State of the Business Address 

By Brian Halverson, President/CEO

By Brian Halverson, President/CEO

One thing we have started doing recently on a quarterly basis at Heartland Trust Company is a State of the Business address. We dedicate time every quarter to be with our entire team to 1) reflect and celebrate our accomplishments and milestones, 2) get a sense of where we are currently at, and 3) identify our focus for the upcoming quarter, all with our mission statement and values in mind.  

Personally, I have never been great at taking time to slow down to reflect or celebrate what has recently happened. It’s always ‘on to the next thing’, which isn’t always the healthiest way to go about life.  By dedicating time every quarter to this, it gives our entire team time together to talk about what worked and what didn’t work, and I find it kind of adds some closure to a chapter in our journey.  

Next, we get a grasp on where we are at financially and with staffing, before we start to look ahead. We have created a 10 year plan that has been broken down into 3 years and 1 year. The looking ahead component of the address is always with the 1, 3, 10 year plans in mind with the goal of being open,  honest, and transparent. Opening up the lines of communication and transparency helps all team members with our ultimate goals.  

Ultimately, the State of the Business Address is about being open and honest and try to communicate the best we can so everyone knows where we are at on the map. Taking this State of the Business Address concept and applying it to my personal life has been a positive step for me as I try to be a good leader at work and a good dad and husband. It is important to celebrate the small and big wins, reflect on the items we didn’t get right so we can do it different next time. If you don’t already, I highly encourage you to take time for yourself to reflect, take an inventory of where you are at that moment, and identify things that are coming up in life.  

This is just one of the many things we are doing as an organization to stay organized and deliver a great service while our team grows to meet the needs of our clients and our business.  



Heartland TrustState of the Business Address 
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Meet Jon Benson

Jon Benson

Meet Jon Benson

Tell us about yourself

I was born and raised in Moorhead and attended Concordia College with a double major in Business Administration and English Writing. I am blessed to have been married for over 20 years to an amazing wife, Jessica. We have two wonderful children, Gabe and Nora, and two dogs, Mars and Luna. Professionally, I have been blessed to be able to find fulfillment and joy providing over 33 years of comprehensive personal, business, and financial services experience helping others.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I love to watch my kids enjoy and excel in golf and soccer. I also love it when they are kind enough to let their dad play with them.

Tell us about your favorite life experience

My most recent favorite experience was watching my son win the MIAC golf Championship. It was such a blessing to witness all the dedication, hard work, and effort pay off on a stage of that magnitude. I could not be prouder.

What was the first car you owned?

The first car was a ’79 Camaro Z28 my Grandpa J helped me buy when I was 16. He thanked me for trusting him enough to borrow money from him. I did not understand at the time what he meant. A little over a year later, after I hadn’t made the payments I needed to, he took it back and sold it. It was one of the greatest life lessons I ever learned about love, integrity, honor, and responsibility. I still have that contract we signed at home today and can only hope to be that person for my grandchildren someday.

How long have you been at Heartland Trust?

I have been at Heartland for almost 10 years.

What is your favorite part about working at Heartland Trust?

My favorite part about working at Heartland is that I get to care for people. As a trust company we are not limited to the transactional, we can be truly holistic in our care and advocacy. It has been a calling of mine as far back as I can remember. It was the lessons of servant leadership taught to me by generations of my family before me. Fortunately, Heartland has graciously afforded me the opportunity to live a life in service to others. To be that trusted voice, advocate, and calming presence in an ever-changing world.

Heartland TrustMeet Jon Benson
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By Brian Halverson, President/CEO

By Brian Halverson, President/CEO

As the holiday season approaches and the year draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the things that matter most. At Heartland Trust Company, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for our dedicated employees and loyal clients. Our journey wouldn’t be the same without you, and we want to take a moment to celebrate and express our heartfelt thanks.

Our Exceptional Team

At the heart of any successful organization is an exceptional team. Our employees are not just cogs in the machine; they are the lifeblood of our company. Their passion, hard work, and unwavering dedication continue to push us forward. This year has presented us with unprecedented challenges, but our team has risen to the occasion.

We are thankful for our employees who have shown outstanding teamwork, creativity, and adaptability. Each day, you bring your unique skills and experiences to the table, contributing to our collective growth and success. Your tireless efforts and commitment have allowed us to weather the storms and continue to thrive.

Our Valued Clients

Our clients are the reason we do what we do. Your trust in our services and products is the foundation of our success. We are grateful for the relationships we have built with each and every one of you. Your feedback and loyalty have enabled us to grow and improve, and for that, we are truly thankful.

This year, with our change in custodians for many of our accounts, has been a testament to the strength of our client partnerships. Your understanding of the why behind what we do has been invaluable. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and are committed to consistently exceeding your expectations.

This holiday season, let’s remember the importance of gratitude and the power of community. Thank you all for making this year special for Heartland Trust Company.

Wishing you a joyful and gratitude-filled holiday season.

Heartland TrustThankful
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The Charitable Trust As A Tax Smart Giving Strategy

By Jan Nelson, Trust Officer

By Jan Nelson, Trust Officer

The largest generation in history, the Baby Boomers, are aging and over the next 30 years, this will result in the largest transfer of wealth ever experienced in the USA. An estimated $30 trillion is expected to be passed on to future generations and charities. Careful planning with the assistance of your Heartland Trust Company team member, estate planning attorney and CPA will ensure that your family’s share of that wealth is passed on as intended.

Many of us regularly support our local universities, houses of worship, homeless shelters, and other non-profits by making a gift of cash; and these donations are invaluable to the charities and those they serve. However, one resource we offer our clients is to suggest “tax smart” ways individuals can give to their favorite non-profits. This may include:

  • Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from traditional IRAs for individuals 70½ and older, up to $100,000 per year.
  • Donation of appreciated non-cash assets (ex. publicly traded stock, real estate and other assets with low-cost basis and appreciated market value)
  • Bunching several years (usually three or more) of charitable contributions in one year to have ability to itemize deductions on federal tax return.
  • North Dakota residents are encouraged to take advantage of the 40% Qualified Endowment Fund Tax Credit for Individuals and Businesses which requires a minimum gift of $5,000 (credit is maximum of $10,000 per year per taxpayer or $20,000 per year for couples filing jointly, and $10,000 maximum for businesses).
  • Creation of a charitable trust provides income to family during trust term or at trust maturity; it also supports a favorite charity or charities and possible tax savings (charitable tax deduction, capital gains tax avoidance or reduction and possible estate tax savings).

Charitable trusts are irrevocable, although the donor (referred to as the Grantor) may generally retain the right to change the named charities during his/her lifetime. They may be funded with cash or non-cash assets, which generally provide the greater tax advantage. Unique assets such as grain crops, cattle and depreciated farm equipment may be a great funding source for charitable trusts. North Dakota residents may also qualify for the 40% ND Tax Credit for Planned Gifts. There are two broad categories of charitable trusts – charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts.

Charitable Remainder Trusts:

  • Income beneficiaries named by the donor receive payments from the trust for a term of years or life.
  • Named charity or charities receive the remaining balance at the end of the trust term.
  • Donors generally receive a charitable tax deduction in the year the trust is created, based on the present value of the amount the charity will receive at trust maturity.

Charitable Lead Trusts:

  • Charity receives payments from the trust for a term of years.
  • At maturity, trust assets distribute to individuals named in trust.
  • This may result in a gift tax or estate tax charitable deduction to the donor, and may or may not result in income tax charitable deduction.
  • Lead Trusts are commonly used to transfer property to family at substantial gift and potential estate tax savings (for large estates), but may result in generation-skipping transfer tax.

The recently passed SECURE Act 2.0 included dramatic changes for IRA beneficiary required payouts. Under this legislation, most non-spouse beneficiaries must now take all distributions from an IRA within 10 years, which can have dramatic tax impacts for those inheriting large IRAs. One solution for substantial IRA owners is to name a charitable remainder trust as an IRA beneficiary, and then the trust can dictate the payout period to the trust beneficiary, in an effort to ease the tax burden for inheriting individuals.

Our hope is one or more of these strategies will help you support the worthy causes and non-profits that you care most about while also providing a tax benefit for you.

Contact Heartland Trust Company to receive a complimentary, confidential analysis about how any of these charitable strategies might work for you & your family.

This is not intended to be legal or tax advice; we advise the reader to contact an attorney and/or accountant for further assistance.

For individuals over 70 ½ with an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), directing their financial institution to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from their IRA directly to charity is likely the most tax efficient method to donate. Currently, individuals may direct up to $100,000 per year be donated to charity. At age 73, individuals are required to begin taking annual Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from Traditional IRAs and these distributions are taxable to the recipient

Jan Nelson, Trust OfficerThe Charitable Trust As A Tax Smart Giving Strategy
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Meet Barb Hilde

Barb Hilde

Barb Hilde

Barb Hilde joined Heartland Trust Company in September as our Administrative Associate.  She has been a great addition to our team, and we can’t wait to try her Ham and Cheese Sliders with Eggs.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Grafton, North Dakota, and still enjoy going back to visit family and friends. I attended Mayville State College for two years and moved back “home” where I began my banking career. I moved to Fargo in 1988 and continued working in banking and in the mortgage area. I currently live in Moorhead with my husband, Jeff. I have two stepchildren, Samantha and Spencer, and we have three fun grandchildren, Christian, Jaxon, and Willa.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, shopping, watching sports, and doing anything with family and friends. You can find us at Big Cormorant Lake in the summer, and on the cold winter days I like to do puzzles.

Tell us about your favorite life experience.

 My favorite life experience was a two-week family vacation to the East Coast. We saw many sights along the way and experienced many of the historical memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C. We also traveled to Niagara Falls, which was beautiful. We saw too many things to mention. I also had an opportunity to travel to Spain with a friend which was a trip I will always remember.

What is your favorite movie/play/book?            

Some of my favorite movies are Grease, Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing. They are oldies but goodies.

I am not a huge book reader, but I did really enjoy the Hunger Games series.

What was the first car you owned?

The first car I owned was a 1980 Red Buick Regal.  I thought it was such a neat looking car, and I remember being so happy that I bought my own car.

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

Princess Diana. She always appeared to have a shyness about her, but I was intrigued by her gracefulness, compassion, and charisma. I would love to hear what she had to say about living life as a “royal.”

How long have you been at Heartland Trust?

I have been at Heartland Trust since September 18, 2023.

What is your favorite part about working at Heartland Trust?

The people I work with. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming.  Everyone works hard but they also like to have fun, which makes it an enjoyable place to work.

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

Ham and Cheese Sliders with eggs are a favorite for breakfast/brunch at the lake or when hosting family and they are easy to make.

Ham and Cheese Sliders with Eggs


Deli Ham, Hawaiian Rolls, American Cheese, Eggs, Butter, Poppy Seeds (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Coat a 9×13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • Next, slice the rolls in half lengthwise and lay the bottoms on the baking dish.
  • Place an even layer of ham over the buns in the baking dish.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, scramble the eggs with 1 tablespoon. of butter, and layer over the ham.
  • Cover the eggs with American cheese and put the bun tops on.
  • Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and brush on the tops of the buns. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
  • Heat in the oven 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
  • Enjoy!

Heartland TrustMeet Barb Hilde
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A Message of Thanksgiving

By Maureen Jelinek, COO

By Maureen Jelinek, COO

In light of the global events surrounding us, it’s crucial to pause and contemplate the blessings in our lives. Looking back over the past year, I’ve found numerous reasons to be thankful.

During the summer of 2022, Heartland Trust Company reached out to me about a new Chief Operating Officer position. I found the role intriguing, and during our discussions, I realized how eager I was to pursue this position. I consider myself fortunate to have become part of the Heartland Trust Company Family on December 1, 2022.

The Heartland Trust team has warmly welcomed me, and I’ve enjoyed establishing connections and learning from each of them.  They’ve provided me the flexibility to accompany my mom to appointments and to support my kids in their activities, allowing for true work-life integration.

In April, my mom unexpectedly passed away, resulting in a profound loss. However, I’m extremely grateful for the quality time I was able to spend with her over these last few years. Having the Heartland team as a resource for questions, has proven very beneficial in navigating the process of settling her estate.     

My son, Jack, qualified for the national weightlifting competition in Colorado Springs in June. Given my recent start date and the time off I had taken following my mother’s passing, I initially hesitated to request more time off. However, Brian Halverson and others were incredibly supportive and encouraged me to be there for Jack. We had an amazing time cheering him on, creating lasting memories, and contributing to his incredible experience.

I deeply appreciate the family culture at Heartland Trust Company, which aligns perfectly with my values of integrity, togetherness, and service. Nearly a year into my journey with the company, I can confidently say that I feel right at home.   

Heartland TrustA Message of Thanksgiving
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By Brian Halverson, President/CEO

By Brian Halverson, President/CEO

Courage is most often thought of in relation to tales of bravery and heroism. But courage is a trait that transcends all aspects of our personal and professional lives. It serves as a catalyst for growth, innovation, and transformation. It is a driving force that propels us to overcome obstacles, embrace change, and forge a path towards success.

Courage is something we all need. In Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead, she makes the connection between vulnerability and courage. You can’t have courage without being vulnerable, yet our egos say being vulnerable is a bad thing. In reality, it’s not. We must understand that being vulnerable is ok.

In the business world, courage is the cornerstone of innovation and progress. In this ever-evolving world, businesses that stay stagnant will be left behind. Leaders must show courage and adapt with the rapidly changing landscape. Taking calculated risks opens doors to new opportunities and enables companies to stay ahead of the competition.

At Heartland Trust, we have shown courage over the past few years as we grow. We’ve had several promotions and hirings; we’ve migrated to several new software platforms including our entire wealth management business; and we recently finished our office remodel (stop by and see it if you’re in the neighborhood!).

Ultimately, we want our courage to promote personal and professional growth. We strive to make every day better than the last. Not every day will be a great day, but we want more great days than good days, and more good days than bad days. I am proud of the team at Heartland Trust and the courage they show.

Jace GilleshammerCourage
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Finding Balance

Brian Halverson – President

When you match a strong work ethic with a society that doesn’t promote balance, a person can get lost in the day-to-day grind of trying to keep up. Without balance, something always suffers, whether it’s work or family. Or maybe you are present, but nothing gets the full attention it should.

Finding balance isn’t easy. You must identify what is meaningful and learn when, why, and how to say yes or no. When you introduce “change” into the conversation, it makes finding balance even more difficult.

Jace GilleshammerFinding Balance
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Brian Halverson – President

One of the most legendary expeditions was led by Sir Ernest Shackleton from 1914-1916. On a ship rightfully named Endurance, he led a journey known as the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. This expedition had no guarantee of returning home safely and promised an abundance of adventure in the unknown.

With a clear goal, a strong team, and a mighty ship, the crew of 28 set off for the Antarctic Circle.

Jace GilleshammerEndurance
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As you read this quarter’s newsletter, you will notice many exciting changes going on at Heartland Trust. After 31 years leading the operations, compliance, and HR departments at Heartland, Sheryl Bernier has retired/significantly reduced her work hours and duties. 

Sheryl’s departure brings changes in the form of promotions and new hires. Our team is growing, and we are bringing on experienced and knowledgeable people who share the qualities and values that we hold up as important. And while not seeing Sheryl every day will be a hard change, we are grateful. Grateful for her three decades of leadership. Grateful that our other team members are growing with their careers. Grateful that we can bring in other experienced professionals who want to grow with Heartland. 

Jace GilleshammerGrateful
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