Steamboat Springs Irlan Neas has given many people the chance to make Steamboat Springs their home during his 54 years of work in the banking industry.
Those whom Neas has given a helping hand, friends and fellow Steamboat business leaders celebrated his retirement Thursday at Vectra Bank.
"I always had a great respect for Irlan's ability to know what the community needed," longtime friend Don Kinney said. Kinney said he has known Neas since 1956, when he became part-owner of a drug store next to Routt County National Bank, where Neas worked. He said Neas has been a close friend ever since.
Neas' experience in banking started in his youth. His dad was a banker and he worked at a young age cleaning the bank.
Neas, 73, began his work in Steamboat at Routt County National Bank, now Wells Fargo, and later transferred to Vectra Bank. He worked in numerous positions during his career.
Neas said he enjoyed helping people over the years. "It has a warming effect like a doctor would treat a patient," he said.
He said he always advised people when they came to him for a loan.
Nancy and Bob Albertini said Neas made it possible for them to get established in Steamboat. Bob Albertini said when they first came here, their circumstances made getting a loan seem impossible, but Neas gave them the chance they needed.
"We love Irlan," Nancy Albertini said.
Neas is known for basing his business on personal relations and not the bottom line.
"He's the best relationship banker in Steamboat and banked to generations," said Jim Simon, former president of Vectra Bank.
Simon said the trust Neas built with the community added to the success the bank experienced over the past 11 years.
"Irlan has contributed significantly to the growth of the bank."
Michelle Teachout, branch manager at Vectra Bank, said when people found out Neas had accepted a position, the phone started ringing off the hook with customers.
She said Neas was always willing to help customers even with basic questions.
"We'll miss him miss his smiling face," she said.
Pat McClelland, who worked for Neas for 20 years, said they grew up in banking together.
"He taught me all the principles of banking that carried me through five (bank) name changes, and I survived because of him," he said. McClelland said Neas' dedication to his customers is what makes him exceptional at his work.
Neas' contribution to the community didn't stop with his work. He was the mayor of Steamboat for 10 years, a City Council member, past president of many committees, including the Chamber Resort Association, board member for Yampa Valley Medical Center and the Yampa Valley Electric Association and was the founder and board member for 25 years of Fish Creek Water and Sanitation.
Neas has devoted most of his life to banking and business in Steamboat and is now looking forward to spending time pursuing other things.
His wife, Jean, said they have a lot of trips planned for the summer. She said they are going to visit their daughter, Sandra, who lives in Pennsylvania, and are taking an Alaskan cruise next week. Retiring, she said, was a hard decision for Neas to make, but she is glad he will get to enjoy the rest of the summer and having time off.
"He needs to enjoy the golden years; we're happy his health is good," Simon said.