Today we bid farewell and best wishes to long-time SRDC Finance Director Dianne Crowley as she embarks on her retirement. SRDC has been around for 48 years. Of that time, Dianne has been a part of the SRDC team for 42 years and 9 months. She has guided our finances and helped expand not only the role of finance in our organization, but also the organization’s capacity to serve the region. Before Dianne’s departure, we asked her a few questions to get a small glimpse into her time with the organization and a look into her work.
What was the SRDC like in the early years?
When I started we were located in the basement of a bank in Slayton where I trained for 2 days and then was on my own in the backroom with a table, chair and a space heater. We had paper journals and ledgers with a handful of programs. The large main room had cubicles around the outside with a copy room in the back and tables and chairs in the center. We held Board meetings there in the evenings. The SRDC completed quarterly newsletters at the time and all staff would gather around to fold and prepare them for mailing. I worked part-time at the beginning, completing payroll, checks and reports of all types. The auditors came once a year and compiled the yearend information and conducted the audit. Since it seemed odd to me that we would not complete our records in entirety, I asked what needed to be prepared for the audit report and we expanded the role of finance.
We moved across the street to the Beal Warehouse building in Slayton. We pushed our rolling chairs down the sidewalk and we now had separate offices with a boardroom in the back. The SRDC purchased two displaywriters for support staff to complete letters and reports and one computer that housed the first financial program. We joined the computer age. As time went on the displaywriters were replaced by computers and eventually all staff had their own.
How has the organization and your work changed over the years?
SRDC has gone from around 10 staff members to 22 and back down to 10. Programs from State Planning, Manpower and Criminal Justice changed to Area Agency on Aging, Transportation, Economic Development and Revolving Loan Funds. As the programs changed so did the need for budgeting and financial reporting requirements and the need for more staff in the finance department. An Accounting Specialist was hired to complete daily finance activities and was a welcome addition to the SRDC. The Finance Department continued to take on more and more activities, including grants management for the Aging Program and the Revolving Loan Fund programs. In addition, many organizations have had their start at the SRDC and we did our best to provide financial expertise for their many program requirements and provide them with a solid base as they transitioned on their own.
After 20+ years and the addition of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to the financial activity of the Commission, SRDC outgrew its first computer software program and we transitioned to our second financial software, and then after 10 years, as software phased out, we merged once again. As luck would have it, I needed to begin the software transition one more time as I prepared for retirement.
What motivates you in your work?
My love of numbers and analyzing them to reap the most benefit for the region.
What are you most looking forward to in your retirement?
I plan to spend more time with family and friends and explore other hobbies and adventures that await me as I retire.
Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
My best wishes to the new SRDC Finance Director as she finalizes the financial software transition, and although I have tried to impart my financial knowledge to help the SRDC in the future, I hope that the SRDC understands and appreciates all finance personnel that they encounter as finance is a vital part of this organization and organizations throughout the world. I leave the SRDC having done my part to help those in our communities and I hope that the SRDC will continue to provide worthwhile programs to improve our region.
Our best wishes to Dianne for a happy retirement! We are beyond thankful for her many years of dedicated service to the SRDC and to the region.