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About Us

About Us

Heartland Trust Company was founded in 1990 in Fargo, ND as an independent trust company, an alternative to bank trust departments. Steve Halverson, Heartland Trust Company’s President and founder, left the trust department of a large regional bank because decisions that ultimately affected clients were being made at a distant corporate headquarters and that bank profits were more important than the needs of the client. This process lacked the proper respect and personal connection Steve thought should be a focus in the trust and investment industry. As a locally owned independent trust company, we are proud that all decisions relating to client needs are made locally by the employees and board of directors who all live and work in our community.

What makes Heartland Trust Company different?

  • Clients have security and confidence knowing that Heartland Trust Company is a fiduciary and as such we are held to the highest ethical and legal standards for the sole benefit of the clients we serve in all aspects of our business activities.
  • Our clients have peace of mind knowing that Heartland Trust Company is unique in the region. We do not accept any commission or payments from investment funds, banks or insurance companies so we can offer our clients unbiased advice and fully advocate for them without compromise and outside influence.
  • We are also independent for our client’s benefits. We have no proprietary relationships so we can provide our clients with access to the best investment options, trust and financial services to meet their unique needs and goals.
  • Clients of Heartland Trust Company have the opportunity to experience better outcomes because we leverage our size and status as a trust company to purchase institutional funds for our clients to avoid fees, commission and added expenses that cost our clients money and lessen their returns.

Our services include professional asset management, trust services and 401k plan administration. Whether you are retiring, in need of a financial plan, rolling over your IRA, or investing for the future we have experienced professionals here to guide you.

Our client’s assets are safeguarded in many ways. Heartland Trust Company is regulated and examined by the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions and carries a blanket surety bond and trust errors and omissions insurance policies.

We have dedicated ourselves and our business to doing what is in the best interest for our clients while being, transparent, ethical, and trustworthy.

Learn more about Our Services and Our Team and reach out to us to see how we can serve your needs.

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Our Team

Jon Benson

Vice President / Trust Officer

Jon is a Moorhead, MN native. He joined Heartland Trust in 2014. He graduated from Concordia College in 1990 with a double major in business administration and English writing. He has over 30 years of comprehensive personal, business and financial services experience. His past work experience includes Vice President and Private Banking Relationship Manager with Wells Fargo and Vice President and Executive Director of the Essentia Health Regional Foundation. Jon works primarily with personal trusts administration, charitable trusts, IRA rollovers, investments, and estate settlement. He works closely with his clients assisting them with developing and implementing a comprehensive financial plan that helps ensures personal and family goals are realized. Jon is active in his community serving as President of Hospice of the Red River Valley, Past Board Chair Connections of Moorhead, Past President Moorhead Rotary, Past President and Treasurer of his church council, student mentor Offutt School of Business, Concordia College, and a volunteer youth coach. He is married, has two children, and loves being involved in their activities, golfing and other sports.

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Sheryl Bernier

Executive Vice President / Director

Sheryl worked for American Bank and Trust in the trust department for eight years before joining Steve Halverson in starting Heartland Trust Company in 1990. She has 38 years in the trust services business which includes working in the areas of administration of trust, agency, IRA and 401(k) accounts, fiduciary operations, compliance and HR. Her current areas of responsibilities are in the areas of operations, compliance/internal audits and human resources. She received the SHRM-CP (Society of HR Management Certified Professional) certification and is a member of the SHRM national and local organizations. Sheryl grew up on a farm outside of Barnesville, MN, raised her four sons in Moorhead and currently lives near Dent, MN on Star Lake with her husband, Spencer..

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Mary Carlson

Senior Administrative Associate – Personal Trusts

Mary joined Heartland Trust in April, 2012 as an Administrative Associate, working primarily with the administration of personal trusts, agencies and IRA accounts. Prior to coming to Heartland, Mary had been employed with Wells Fargo Bank for the past 30 years where she worked in a variety of different positions, most recently in administration. Mary has two daughters. She is active as a volunteer for several community organizations, and also serves on the Executive Committee and Foundation Board at First Lutheran Church, Fargo..

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Shara Fischer

Relationship Manager

Shara joined Heartland Trust Company in 2017. A native of Park River, ND, she has called Fargo home since 2005. She has earned her CRPC® (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) designation, has a BBA in Finance from the University of North Dakota and is a graduate of the NDBA School of Banking.
An active member of the community, Shara currently serves on the Essentia Health Foundation Board, was Chair of the Fargo City Planning Commission, and served as President of the Fargo Kiwanis Club. Shara is married to Aaron Fischer and they have 2 children, Meg and Thompson.

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Mary Fridgen

Administrative Associate

Mary joined Heartland Trust in September of 2019. She is originally from Wheaton, MN where she grew up on her parents farm. She graduated from M/State with an AAS in administrative assisting. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.
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Brian Halverson

President

Brian grew up in Fargo and graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead in 2006. Before joining Heartland Trust, he spent time in the dental industry and at a large national bank. Brian’s time at Heartland Trust has exposed him to every aspect of the business which has given him great insight into all the moving parts, culture, and values. Brian’s servant leadership style is dedicated to the client experience and ensuring that Heartland Trust is a great place to work. In the community, he is a Board Member at the Plains Art Museum, an active member of the Lake Agassiz Exchange Club, and serves as Treasurer of the Association of Trust Organizations, a national association of owners, leaders, and operators of trust companies and departments.

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Steve Halverson

Chairman of the Board

Steve founded HTC in 1990 as an independent trust company. The company’s focus was to provide traditional trust and investment services to clients in the tri-state area without interference from a “corporate” parent company. Steve holds a BS and MS degree in economics. He worked for Norwest Trust in Minneapolis and Fargo for 18 years in a variety of positions including investments, administration of business retirement plans, personal trust administration and trust division manager for a region that included Eastern ND and Western MN. Steve is well known in the community and has played an active role in service groups and boards. He is a former member of the ND Banking Commission and was the national president of the Association of Independent Trust Companies.

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Gary W. Hanson

Senior Vice President / Director

“Gary is the Senior Vice President and a Director of Heartland Trust Company. His current responsibilities at HTC include business development, client relationships, leading the corporate financial team, and serving on the Executive Committee. He is a native of Crookston, MN and graduated from Moorhead State University in 1972 with a major in accounting. From 1972 to 1988 he worked in the trust department at Norwest – Fargo, and in 1988 was appointed President of First American Trust Company of Minnesota, a Bremer Financial Corporation subsidiary located in Marshall, MN. His duties included administrative responsibility for the five Minnesota locations of First American Trust Company. In December of 1990, Gary returned to Fargo, and was named a Vice President at Heartland Trust Company, and became a shareholder. He has extensive experience implementing and servicing corporate retirement plans, and has attended numerous conferences, seminars, and training sessions relating to qualified plans. Gary has been a presenter twice at national conventions of the Association of Independent Trust Companies. Gary and his wife, Ruth, reside in West Fargo while their daughter and son live in north Fargo and south Fargo respectively. He is active in community having served as president of his church congregation, chair of the church foundation, president of the Fargo Lions Club, and numerous other positions for Lions on state and multi-district levels.”

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Renee Hobbs

Administrative Associate – Personal Trusts

Renee is a native of Kulm, ND and graduated from NDSU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has over 20 years of trust experience with Bell Bank and Trust and Wells Fargo. Renee joined Heartland Trust in 2014. She is married, has one daughter and enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

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Michelle Hoppe

Administrative Associate – Personal Trusts

Michelle joined Heartland Trust in February 2018 as an Administrative Associate for Personal Trusts. She graduated from MSUM with a Bachelor of Arts in paralegal and has over 13 years of expertise working in area law firms. She grew up in Williams, MN (Lake of the Woods) and enjoys spending time with family, coffee dates with friends, and staying healthy and active. Michelle is a member of the Fargo Optimist Club and is actively involved with Prairie Heights Community Church. She is married to Chris Hoppe and they have 2 children, Kiersten and Kellen.

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Jennifer Johnston, CTFA

Trust Officer

Jennifer Johnston joined HTC in January 2017. She was born and raised in Fargo, ND graduating from Fargo North High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and her Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, MN. Jennifer, also known as Jen, has 12 years of experience in the financial services industry ranging from public accounting and insurance to financial planning and trust administration. She has also received the Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor (CTFA) designation. Jen was an Assistant Vice President and Wealth Management Specialist with Wells Fargo’s Private Bank prior to joining HTC. Jen and her husband, Ryan, live in North Fargo with their two boys. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and summers on Lake Melissa. She is an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Fargo and of P.E.O. Chapter Y.

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Neil Jordheim

Director

Neil joined the company in 1994. He was a flight instructor in the USAF for five years after graduating from college. Jordheim worked for Metropolitan Federal Bank for 18 years and has experience in administration and retail bank operations. He has a BS in economics from NDSU and has attended many workshops and seminars on topics appropriate to the financial business. Neil works primarily with personal trust administration, charitable trusts, IRA rollovers and estate settlement. He also provides business retirement plans and investment services for charitable foundations. Neil assists clients with developing comprehensive financial plans. He is a member of the Investment Committee for the company. Neil is active in his church and a number of charities in the community.

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Heather Jung

Administrative Associate – Retirement Services

Heather grew up in Thief River Falls, MN and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing. She joined Heartland Trust in 2020 and has been in the retirement services industry since 2007, spending that time assisting plan sponsors, financial advisors, and third party administrators with their retirement plans. Heather is also a local business owner, wife, and mother to three beautiful children which all keeps her very busy. In her free time, she enjoys four-wheeling, boat rides, and campfires with her family.

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Kayla Kranda

Administrative Associate – Operations

Kayla is a native of Tappen, ND. She graduated from Minot State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. In 2014, Kayla joined Heartland Trust Company as an Operations Associate, bringing over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. She has also received the Accredited Trust Operations Professional (ATOP) designation. Kayla and her husband reside in West Fargo with their son and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys baking, spending time with her family, cheering for the Minnesota Vikings and attending NDSU Bison football games.

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Denise Lies

Senior Administrative Associate – Retirement Services

Denise is a New Rockford, ND native. She graduated from Moorhead State University in 1992 with a BS in accounting. She joined Heartland Trust Company in January of 1993. Denise started working in the operations area of the company. Now her primary responsibility is retirement plan administration support. She has attended many seminars and training sessions on trust operations and qualified retirement plan administration. Denise lives in West Fargo with her husband and two children. She serves as a board member of PACE supporting Grace Lutheran School, is involved with Boy Scout Troop 279 and served as a confirmation memory leader for several years. She enjoys spending time with family, watching football, and NASCAR races.

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Ethan Linder

Administrative Associate – Personal Trusts

Ethan joined the Heartland team in 2020. Originally from Esko, Minnesota, Ethan graduated from Concordia College in 2020 with a business management degree. Ethan currently lives in Fargo and enjoys playing hockey, hiking, and watching movies at the local Marcus Theater.

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Jill McAndrew

Administrative Associate – Operations

A North Dakota native, Jill joined Heartland Trust Company in January 2005 as an Administrative Associate. In April 2019, she transitioned to a new role as an Operations Associate. Jill volunteers with the Arthritis Foundation and helps plan local fundraising events. She has one daughter and spends her free time riding her motorcycle with her boyfriend in the summer and home improvement projects in the winter.

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Monica Millette, QKA

Vice President – Retirement Services Division Manager

Monica grew up on a farm in Glyndon, MN. She has worked in the financial services industry since 1996; focusing primarily on employer sponsored retirement plans since 2006. In 2012, Monica earned the Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designation. She is an expert at plan design and ensuring that employers have a retirement plan that works well for their business and their employees. Monica especially enjoys meeting directly with business owners and employees to explain the various nuances of their retirement plan. Her favorite part of her job is that it allows her to make a positive impact on another person’s financial future. Monica is active in the community and is a past recipient of the YWCA Women of the Year Award for her volunteer work with the Girl Scout organization. She has served on various boards of directors in the local community. Monica lives in Moorhead with her husband Tom and has two grown children; Leah and Michael. In her spare time, Monica enjoys reading, taking long walks, and spending time with friends and family especially at the lake during the summer.

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Jan Nelson

Trust Officer

Jan is a native of Hettinger, ND. She joined Heartland Trust in 2013. She graduated from Minnesota State University – Moorhead with a BS in accounting and minor in finance. She was previously employed by Metropolitan Federal Bank and Concordia College. She has experience as a charitable giving & estate planning consultant. Jan is a CPA and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, North Dakota Society of CPAs, Fargo-Moorhead Society of CPAs and Red River Valley Estate Planning Council. She is a volunteer for several local organizations.

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Jana Samek

Retirement Services Relationship Manager

Jana joined HTC in Jan 2017. She is a native of Minto, ND and graduated from Mayville State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She has over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, focusing primarily in working with employer sponsored retirement plans. Jana is very active in the West Fargo Exchange Club and has served on their Board of Directors. Jana and her husband, Ed, live in West Fargo with their two children. She enjoys various sporting activities, going to the lakes, and spending time with family and friends.

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Naomi Schempp

Administrative Associate – Personal Trusts

Naomi joined Heartland Trust Company in 2020 and brings a wealth of experience in banking, insurance, and operations.
A native of Garrison, ND, she has called Fargo home since 2002. She has both an Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degree from Williston State College. She continued her education and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from North Dakota State University. Go Bison!
An active member of the community, having a servant leadership heart, Naomi currently serves on the Great North Pole Board, for United Way of Cass Clay in multiple volunteer capacities, and at Prairie Heights Community Church. Naomi’s attention to detail and operations mindset is valuable to any volunteer role.
In her free time, you will find Naomi loving time at the lake, traveling, watching Bison football, shopping, or investing in friends and family. Naomi has a true passion for giving to others and finds joy in the little things.

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Dustin Sobolik

Investment Officer

Dustin Sobolik has been with Heartland Trust Company since 2015, and working in financial services for 8 years. He works with individual clients and nonprofits focusing on market research, investment management, and financial planning. He is a key member of Heartland Trust’s Investment Committee and leads discussions related to portfolio construction and stress testing. Prior to coming to Heartland Trust Company, he worked for a boutique Registered Investment Advisor based out of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. In his spare time, he kayaks, hikes, volunteers, and spends time with his friends and family.

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Lori Theis

Administrative Associate – HR, Operations and Compliance

Lori was born, raised, and currently resides in Moorhead, MN. She has over 22 years of financial services and operational administrative experience. She joined Heartland Trust Company in November 2014 as an Administrative Associate in the Personal Trust department. Since then, she has moved on to become an Associate of the Operations Department where she deals mostly in Compliance. Lori has one son, Adam and a beagle named George. She is a member of a P.U.S.H group through the FMWF Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys books, camping, fishing, and riding motorcycle in her spare time.

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Kevin Wangen

Administrative Associate – Project Coordinator

Kevin grew up in Harvey, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. He has been in the banking, finance, and retirement industry since 2007. In November 2013, he joined the team at Heartland Trust Company. Kevin and his wife live in Fargo with their four children. In what little free time he gets, he enjoys golf, biking, furniture refinishing, DIY projects, woodworking, and spending time with his wife and kids with their activities. He has also been a volunteer for the United Way in various events and run for the Dakota Medical Foundation in the Fargo Marathon 5-K race.

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Missy Zarak

Trust Officer

Missy is originally from Dickinson, ND where she grew up and attended Trinity High School. She went on to finish college and graduated from Moorhead State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Assistant. Following college in June 1988, Missy immediately began her life-long career in the trust business by starting from the bottom and working her way up to a Trust Relationship Manager over the next 31 years. Missy joined Heartland Trust Company in June, 2019 working in the Personal Trust division as a Trust Officer. She provides administration services to clients and beneficiaries with accounts in the areas of personal trust, agency and IRA. Missy commutes from Wahpeton, ND where she lives with her husband, raised four adult children and has two granddaughters. Hosting family dinners and attending MSUM football games keeps her expanding family close together.

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