Employee profile: Derekia Richards


“I was supposed to be a boy, but I wasn’t.”  With that, Derekia (pronounced ‘Erica’ but with a D- in front) quickly explains the origin of her interesting first name.  “My parents didn’t have a girl’s name picked out, and since the doctor had assured my mother I was going to be a boy, they knew they were going to name me ‘Derek.’  It’s been the topic of a lot of conversation over the years.”

Derekia Richards has been employed as a teller since June 3.  She has worked in financial institutions before (Lakes Area Credit Union), where she worked as a teller, administrative assistant and loan officer.  Prior to joining GRSB, she worked in the on-line sales department at Glen’s Army Navy Surplus, where her job was to make sure orders were filled and shipped from various vendors to customers from all over the country. 

“That job was interesting, but I enjoy getting to see customers face-to-face again,” said Derekia.  “I like the interaction with the people I’m helping; that’s important to me and I think it’s important to them.”

Derekia grew up in Deadwood, South Dakota, and her father and grandfathers on both sides of her family all worked for the Homestake Gold Mine in nearby Lead.  Until it closed in 2001, Homestake was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America. 

“Our families had years of history at that mine,” said Derekia.  “If you visit the Open Cut, there is a plaque with the names of the families who worked at the mine.  It’s a ‘who’s who’ of my family history.”                                 

Derekia left the Black Hills after high school to attend Mankato State University where she earned a social studies education degree.  “I went to school to become a teacher,” said Derekia, “but along the way we had two kids.  I started teaching when they were old enough for day care, but I found that teaching wasn’t my passion.”

Derekia moved to Grand Rapids in 2005 to be near the family of her children’s’ father.  They offered to help with the kids, Austin and Ana, and Derekia appreciated that help. 

“I love the Grand Rapids area,” explained Derekia.  “The trees, the outdoors, the hunting and fishing: it’s a lot like the area where I grew up in South Dakota, believe it or not.  I love, love, love walleye fishing, and we spend a lot of time in the boat. 

“Our family is also softball central each summer,” Derekia continued.  “My significant other, Lance Kuschel, plays softball; so do I and so does my 10-going-on-25-year old daughter, Ana.”

Ana is the energetic athlete, while Derekia’s son, Austin, aged 13, and is an active youngster with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome.  He is artistic, creative and enjoyed participating in a recent Grand Rapids Players’ theatrical production. 

“I’m not sure how two kids can be so different coming from the same parents,” said Derekia, “but they are.  Their interests take us in different directions.  When I leave work, I go to work in my other full-time job: mother, homemaker and schedule coordinator.”

Derekia is looking forward to what her new job at GRSB will bring.  “I learn something new every day,” she said.  “I look forward to seeing where this job will take me.”

Hawaii  Derekia's Family  Derekia Walleye Fishing

L to R: Derekia on the beach in Hawaii; with her family (Lance, Austin, Ana & Derekia) at a Vikings game; and enjoying one of her passions, walleye fishing.


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