DPhoto of Dave Roughton wearing a blue suit, white dress shirt, and yellow tie.ave Roughton is a well-known Sacramento businessman regarded for his industry and community leadership and probably most known as the President/CEO for SAFE Credit Union. Afterall, he has been in a leadership position with the credit union for over two decades, serving as President & CEO since 2016. Beyond this responsibility, Dave is also a ProjectAttain! board member who has helped steer our organization through formation to launch.

SAFE stands for Sacramento Air Force Employees because the credit union was originally formed to provide financial services to employees at the former McClellan Air Force Base. Fast forward to today – and certainly much to Dave’s credit – SAFE is now a $4.2 billion locally owned and managed consumer and commercial financial institution that serves nearly 245,000 members, employs 750, and has expanded to 20 branches throughout the Sacramento region.

While working to grow SAFE’s membership, awareness, and geographic footprint, Dave has also long been an active industry and community advocate, dedicating his volunteer life toward organizations that strive to make our communities better. ProjectAttain! is only one of many grateful organizations that has benefited from his profound impact. His community service contributions have been so impactful in fact, that his achievements have been celebrated over and over with recognitions like:

  • 2021 Distinguished Achievement Award by the UC Davis, Graduate School of Management
  • 2019 California Advocate of the Year by the California Credit Union League
  • 2018 Businessman of the Year by the Sacramento Metro Chamber

Dave was also named a Most Admired CEO by the Sacramento Business Journal earlier this year for the exemplary leadership he displayed during the challenges posed by the pandemic. The business publication pointed to the extraordinary actions Dave took to make sure that credit union members could access the financial products and services they needed to manage COVID-related economic impacts. And, internally, he implemented new tools and policies in response to the public health crisis that put the health and well-being of SAFE’s employees at the top of the company’s priority list.

With Dave’s retirement date ringing in with the New Year, it seems appropriate timing to revisit these types of accolades and to reflect on the many contributions that Dave has afforded our region.

Putting people first is Dave’s self-described leadership philosophy, which is also at the root of ProjectAttain!’s mission. We exist to make it possible for adults to advance their social mobility and economic prosperity through the power of education.

For a whole variety of reasons and often not by choice, many of our region’s adults have confronted hardships that required them to pause their education and that has real consequences on economic opportunity and social well-being. In fact, nearly a million individuals ages 25 to 64 in the greater Sacramento area fall into this category. All while the region’s employers are facing unprecedented workforce shortfalls and employee skills gaps that could otherwise be filled if a larger pool of trained talent was available to fill job vacancies.

Dave’s business acumen meant he understood these circumstances and saw the need for an advocate like ProjectAttain! to help adults get back on track once they are ready to return. An organization capable of monitoring and coordinating the regional education landscape and that can stay focused on identifying opportunities, attracting investment, and creating the alignment and coordination necessary to achieve real and meaningful outcomes.

For ProjectAttain!, Dave’s participation on the board has been invaluable in translating this vision into reality. He helped us take an idea to an initiative and then an initiative into a strong and stable social impact organization that today is helping adults find their way back to a degree, certificate, or diploma.

We are immensely grateful for all that Dave has done to help us improve educational attainment outcomes for those who deserve a fresh chance, to improve equitable outcomes for those who have been overlooked or underserved, and to improve economic outcomes for employers that struggle to find qualified, skilled, and reliable employment candidates.

Dave knew that building this foundation and helping to situate ProjectAttain! into a full-fledged organization was necessary to meet this challenge, that it was possible to organize education partners through collective action that could manage, solve, and dissolve the challenges associated with adult educational attainment, and that it would be worth all our efforts when close to a million people in this region do not need to sit outside the realm of opportunity.

ProjectAttain! is grateful for his time, talents, and dedication to our cause and we wish him continued success in the next chapter of life.