At the peak of his banking career, Jamie Burt decided to leave his familiar surroundings in Iowa and move to Colorado. He chose Pueblo.

"My wife and I did that as a quality of life relocation," he said. "We were tired of the Midwest weather. We said, 'When the kids get out of the house we want to find a place with a better climate."

Beyond sunny weather, "One of the things that really attracted me to the community was the size," he said. Lake Pueblo, the area's other amenities and the city's Downtown redevelopment efforts also appealed to him.

Burt, 56, recently was named the Pueblo community president for U.S. Bank. He previously served as the Pueblo market president for Sunflower Bank, the job that led him here in 2016. A banker for more than 30 years, in Iowa he served as president and chief executive of a financial institution in Davenport, a community of about 350,000.

At U.S. Bank, he succeeds Kevin McCarthy, a longtime Pueblo banker who retired last year. McCarthy's retirement, along with structural changes at Sunflower, sparked his interest in the job, Burt said. He saw a chance to carry on Mcarthy and his predecessors' community banking approach of an open-door policy, close relationship with clients and heavy involvement in civic affairs.

"My view of banking ... is that you have to have a relationship with somebody before you can do business. Denver and others are great communities but there are thousands of bankers serving millions of clients and that really doesn't fit my style of business," Burt said.

Among his civic pursuits, Burt is a member of Rotary No. 43, the Pueblo CrimeStoppers board, the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. membership committee and the Pueblo Memorial Airport advisory committee. He is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s graduate school of banking.

His wife Ellen is enjoying the area as much as him, he said. The parents of two adult children, their daughter serves in the Air Force and their son serves in the Navy. "Both went to college and chose to enlist and wanted to serve the country and thought it would be a good career start for them," he said.

Pueblo's work to redevelop its Downtown is one of the community initiatives of particular interest to Burt.

In Davenport, the community was successful in getting developers and lenders together to bring hundreds of new condo and other housing units to its aged downtown, he said. Since coming to Pueblo, he's hosted visits from a couple of developers in hopes of sparking their interest.

Burt sees a bright all-around future for Pueblo.

"At different times I pick up an undercurrent of a perception ... that things have not changed in Pueblo and that it would be very difficult to see change in Pueblo. To that extent, I think the community sells itself short," he said.

"I think there's a lot of opportunity here for a great quality of life. I think there's a lot of opportunity here for business expansion.

"I look how we're positioned on the south end of the Front Range, our affordable housing, our lower cost of living and our easy-access amenities.... We're in a great place."

U.S. Bank is positioned well to continue its support of the community with a staff of skilled lenders and other financial experts and a full range of traditional, online and mobile services, he said.

ddarrow@chieftain.com

Twitter: @PuebloBusiness