HTC Team News and Honors

Our team wrapped up our 2022-23 United Way Campaign with a great event featuring taco in a bag, a dunk tank and lots of laughs. Thanks to our brave dunk tank victims: Brian Halverson, Dustin Sobolik, Jana Samek, Jon Benson, Mary Fridgen, and Naomi Schempp!

This fall, HTC team members enjoyed an old-fashioned picnic complete with food and games. Thanks to our amazing event organizers: Amy Remmick, Brian Halverson, Missy Zarak, Monica Millette and Kayla Kranda. What a fun afternoon of team building and fun!

Our Retirement Services team held their annual Retirement Insight event in October. Dustin Sobolik led a presentation on financial planning and Clay Leveritt from American Funds gave us an informative market update.

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Meet Jace Gilleshammer

Jace Gilleshammer – IT Coordinator

Jace Gilleshammer is our IT Coordinator. He recently returned to the Fargo area and we are excited that he is part of our Heartland Trust team. 

Tell us about yourself. 

I was born in Grafton, North Dakota, and spent my schooling years here in north Fargo. A few years after high school I moved to Minneapolis to further my career, which led me on a path to Arizona where I spent the last 13 years. It was there that I met my wife. We have two daughters and couldn’t be more pleased to have our oldest in kindergarten here in the Fargo school system. We are very excited to raise our family in Fargo and to be a part of this community. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I have two kids under 6 so I don’t understand that question anymore. I have really enjoyed getting back to the lakes, playing with my kids on grass instead of rock, and planting a garden again. There’s something soothing about getting some garden dirt under your fingernails.

Tell us about your favorite life experience. 

Nothing will ever compare to the joy and happiness I experienced while being present for the birth of my two daughters. Before that, my favorite experience was my first time flying an airplane. I grew up a super fan of aviation and my biggest childhood (and current) dream is to land on an aircraft carrier. I grew up directly off the east end of the Fargo Jet Center runway so I used to sit and watch planes take off and land all day long. To this day I always look up anytime I hear an aircraft engine.

What is your favorite movie/play/book? 

I don’t have a specific one to point out; however, the one I’ve spent the most time with was The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. More than 900 pages of just about any aircraft you can think of.

What was the first car you owned? 

 It was a 1986 Dodge 600 SE in faded brown with a red velvety interior. I got it in the summer after my freshman year at Ben Franklin so you can imagine how excited my friends and I were to get our first taste of freedom heading into high school.

If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Nikola Tesla. Our technological world wouldn’t be half of what it is if it weren’t for his ideas that pushed boundaries. It would be fun to discuss how his ideas, typically deemed too far-fetched for his place in time, have molded where we are on a global scale today. Look up some of his inventions and see all he was responsible for.

How long have you been at Heartland Trust? 

I’ve been here four months, and I’m delighted to say that I already feel like I am part of a new family. From day one everyone here has been more than willing to help me feel welcome.

What is your favorite part about working at Heartland Trust? 

While my funny answer would be the popcorn, my favorite part about working at Heartland is the people. You’ll meet some of the kindest and most caring individuals here.

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share?

It’s my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce and, unfortunately, I have no clue what was in it other than a sprinkle of love and a touch of sugar and spice. But if I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life, that would be it.

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Benefits of Financial Planning

Kevin Wangen, Wealth Management Associate

When it comes to your personal financial well-being, a financial plan is an invaluable tool to have. A good plan will give you a detailed view of your assets and debts, cash flow, and the protections on the life and property within the plan. While it might seem like an overwhelming process at first, the benefits are worth it.

If you already have a financial plan, great job! Make sure it is updated at least annually. Account values change, loans get paid off, new debts get added, personal property is bought and sold, and your financial goals can change. 

If you do not have a financial plan, the best time to get one is now. Look online to find a financial advisor or wealth management company with advisors on staff. It is possible to do financial planning on your own, but important factors could get missed. You should at least have a financial planning professional who is a fiduciary review it. 

Having a financial plan is a key factor in improving your financial wellness. Other benefits include:

  • Knowing where your money is going. This will likely be the most noticeable effect once you have a plan. Knowing at a glance how much was saved, how much was earned, and how much was spent in a given time period is invaluable.
  • Peace of mind. Understanding where your finances are overall, what areas need improvement, and where you are doing well can take a lot off your mind. It can also help you keep track of accounts you might have forgotten about.
  • Improved saving. When you know how much is needed for a goal, your chances of reaching it are much higher. Those with a financial plan are more than twice as likely to save enough for retirement.
  • Goal achievement. Having enough for retirement isn’t the only goal a financial plan can include. Education funding, paying off debt, funding vacations, doing charitable giving, and anything else you can attach a dollar amount to can be accounted for and tracked in a plan.
  • Knowing your alternatives. Maybe there is a goal that isn’t going to be reached. Knowing that beforehand allows you to seek suitable alternatives.
  • Estate planning insight. Want to leave a legacy with your wealth? If you know leaving money to people or organizations that are important to you is part of your estate plan, a financial plan will help.
  • Tax planning. A financial plan can help you foresee future tax obligations or opportunities and prepare for them. Many individuals have periods of lower income between retirement and the start of required minimum distributions. This is an excellent time to take advantage of Roth conversions at a lower tax rate. 
  • Investment allocation coordination. Most of us don’t have only one account set aside for saving. You may have a 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, or more just on your own. If you have a spouse, they might also have multiple accounts. With a financial plan you can get a combined look at these accounts to how they are invested and align them to your risk tolerance.

What should be included? A thorough plan should include just about everything you can think of related to your finances.


  • Retirement accounts (401(k), IRA, Pensions)
  • Investment accounts
  • Bank accounts (checking, savings, CDs)
  • Personal property (real estate, land, automobiles, anything else of substantial value)
  • Business interests


  • Mortgages
  • Personal loans
  • Student loans
  • Any other debts


  • Life Insurance policies
  • Long-term care policies
  • Property/Casualty insurance policies

Once your plan is complete, the next step is to put it in action. You don’t need to make immediate alterations to your lifestyle. Start incrementally increasing your 401(k) contributions. Create a dedicated account for certain goals and save directly to it.

Want to start a financial plan? Give us a call at Heartland Trust Company. The most important step is to start the process. There is no benefit in putting it off. 

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HTC Team News and Honors

  • Our team had a Kentucky Derby party in May. Gary Hanson received a prize for best
    dressed and Lori Theis received one for best fascinator (hat).

  • Several employees attended the FMWF Chamber event featuring Mel Robbins. Jill
    McAndrew and Michelle Hoppe were able to meet her as well.

  • We held a school supply drive and donated to the United Way in support of their annual
    effort to help area students in need.

  • Dustin Sobolik hosted HTC’s semi-annual market update webinar and gave us a review
    of the market, inflation, gas prices, and an outlook on what we should expect in the
    coming months.
  • Three new employees joined Heartland Trust this quarter. We welcomed Jace
    Gilleshammer (Left), IT Coordinator; Tim Rensch (Center), Retirement Services – Relationship Manager;
    and Abby Kruse (Right), our summer intern. Abby is a local high school English teacher who
    decided to give up her summer vacation and help with projects around the office. You
    can learn more about Abby in the employee profile of this issue of our newsletter.


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Meet Abby Kruse

Meet Abby Kruse 
Abby Kruse is a local high school English teacher who helps with projects around the office this
summer. She and Ethan Linder, Administrative Associate – Personal Trusts, are planning their wedding
in September 2023.

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HTC Team News and Honors 

  • Jennifer Johnston and Missy Zarak attended the Lady Boss retreat in Nisswa, Minnesota, in early March. Ethan Linder, Jennifer Johnston, Kevin Wangen and Lori Theis participated in the annual Bowling for Kids event sponsored by Big Brother Big Sister.

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Meet Kevin Wangen

Meet Kevin Wangen

Kevin Wangen is the wealth management associate at HTC. He holds a finance degree from North Dakota State University, from where he graduated on the same day he got married.

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Langdon, North Dakota, and my family moved to Harvey, North Dakota, when I was 4. My parents still live there so I visit when I can. Growing up in a small town had a profound impact on my life. I moved to Fargo for college and now live here with my wife and four kids, who are 2, 5, 7, and 9. It can certainly be challenging, but I try to be the best dad and husband I can.

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All About Credit Scores

Adapted from Broadridge Investor Communication Services

It’s difficult to imagine functioning in today’s world without credit. Whether buying a car or purchasing a home, credit has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Having easy access to credit goes hand in hand with having a good credit score, so it’s important to know how to maintain a positive credit score and credit history.

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HTC Team News and Honors

  • HTC held our annual staff retreat in January at the Plains Art Museum. During this event, we review the previous year and provide expectations for the future.
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Meet Renee Hobbs

Meet Renee Hobbs

Renee Hobbs is an administrative associate for trust and personal accounts at HTC.

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in the small town in south-central North Dakota and graduated from NDSU with a bachelor of science degree in business. I am married and have one daughter who is getting married this year.


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