O'Dell Celebrates 50 Years in Banking

Posted by Paula Paine on July 7, 2014 in "Your OU" Jim-Odell-3.pngValley Bank & Trust recently recognized Chairman of the Board, James J. (Jim) O’Dell ‘57 for his 50 years in the banking industry. On January 15, 1964, Jim began his banking career at Consolidated State Bank in Hill City, KS.  He was hired as a “cow counter” at an annual salary of $6,000. Prior to this, he spent five years farming and ranching with his father in Kansas after graduating with a degree in Business and Economics from Ottawa University.

After about a year with Consolidated, a simple phone call to former Ottawa University classmates Bill Culbertson ‘56 and Jim (James D) Asher ’52 started a chain of events that led to Jim becoming president of the four-employee First National Bank in Otis, CO, in September 1965. In 1970, Jim and his two partners began the process of opening a new bank in Brighton, CO. After initially being denied by the Colorado Division of Banking, the Bank’s charter was finally granted by the courts, and on September 13, 1971, Platte Valley Bank opened for business.

The Bank continued to grow in the 70s and into the early 2000s. Today, Valley Bank & Trust has eight Colorado branches, serving Brighton, Carbon Valley, Commerce City, Denver, Hudson, Strasburg, and Westminster. Over time, Jim has seen the community banking industry flourish and struggle. He’s seen revolutionary changes most take for granted, such as ATMs, computer modems, and the Internet. Through it all, Jim has been wholeheartedly devoted to the service of his company, employees, and customers.

In 2000, Jim passed the presidential torch to his daughter, Donna Petrocco (pictured), who is a 1982 graduate of Ottawa University. Jim still presides as Chairman of the Board at Valley Bank & Trust, allowing him to celebrate 50 years in banking in 2014.

“Jim O’Dell has paved the way for community banking at its finest here in Colorado,” said Petrocco. “It has been a joy to have him as my mentor. He continues to be a strong a leader here and a man who has left a legacy in community banking on a national and local level.”
Ottawa University salutes Jim on achieving such a notable milestone, as well as for all he has done and continues to do for the University through his generous giving, his faithful service on the board, his engagement in University functions, and his unfailing support and encouragement.