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.

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.

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 management, and more. As a fiduciary, Marcus has overseen the interests of his clients as well as the supervision and training of administrative teams.

Marcus offices at First Trust’s headquarters in Rapid City. He 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.