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Craig Wondra
Senior Examiner
Bloomington, Minnesota

"It's rewarding to work with new employees and see them learn and grow in their roles and get commissioned. It's also rewarding to see institutions take measures to become safer and stronger."

Craig Wondra"I learned about FCA when Agency staff came to interview students at my college, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in agriculture business. My adviser and a college professor, who was a former FCA examiner, both recommended FCA as a good place to work. I was interviewed, offered a job as an examiner, and began work in January 1999, right after I graduated.

"I did not have a banking background, but did have a farming background. I grew up on a small dairy farm near Mayville, Wisconsin, with about 50 dairy cows and 200 acres of land. Along with my five siblings, I helped out with farm chores.

"I was in a pretty structured training program for the first three to four years of my career, until I became a commissioned examiner. I took formal classes along with on-the-job training, where I worked alongside commissioned examiners to learn the job.

"I've been in the Office of Examination in Bloomington, Minnesota, throughout my entire career at FCA. I've worked in different areas—first as an examiner, then on the division that trains new examiners and now in the Risk Supervision Division. I believe my training prepared me well and gave me the needed background. Once you are trained, you can follow your interests.

"When I attend college recruitment fairs, I mention salary, government benefits, and other interesting aspects of the job as benefits of working at FCA. You can have a desk job here but still be involved in agriculture. For many new examiners, travel is also a big incentive.

"I don't really have structured days. That's one of the good things about the job. There are days when you come into the office and the day may turn out completely different than you expected. I still participate in some examinations, but most of my travel now is to go to meetings with boards of directors. I travel about as much now as when I first joined FCA, but my trips are shorter, so I'm away for fewer nights. I enjoy some travel but, with two small children, it's harder to be away from home.

"Since joining FCA, I have improved my communication skills—both writing and giving presentations. I've also learned how to be more persuasive with bank personnel. It's important to explain the reasoning behind your conclusions so others better understand your view of a situation. I have also learned how to analyze information and come up with conclusions.

"Some of the presentations were challenging when I was a newer examiner. It can be a little daunting at first to present to a group of experienced bankers. Some of the examination concepts and issues are complicated and you need to work with your team to get the right answer.

"I have been fortunate to work with some great people both in the Bloomington office and the whole agency. Even though I'm not involved in production agriculture, I'm still able to have a connection with the farming industry.

"The flexible benefits that come with a federal job are very good also. There are many opportunities for advancement, and you get the chance to work with different people and challenges.

"It's rewarding to work with new employees and see them learn and grow in their roles and get commissioned. It's also rewarding to see institutions take measures to become safer and stronger.

"I've had quite a few mentors in the Bloomington office over the years. If I have a question, I feel comfortable asking a coworker for their input. There's always been a support system in that sense. I've been here 15 years already, and the time has gone by very quickly."

Posted September 13, 2013