From a small Oregon town to BYU and throughout his career with US Bank, Chris Feinauer (BS ’80) has cultivated a lifetime of meaningful relationships, many of which came from his numerous years of dedicated service. Looking back Feinauer reflects, “It amazes me when I think that I was just this guy from a small town where I never though anything remarkable was going to happen.”
Feinauer’s parents were European immigrants who converted to the gospel and traveled to the United Saints to be closer to the Saints. Eventually the Feinauer family settled in Oregon running various orchards. From this humble background Feinauer has grown to become the Senior Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at U.S. Bank. Feinauer attributes his remarkable success to the meaningful relationships he developed from his time at BYU and his service with the BYU Alumni Association.
When Feinauer arrived at BYU his world changed dramatically. Feinauer says, “This huge world opened up for me and opportunity after opportunity after opportunity came through the experiences and the connections that I had at BYU.”
One of the opportunities Feinauer took advantage of was joining International Folkdance Team, where he met his wife. “I loved the [International Folkdance Team]. I had a great time [dancing] so that . . . was my outlet in college and helped me make it through the tough classes I had.”
Even with his chaotic class and dance schedule, Feinauer successfully survived BYU. After graduation he went to work at a large retailer in Denver, but he quickly realized that retailing was not for him. Feinauer and his wife returned to Utah where he obtained his first banking job. “I’m an accidental banker!” Feinauer explains. “With help from my network, I was directed to apply at First Security Bank, and was hired. . . I thought I would move on [from banking] . . . but 36 years later I am still banking.”
Although he had a demanding job and church callings, Feinauer still made time to stay connected to BYU through the Management Society and the BYU Alumni Association. Feinauer was honored to meet inspiring people such as Neal Maxwell and Jeffrey Holland through his involvement.
He describes, “I got to mix with remarkable people. . . . There’s no way that would have ever happened, but through the opportunity I had to serve at the university I was given those life-changing opportunities.”
More opportunities to meet inspiring people came while he served on the BYU Alumni Board of Directors, and as the President of the BYU Alumni Association—both unpaid volunteer positions. “I loved working with the student leaders and enjoyed the many activities [they] sponsored: Parents Weekend, Hiking the Y, Etiquette Dinners. . . I still keep in touch . . . I attended their weddings, and sponsored them in job searches.”
Feinauer describes meeting students who received scholarships and mentorships: “[I got] to meet and interact with [students] who had taken a BYU education and excelled in many fields. . . . [The students] had remarkable stories about what [they] had accomplished because of getting funding for their mentorships.”
Feinauer’s admiration for BYU’s academics also grew dramatically. As he learned more about individual academic programs and departments, Feinauer says, “[I am] in awe at everyone and how much is happening at the university.” As he grewa more acquainted with the many remarkable students, faculty and programs at BYU, Feinauer determined that after he retired from his banking career, he will return to BYU.
“When I retire I would like to go back [to BYU] and work in philanthropy and help raise money for the University,” Feinauer explains. “There’s so much that can be done to help keep the University moving forward, and I’d like to do that.”
—Madeline Buhman (’18)