Some things are just built to last

July 12, 2017 | GET MORE : Life

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As Portland's iconic United States National Bank building turns 100, two former U.S. Bank employees are getting ready to celebrate a different kind of anniversary.

Like the building where they met, their relationship was built to last.

Former U.S. Bank employees Bill and Sue Carver will be on hand this month to help celebrate the centennial anniversary of the bank's iconic branch in downtown Portland, Oregon. As they look back on old workplace memories, they'll look forward to their own upcoming milestone: 50 years of marriage.

When Bill began his career as a bookkeeper in international banking in 1966, little did he know that Sue Butcher, the bookkeeper who sat across from him, would soon become his wife. Shortly after starting at the location, she caught his eye. They first became friends, then a couple and, in 1968, husband and wife.

"Sue started as my best friend and she still is today," Bill says. (They're pictured together, left and center above, with former U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis.)

Meeting Sue is the best, but hardly the only, memory from the 20 years Bill spent in the U.S. Bank building during his 40-year career with the company. 

"It's a place that feels special," he says. "Stepping into the building is like stepping back in time."

From the bustling days of 15 or more teller windows open to the sounds of echoing footsteps as customers and employees walked across the marble floor, the building has always been a hub of people connecting with people.

"Customers and co-workers were like family," he recalls. "You got to know everyone in the building and built lasting friendships."

Bill remembers everyone from the cafeteria to maintenance staff and their colorful personalities. He explains that a building of historic proportions often needs extra care. "It's why getting to know the maintenance crew was important. When something antiquated needed fixing, it didn't hurt to have friends."

He remembers eating lunches in the second floor bank cafeteria. Back then, the cafeteria was part of the bank and offered lunches to the employees for around 30 cents. "As a young man starting out in my career, however, I opted for the soup. At 10 cents, it was the most cost efficient."

Bill went on to spend four decades with U.S. Bank, retiring as senior vice president of international banking in 2002. After they got married, Sue went to work outside of the bank in the accounting field. They both remain in touch with many of their former bank colleagues.

To help employees stay connected, the former CEO Davis founded an alumni engagement program in 2007. The program, which includes events, volunteer opportunities and social media groups, connects more than 35,000 alumni. Bill spent several years as the alumni liaison for the bank's internal development network after his retirement, and today he and Sue continue to take advantage of volunteer activities to make a difference in their community. 

That community has changed over the course of their relationship. So has the banking industry. But the iconic building where they met remains. U.S. Bank's commitment to people remains. Bill and Sue remain.

Jennifer Fredrick is a member of U.S. Bank's public affairs and communications team.