Most INB employees haven’t met Ron Welch. That’s too bad because time is running out for us. Ron retires March 29 with 50 years in banking!

Ron Welch

Ron’s worked quietly and respectably behind the scenes in computer operations most of those years.  He started at the original Illinois National Bank in 1974 and remained through the many mergers and acquisitions of the 1980s and 90s. He came to INB hoping for a job as a teller, but they told him they needed a forms clerk in the computer room. He took the job.  Once there, he advanced to operator and senior operator, before taking a brief hiatus from the computer room to work as an assistant analyst.  In the early 80s, he went back to the computer room.

Ron does his job with the ease of a veteran, then heads home to what matters – his family. Soon, he’ll no longer make the morning drive to downtown Springfield, instead having the luxury of staying home with his wife, Linda, spending the afternoon at the pool, and having evenings to devote to his grandson.

Audra VonDeBur, remittance services supervisor, says she’ll miss Ron once he retires.

“I have worked with Ron for many years, and I will miss him every day.  They broke the mold when they created Ron!” she says.

Nothing as Constant as Changing Technology

Ron says his technology training was on the job. He learned new technology by writing things down.  “That’s how us older folks do things,” he says with the hint of a smile. And even though Ron found a way to keep up with advances in technology, he says the most valuable lesson he’s learned is that not everybody is perfect. He adds that his approach to problem solving hasn’t changed. “I talk to other people, and we solve things together.”

Audra says, “Ron is always nice to everyone he works with.  He doesn’t get upset with staff; he always says, ‘We will get it, we will work it out.’  He has the patience of a saint and always presents a peaceful attitude. He is also the best at training temps or new staff in the computer room.  His ‘go with the flow’ presence puts everyone at ease.”

While most consider computer work as a desk job, Ron’s role in computer operations has meant standing on his feet all day, most days. And when it’s tax time, those days can be long and physically demanding.  “But I did it for my family,” he explains.  “There was a time or two when I had to make the decision to stay or go, and I always stayed because it was the best for my family.” In the end, he notes it was worth it because his son, Jeremy, and daughter, Jen, are college educated and better off than he was.  “And that’s what you want, isn’t it?” he asks.

When it comes to changes in technology, Ron quips that we used to have security guards, now we have virtual security. He notes that when he first started, there was no such thing as a “hacker.”  Because they exist now, “We have to have five passwords, get tested and fingerprinted.  There’s lots more security than in the past.”

Making Documents Available Without the Paper

Ron always understood the critical role he played in INB’s success.  In the early days, he worked for different departments in the bank, taking piles of paperwork and digitizing them. Digitizing checks was a big part of that.  Now, his work revolves around INB customers, especially the State of Illinois. He says he processes 10-15,000 documents a day. 

Audra explains Ron’s value to INB this way: “He has always shown up to work ready to get the day started.  I love Ron for his calm demeanor.  When we are busy, especially during tax season, he doesn’t panic or get upset.  He works at a steady pace and manages to get through all the work, and he never misses a deadline.”

Ron says he enjoyed the busy days.  “I like the fast-paced part of it,” he says. “The busier we were, the faster the time went by.” But he adds he won’t miss the stress, adding, “But I’ll miss the people.” He notes that many of his early colleagues are long retired. “I’m pretty lucky,” he adds.  “I’ve worked with some very good and knowledgeable people.” 

We’d say INB has been the lucky one. Congratulations to Ron on his well-deserved retirement.