Our Team

Katherine A. Bartling, Trust Officer

Katherine has developed her extensive knowledge, experience, and insights in the trust services and wealth advisory field during a 30-year career devoted to assisting clients in achieving their goals of growing, protecting, and transferring their assets. Prior to joining First Trust Company, Katherine served as trust officer of Dakota Guardian Trust Company. Previously, she served as a trust officer of York State Bank & Trust Company and of Zions Bank.

Katherine is a graduate of the Cannon Trust School, and she is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA).

Joel D. Black, Managing Director

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 as executive vice president, 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.

Andrew G. Buks, Vice President, Business Development

Andrew has extensive experience in private banking and asset management with international financial institutions ranging from North America to Asia. Prior to joining First Trust Company, Andrew served as vice president of Dakota Guardian Trust Company and earlier as vice president of HSBC Bank in Washington, DC.

Andrew holds a B.A. degree in international studies from Troy University and an M.A. degree in international management from Harvard University. Andrew serves on the board of directors of Harvard Alumni for Agriculture and is an active member of several Harvard University clubs.

John R. Bultena, Managing Director

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.

Lloyd S. Stern, Senior Advisor

Lloyd joined First Trust Company in March of 2016 following more than 18 years of service with U.S. Bank as head of its Estate Services Group in Minnesota. Previously, he was engaged in the private practice of law in the Twin Cities. Earlier in his career, Lloyd held positions as a legal editor at West Publishing Company and as a contract administrator on classified government projects at Itek Corporation and 3M Company.

Lloyd holds a B.B.A. degree from the University of Miami (Florida) and a J.D. degree from the New England School of Law. He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association (past chair of its Employee Benefits Section) and the Ramsey County Bar Association, as well as a long-time member of the Twin Cities Financial and Estate Planning Council. Lloyd serves on the planning committee for Minnesota CLE’s Annual Probate and Trust Law Section Conference, and he is a co-editor of the Trust Administration Deskbook published by Minnesota CLE.

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.

Maisee Y. Xong, Director of Operations & Trust Officer

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 has completed Cannon Trust School and is currently pursuing her B.S. degree at Metropolitan State University.