, thank you, Ryan, for serving as an exceptional CEO. Congratulations on your much-deserved honor!