meet the team
Our CAS team is completely mobile, spending their time wandering the open highways of Manitoba, contemplating the meaning of the universe… well, not really – they’re contemplating how best to serve you and your business! Each CAS account manager is an expert in his or her field, from the nitty-gritty of running a business to the details of personal lending.
Below is a quick introduction of each member of the team, along with his or her contact information so you can get in touch!
Now based in Stonewall, Ian grew up tossing bales on a grain farm in Argyle, Manitoba – so he understands agriculture. Ian holds a diploma in Business Administration from Red River College, and began his finance career with Sunova in 2005 before joining the Stonewall branch in his current position in 2008.
Ian is a sports nut and can’t wait until his son James is old enough to join in the fun. He also loves taking family vacations with his wife Laura and James, especially to Walt Disney World in Florida. Ian considers himself to be very lucky in all aspects of his life – from having supportive and loving family all around, to having women in his life who are amazing bakers! He can make himself hungry just talking about their baking. Feel free to bring Ian baked goods in an attempt to lower your mortgage interest rates – he can’t guarantee it will help, but it’s worth a shot!
Ian works in the community that he lives and was raised in. His pride in his community means that he wants to see your business succeed and will do everything he can to help. Ian’s goal is to be a ‘partner’ in your business, and to provide you with the advice and guidance you need to ensure that your farm or business is on the right path.
Richard holds a diploma in Business Administration from Red River College and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg, and has been working in commercial lending for over 20 years.
Richard’s idea of paradise is spending time at his cottage on Lee River in Lac du Bonnet, where he enjoys golfing, fishing, and hanging out around the fire pit with friends. He boldly loves the black sheep of ice cream flavours: Tiger Tiger. He also lives by his mantra of remembering to make time for fun in your life – by enjoying angel food cake loaded with icing. Life is too short to be stingy with icing!
The commercial and agricultural services department understands how important your time is to you. Although he is based in Winnipeg, Richard enjoys being able to travel to you in order to get a first hand look at your business, so you don’t have to waste your valuable time travelling to and from appointments!
Sasha was born and raised in Ukraine, moved to Canada in 2002, and now works in the Oakbank area. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2010 with a business degree from the Asper School of Business, and has been working in banking for over six years. In that time, Sasha has enjoyed learning new things from members that he wouldn’t have had an opportunity to learn in any other industry.
Sasha believes that his greatest talent is working to turn his dreams into reality. He believes in choosing to be lucky and working hard, instead of just waiting around hoping. His proactive attitude has yet to help him find a particular type of ice cream that he loved in Ukraine, but luckily Canada is brimming with his second favourite food: potatoes.
As an account manager in the commercial and agricultural services department, Sasha can help you get your business to where you want it to be. On the other hand, if what you really want is to see a fancy car on the driveway of your new home – he’d love to help you with that, too!
Larry Watkins is a commercial and agricultural services account manager working out of Beausejour, where he has lived for the past 20 years. He comes from a finance background with a major in accounting, which allows him to better understand businesses and their financial issues.
Larry is a true outdoorsman, but he’s just as comfortable in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes – his favourite dessert is his own chocolate chip cookie recipe! Larry prides himself on being able to say that he has rarely passed on any opportunity that has come his way. He believes in living life to the fullest!
Larry has years of experience in the finance and business industry and has been able to help many members fulfill their dreams – many of them multiple times over. He will meet with you at your residence or place of business to review your commercial or agricultural needs, and to help you take the next step to make your dreams a reality!
Michael Bjarnarson is an account manager with Sunova’s commercial and agricultural services department, working out of Beausejour. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Agri-Business from the University of Manitoba, and has been working in the field of commercial and agricultural lending for the past ten years. He is married with two kids, and enjoys spending time in the outdoors. Fishing and hunting are hobbies, and his favourite dessert is quite fitting of an outdoorsman: pumpkin pie!
Michael feels lucky to have had the opportunity to work with a number of different business owners who have helped him learn more about their businesses and industries. He credits these relationships with helping him develop his knowledge and experience as a lender, and is glad that in his profession, there is never a dull moment and always something new to learn!
Michael is happy to offer his expertise in commercial and agricultural real estate financing, personal lending, equipment financing, operating credit, and business planning.
Cheri Saramaga is new to the world of lending, but not to the world of agriculture! She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba and worked in research for 17 years. She is based out of Cook’s Creek, where her, her husband, and her 3-year-old daughter are building their grain farm – 500 acres and growing!
Cheri is very analytical – she likes to research, collect information, and study topics ‘to death’! Her ‘geeky’ side reveals itself through her collection of field guides to identify weeds, insects, bird, flowers, and trees. Although she always thinks like a scientist, Cheri also knows how to take the time to play! She loves to laugh, has a habit of ending her day with a treat, and might just enjoy jumping on the trampoline more than her three year old! Cheri considers herself lucky to be able to partner with entrepreneurs, making businesses and the community brighter! She believes in providing prompt and friendly customer service, and taking the time to understand your business. Cheri will provide products that are tailored to meet your needs, because she wants to help you make your business succeed!