Our Team

Joel D. Black, President

Joel is a seasoned business executive with proven experience across a broad spectrum of financial services, from publicly held to privately owned entities in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining First Trust Company, he served as COO for the Wealth Management Group at U.S. Bancorp. Earlier, Joel held senior management or C-level positions at UBS Financial Services, Piper Jaffray Companies, ELCA Board of Pensions, BNCCORP, and Dain Bosworth.

Joel offices at First Trust’s chartered headquarters in Rapid City. He holds a B.A. degree from Dakota Wesleyan University, an M.B.A. in Finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and has done doctoral work at Metropolitan State University. He is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) and member of the West River Estate and Financial Planning Council.

John R. Bultena, Senior Advisor

John has spent his career in the financial services industry and the private practice of law. He initiated the formation of First Trust Company and oversaw the effort to secure its charter, following which he was named its first president. Prior to his association with First Trust, John served as president and CEO of Northern Trust’s first Minnesota office, president and CEO of Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company, and senior vice president and head of personal trust administration for U.S. Bancorp. Earlier, he practiced law for 14 years with the Twin Cities firm of Briggs and Morgan.

John holds a B.A. degree from Augustana College, a J.D. degree from the University of Minnesota, and an LL.M. (in Taxation) from New York University. He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Ramsey County Bar Association.

Adam C. Stern, Senior Vice President

Adam is an experienced trust officer focused on developing and maintaining strong relationships with lawyers, other trusted advisors, and their clients. Prior to joining First Trust Company the month after it was chartered, Adam was a senior trust officer and financial planner with Wells Fargo Private Bank. He began his financial services career at U.S. Bank as a contract analyst before transitioning to personal trust administration.

Adam is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is both a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA). He is a member of the Twin Cities Financial and Estate Planning Council and the Minnesota Financial Planning Association.

Thomas V. Van Robays, Senior Vice President

Tom is a career trust officer with over 25 years experience in estate planning, financial services and trust services. Prior to joining First Trust Company, Tom served as president of Dakota Guardian Trust Company. Earlier, he managed the trust department of Great Western Bank in Omaha.

Tom holds a B.S. degree from South Dakota State University and a J.D. degree from Creighton University School of Law. He serves on the executive board of the Omaha Estate Planning Council and is also involved in several charitable organizations and foundations.

Dirk A. Williams, Senior Trust Consultant

Dirk has a distinguished career of over 35 years in business and estate planning, probate and trust administration and fiduciary guidance. Having practiced as both an investment advisor and attorney (in firms ranging from solo practice to 170+ members), Dirk brings a rich set of skills and experience to First Trust Company. Dirk,the past Montana State Chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, serves on ACTEC’s State Laws and Asset Protection Committees.

Dirk holds a B.S. degree in Economics and Political Science from University of Montana, where he also earned his J.D. He also received his LL.M (Masters in Tax Law) from the University of Florida School of Law.

Maisee Y. Xong, Vice President & Director of Operations

Maisee is a dedicated professional handling day-to-day trust administration, operational processing, and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining First Trust Company, Maisee was a client service associate at Abbot Downing (formerly Lowry Hill), the high net worth client division of Wells Fargo.

Maisee holds a B.S. degree at Metropolitan State University and has completed Cannon Trust School.