Steve is the founder of Heartland Trust Company. After working in the trust industry for a regional bank for 18 years, he went off on his own and started North Dakota’s first independent trust company. Thirty years later, he is the CEO and chairman of the board. The company has grown from two people to 25, with over $600 million in assets under management. Steve is very active in the community, spending many years with various local service organizations. He is currently a member of the board for the FMWF Chamber, and an International Director for the Sons of Norway.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not at the office, it’s all about family. My wife and I try and spend as much time as we can with the grandkids.
What is your favorite part about working at Heartland Trust?
I have a service-minded personality and that fits in perfectly with the good things that HTC does for its clients. We make decisions based on the well-being of our clients, and that is one of the reasons for our success.
What were the challenges in building a business, especially a trust company with no backing from a bank?
The challenges were huge, and it took a while to get everyone on board and the pieces in place. But, with a positive attitude, support from numerous friends, and some luck, we got the job done.
What are your favorite memories over the last 30 years?
One of my favorite memories is receiving a handwritten note from a community leader and director of a local bank. In the note he told me how smart or lucky he was to have hired HTC to manage his family wealth. His children will enjoy a much better life because of the work and planning we did for him.
What do you think has been the key to HTC’s success?
Working with people that have a can-do attitude. Couple that with a sense of how to do business the right way, the way you would like it done for yourself, and that almost guarantees success. Finding those people to come work at Heartland has been the biggest driver of our success.
What do you think the next 30+ years are going to look like?
It has taken decades for us to get a modest amount of community recognition. The foundation that has been established will allow the next generation to do much more important work for the people in our community and region.
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