Dave from Dupaco Community Credit Union

Published ~ January 10th, 2020 | Updated ~ January 10th, 2020

In episode III of Alchemix, we speak with Dave Klavitter, the Chief Marketing Officer, of Dupaco Community Credit Union. Join us as we sip a Tech Killa and talk about the exciting new Dupaco development in the Millwork District. We sure hope Dave likes our blood orange and basil cocktail made with house-made pineapple sour and tequila!


I’m Dave Klavitter from Dupaco Community Credit Union and we are recorded live, East Coast of Iowa at Seven Hills, beautiful Dubuque, Iowa and this is episode three of Alchemix.

Hi, everyone. I’m Carl, mixologist here at Seven Hills Brewery and today we got a great episode. We’ve got Dave joining us from Dupaco, and we’re going to talk about some exciting things happening at Dupaco. I know they’ve got a lot of things going on, a lot of people are probably wondering what they’re doing and what they’re about.

But first, we’re going to enjoy this cocktail.

I’ve been looking forward to this, Carl.

I know. Usually this is the most exciting part of the episode.

All right. So what are we drinking today? What is this?

What are we drinking is Tech Killa. What this is, is a blood orange, basil, tequila cocktail, with homemade pineapple sour mix, that I have.

All right. So you’ve served it in a nice curved glass, what do you call this kind of-


Flute. All right. A flute. And it’s on ice.

On ice.

And it has like a purple-


Purple color. What [crosstalk 00:01:14]

So, that’s going to be from the blood orange.


And then, also, the pineapple sour from diluting the blood orange. It would be deeper purple if I didn’t have that in there but I think it gives a great purple color on it, and you’ll see little pieces of basil chunks in there.

Oh, that’s nice.

Which some people don’t like it. I just like it because it adds a little character to it so …

I like it.

You ready to go at it?

And, this is Tequila, right?


This is, all right, I’m not usually, I don’t usually drink tequila, but this really intrigued me.

Yeah, I think it’s a good flavor profile.

Do we smell it first?

It’s not … we can.

Okay, I smell the orange. I smell the pineapple. Maybe, tequila, does tequila have a smell?

I think it floats in there a little bit, but I think the blood orange helps out a lot. Cheers, buddy.

Cheers. Carl, thanks for having me on your show.

Of course.

Mmmm, that’s really nice, it’s sweet.

Sweet, yeah.

It’s got the basil, you can taste that in there. That’s complex, yeah.

And, the tequila you could taste in there but it doesn’t-

Just barely, just a hint of it.

Right, it’s not overpowering so, there is two ounces of tequila in this, so I like to make sure everyone knows that I do make my cocktails strong because that’s how I drink them at home but I think it gives out at … think about if it was 90 degrees outside, you’re drinking this on your porch, right?

I would drink this when it’s below zero, it’s delicious.

Right. Yeah, but awesome.

I’d drink it any … although, you’ve probably never met a cocktail you didn’t like.


I’ve heard you say that.

They’re pretty tasty. [crosstalk 00:02:40]. I favor some over others, but still a Captain Cook’s still good once in a while.

Well, you know, you take what you can get sometimes.

Right. Exactly. Awesome.

Yeah, thank you for sharing that. I’m glad that-

Awesome. All right, yeah. Enjoy it throughout the whole show.

I will. I will early and often, sip, sip.

So, Dupaco’s got some exciting things going on. You got some construction going on.

Yeah, we do.

What do we got going on today?

Well, you know, what we have going on? We’ll talk about our new corporate operations center, our headquarters. That does not sound exciting at all but it is. It’s very exciting, especially for Dubuque, especially for our member-owners and our employees.


So, those of you who may not be familiar with Dupaco Community Credit Union, in short, we’re a cooperative, we’re owned by members. We were started in 1948 by ten employees of the Dubuque Packing Company and that actually was located just about eight blocks from where we’re sitting today.

Oh really, wow.

So, those meat packers lived in this neighborhood. They raised kids in this neighborhood, and they worked in the pack. Which was men and women working on the line, very dangerous work and they had to look out for each other on the line to make sure they didn’t chop off a finger or whatever and they said, “you know, when it comes to our money we should look out for each other, too” and ten employees pulled their savings together and started the credit union.

Oh, wow.

And, it’s founded on the principles of thrift, access to affordable credit and mutual self-help. On the democratic principle of cooperation and member control of their own money to improve their economic and social condition. It sounds like a big definition but that’s why we were started.

And then that totally makes sense where the name comes from now.

Yeah, Dupaco, it’s an acronym for Dubuque Packing Company. Dupaco.

That’s awesome. Awesome. So, what do we have, what’s the construction that you guys are doing. I know it doesn’t sound super sexy but it’s looking kind of sexy.

Yeah, this is really cool because in 1948, those ten employees, we now have, those ten members, we now have 115,000 members and they live all throughout Iowa. Actually members, when they move away from Iowa, they love the credit union technology, allows us to stay connected with those members. So, we have members in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and 24 countries around the world. Connected by technology but Dupaco remains their financial advocate.

I mean technology makes it pretty easy to do that, right?

Right. Well, we’re ones and … money is digitized. Like music or any other content, but advise and knowledge and an advocate is a differentiator and that’s what Dupaco represents.


You know Dupaco’s grown. We have, what I call back shop operations, or we have telephone contact center, we have information technologies. This drink is called Tech Killa, you know we have Killa Tech at Dupaco but we need a place to have these folks work and so in Dubuque … Dubuque is a really cool, unique town in that we have the Mississippi River. We have cool, rolling tree lined river bluffs, historic architecture and really cool, old mill working buildings, unlike any place else in the world. Many of which have been vacant and neglected so we’re repurposing one beautiful building right beyond this wall here.

I was going to say, it’s like-

Right beyond that wall. If we could just break through we’d be in that space.


So, it’s five stories and Dupaco will occupy a portion of that and then once we move in, the first and second floor, we’ll look for complementary tenants or community spaces that will help people in the neighborhood or in the community.

So, that’s going to be cool. Probably have 120 employees working there when we open in the fall of 2020. Fall of 2020.

So, a little over a year.

A little over a year, right. And, they’ll come down here. We’re leasing space in other parts of the town and all those employees will finally come together in one cool, collaborative spot.

Okay. So, instead of having, I know you’ve got the branch on Pennsylvania and then you’ve got that office space off JFK, you’re going to more … I mean, are there still going to be branches there or-


Just your main office back end people?

This will just be our back shop, so all our retail branches will remain open.


Nothing will close. We’ll just allow that space to be used for direct, face-to-face member service. So, instead of having an IT person occupying a space on a very busy road, we’ll say, “hey, this is really only the member service representative, so that we can spend time talking to members about their money.

Gotcha. Awesome. That’s cool.

It is cool.

I mean it’s awesome that you guys … I mean it’s only been what, 6, 70, 71 years, right, if I’m doing my math right here?

Yeah. You’re doing your math right. Good job.

Didn’t have enough of these yet, so. But, no that’s awesome going from just 71 years to this. I mean it’d be interesting to see what those ten people who started this to see where it’s come up now, you know?

Yeah, yeah.

Is there family still involved from those ten, that you’re aware of or not sure?

I know that a lot of their, the family, the descendants are Dupaco members.

Okay, nice.

We are run by a nine person volunteer board of directors, who are elected from the membership.


So, they are accountable to the members. They don’t get paid but they ensure that the credit union operates in the best interest of the members.

That’s a smart move.

Well, yeah, that’s the essence of the cooperative. That’s why we exist. Every member gets one vote, no matter how much money they have in the cooperative. So, it’s wonderful model. I love it. Dupaco does a thing called Thank You’s, so we want our members to know that the more they participate in the cooperative, they’re owners so they should share in the profits, the success.

So, we give back to our members every year in the form of Thank You’s, a bonus dividend.


Yeah, it’s really cool.

That’s awesome. I mean it’s like, mostly when you hear about a bank you just hear about like you just go in there for a checking account or to get a car loan. You don’t really see what they’re helping to do to the community themselves and to be a part of the community.

Carl, you know you’re right about that. It’s a great observation because financial products and services are commoditized, meaning a checking account’s a checking account, a loan’s a loan. What makes us different? And, that is, for Dupaco, it’s that member advocacy role, that trust. Trusted financial partner throughout your whole entire life.

Right, and that’s awesome. I mean, we moved here 18 months ago, 19 months ago and we had to move our business … well, I mean we could have kept it where we were at but I just wanted it to be local, have banking for local business and we chose you guys just because you guys were enough locations everywhere. You guys were open, a branch at least seven days a week, somewhere and it’s been a pleasure so-

I’m glad. I work for you. You’re a member and an owner.

That’s awesome.

And here’s another reason, you know, taking a beautiful, lingering or decrepit liability in our town and turning it into something useful and cool and sustainable.

That’s what Keith pretty much thought about this building too, you know,

Absolutely right.

I mean he thought … he turned this into a pretty bad ass brewery, restaurant, you know.

I like that. This is-

And cocktail place.

Well, Carl, I don’t know where you grew up. I grew up in Dubuque and moved away.


Where’d you grow up?

I’m from Muscatine.

Muscatine, okay, another river town.

Yep, I lived there til 99, then moved out, lived in Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, so I lived basically Eastern Iowa my whole life. So, you know, this is definitely … I lived here in the mid 2000s, came back, it’s vastly grown in past ten years that I’ve been away and it’s awesome. It’s exciting for sure.

It’s, you know, people look for unique experiences, life experiences, and Dubuque offers that by the very fact that I’m sitting here in this old lumber storage building, you know, for Seven Hills, drinking a Tech Killa with my friend Carl, right here and talking to people from wherever they may listening or watching.

Right, exactly. Well, hey, Dave, I know everyone’s excited for it, but you guys … and also, I guess the last thing is guys just redid your website, right? You guys just launched that a couple weeks ago-

We did.

So that’s pretty exciting.

It is exciting. It’s our, you know the storefront to the mainly non-members and members use it too but it’s just, it gives our … people thinking and considering joining the cooperative and being a part of something really cool and special, gives them a taste for what we’re about.

Right, because I mean I know you guys do more stuff than just banking right?I know you guys create great videos to help members out with questions they might have, educational classes. I mean, you guys got a lot of great things coming up so …

We have a foundation we started. We can go on, I could talk more and you know credit unions are actually part of a worldwide movement. There’s a world council of credit unions and maybe that’s another episode.

I think so.

I’d love a reason to come back and-

Come back and try another one.

Another drink and talk about how credit unions are working in other countries to get other credit unions started.

Right, because I think there’s probably a lot of people that don’t know the difference between a credit union and a bank.


So, yeah, awesome. Well, hey, thanks for coming out.

Hey, thanks, Carl.

I appreciate it.

Thank you.

Enjoy the rest of this cocktail.

Yeah, here’s to Alchemix.

All right, guys, til next episode, have a good day.