Our Team

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 32 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 trust 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 ensure personal and family goals are realized. 

Jon is active in his community serving as the Past President of the Board for 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

Senior 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 over 40 years in the trust services industry which includes working in the areas of administration of trust, agency, IRA and 401(k) accounts, fiduciary operations, compliance, and HR. 

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 Company in April, 2012 bringing over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.  Mary works primarily with the administration of personal trusts, agencies, IRA, and Foundation accounts. Mary grew up and lives in Fargo, and has two daughters.  She enjoys spending time with her family, being at the lake, and cheering on the Minnesota Wild.

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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 and CEO

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 and currently serves as Board Chair, 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 first of its kind in North Dakota. 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 previously the national president of the Association of Independent Trust Companies. Steve currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Heartland Trust Company.

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Gary W. Hanson

Executive Vice President/ Director

Gary is the Executive Vice President and a Director of Heartland Trust Company. He has been an integral part of the growth and success of Heartland Trust over the years. His current responsibilities 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.

Gary spent 16 years at Norwest (Wells Fargo) in Fargo, and in 1988 was appointed President of First American Trust Company of Minnesota, a Bremer Financial Corporation subsidiary located in Marshall, MN. In December of 1990, he returned to Fargo, and was named a Vice President at Heartland Trust Company, and became a shareholder. Gary has twice been a presenter 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 the community, having served as president of his church congregation, chair of the church foundation, president of the Fargo Lions Club, and numerous positions in his Lions club 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 joined Heartland Trust Company in 2014, bringing with her over two decades of trust administration experience. Renee previously worked at Bell Bank and Trust and Wells Fargo. 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 and her husband Chris live in Fargo with their two children.

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Jennifer Johnston, CTFA

Trust Officer

Jennifer (Jen) Johnston joined HTC in 2017. She was born and raised in Fargo, ND graduating from Fargo North. She received her BA in accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and her MBA with a concentration in finance from Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, MN. 

Jen has over 14 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 a 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 a member of First Presbyterian Church of Fargo and of P.E.O. Chapter Y.

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Kayla Kranda

Operations Officer

Kayla is a native of Tappen, ND. She graduated from Minot State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. Kayla joined Heartland Trust Company in 2014 and has been in the financial services industry since 2004. 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 Retirement Services Operations and Compliance

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 has two sons. She serves as a board member of PACE supporting Grace Lutheran School.  She enjoys watching football, going to plays and musicals, and spending time with family and friends.   

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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 West Fargo and enjoys playing golf, 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 her current role as an Operations Associate. Her favorite part of her job is connecting with and taking care of clients. Jill volunteers at the Arthritis Foundation. 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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Jan Nelson

Trust Officer

Jan is a native of Hettinger, ND, where she grew up on a 1,200 acre grain and cattle farm. She graduated from Minnesota State University – Moorhead with a BS in accounting and minor in finance. Jan joined Heartland Trust in 2013. She was previously employed by Metropolitan Federal Bank and Concordia College and 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 Board Member for the Red River Valley Estate Planning Council. She is a volunteer for several local non-profit organizations.  Jan and her husband, Glenn, have two adult children.

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Amy Remmick, CRSP

Retirement Services Operations and Compliance

Amy is a Merrill, WI native. She is a graduate of the Canon Financial Trust School. She has been in the financial services industry since 1998, with a primary focus on institutional retirement plans since 2001, and joined Heartland Trust Company in July 2021. Amy is an active member of the ICB and volunteers with Junior Achievement and additional organizations throughout the community.

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Jana Samek

Retirement Services Relationship Manager

Jana joined HTC in Jan 2017. She is a native of Minot, ND and graduated from Mayville State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. She has over 20 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 attending various sporting activities, going to the lakes, and spending time with family and friends.

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Naomi Schempp

Vice President/ Human Resource Officer

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 serves the 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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Kari Skauge, CBAP®

Compliance Officer

Kari is a native of Rollag, MN. She joined Heartland Trust Company in 2021 as the Compliance Officer. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of North Dakota. She has been working in the financial industry since 2013, and currently holds a Certified BSA/AML Professional designation. Kari and her husband have three beautiful children and she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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Dustin Sobolik, CFP®

Investment Officer

Dustin Sobolik has been with Heartland Trust Company since 2015, and working in financial services since 2013. He works with individual clients and nonprofits focusing on market research, investment management, and financial planning, and he also has earned his Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation. 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 Compliance

Lori was born, raised, and currently resides in Moorhead, MN. She has over 29 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 Compliance department.  Lori enjoys summertime outdoor activities, reading, and especially spending time with her son, Adam and his family.  

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Kevin Wangen

Wealth Management Associate

Kevin grew up in Harvey, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and has been in the banking, wealth management, 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, skiing, running, biking, furniture refinishing, woodworking, DIY projects, and spending time with his wife and kids with their activities.

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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 long career in the trust business by accepting an entry level position and, through hard work and experience, worked her way up to a Trust Relationship Manager position over the next three decades. Missy joined Heartland Trust Company in June 2019 and now serves as a Trust Officer in the Personal Trust division. She provides administration services to clients and beneficiaries with accounts in the areas of personal trust, agency, and IRAs. 

Missy and her husband Mark are empty-nesters living in Fargo. Together their greatest accomplishment was raising four children. They receive the most enjoyment spending as much time as possible with their grandchildren. Hosting family dinners, celebrating holidays, traveling, and following college football keeps her expanding family close together year-round.

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Nick SchommerOur Team