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 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 Fiduciary Advisor (CTFA) and member of the West River Estate and Financial Planning Council.

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.

Michael Redden, Senior Vice President

Michael has vast experience focused on asset protection, estate planning, trust and estates, taxation, and business succession. As a licensed attorney, he has been involved in complex planning for both median net worth and ultra-high net worth clients. Michael is a veteran of the United States Air Force and has authored two books and numerous articles for trade publications.

Michael holds a Juris Doctor degree from Hamline University, School of Law in addition to a Graduate Certificate in Advocacy and Problem Solving from Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He is a current member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Minnesota Bar Association, and his local Planning Commission.

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 received his LL.M (Masters in Tax Law) from the University of Florida School of Law.

Marcus Leach, Trust Officer

Marcus is an experienced trust officer and asset manager. Prior to joining First Trust Company, he served as Manager of Unique Assets at National Advisors Trust, where he managed their portfolio of unique and hard-to-value assets, including real estate, closely held businesses, mineral interests, farm and ranch interests, and more.

Marcus holds a B.A. degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law. He has served on the Board of Directors for the KC Urban Debate League for 12 years.

Taner B. DenHoed, Trust Officer

Taner started his career with First Trust Company as a trust administrator and was promoted to trust officer in the Fall of 2022. In that role, he takes a hands-on approach at meeting clients’ needs and providing expert administration on all trust matters.

Taner holds a B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance and a Graduate Certificate of Trust Management from Dakota Wesleyan University. He is currently obtaining his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor (CTFA) accreditations.