From business strategy to promoting the arts, Brian Halverson ’06, president of Heartland Trust Co. in Fargo, leads with his values.
Brian Halverson ’06
President, Heartland Trust Co., Fargo
Major/Minor: Business; Studio Art
Halverson was recruited by Coach Terry Horan to be a kicker for the Concordia football team. After four successful seasons with the Cobbers, Halverson pursued his dream of taking his kicking career to the next level.
But after a year of training and working with a coach, he decided the life of an aspiring professional athlete wasn’t for him and started down a career path he’d always been interested in.
The business major had his sights set on a career in wealth management.
“I grew up around the industry, and I was interested in the different types of assets that people have,” Halverson says. “From rental property, to family businesses, farmland, stocks, bonds, mutual funds. Wealth management is about more than just net worth.”
Halverson started out with a job at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis to gain some experience in corporate banking. Later, he worked for a company that sold dental materials to bolster his sales skills. The position also offered him the opportunity to travel, manage a territory, learn how the supply chain works from manufacturer to distributors, and study what drives consumers to buy products.
For the past six years, Halverson has been a part of Heartland Trust Co. He started with administering 401(k) plans and gradually worked into IRAs, investment accounts and eventually trusts. The experience gave him the opportunity to see the ins and outs of all the different types of accounts that Heartland manages.
Now as president of Heartland Trust, his role has shifted to focus on the bigger picture.
“The fun part for me is working on strategies to implement that will continue to make us successful,” he says. “Examining what we can do to make us more efficient, more productive, and grow but also maintain our values, our culture and our mission.”
In the six years since he joined the company, the number of employees at Heartland Trust has almost doubled. Halverson says one of the best parts of his role is getting the right people in the right seats by figuring out where each person’s skills are best utilized. But he says the greatest challenge working in a growing company is keeping everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction.
“In an established business, it’s hard to implement new ways of doing things. Change is hard,” he says. “Communication is always a challenge and, as a leader, you really learn how important it is.”
Another lesson Halverson says the business has taught him is the importance of being an authentic and genuine person to everyone you meet.
“In our business, we don’t have products to sell. What I’m really selling is me, my philosophy and our company’s values,” he says. “Building connections is crucial to the business of Heartland Trust Company. We’re not a ‘loud’ company, but our reputation is very important. We live by our values whether we’re in our office or out in our community.”
And true to Halverson’s personal values, he also serves the community as a board member of the Plains Art Museum. Heartland Trust also sponsors an Art and Business Breakfast series at the museum in an effort to inspire and facilitate collaboration between artists and the business community.
Halverson says he believes in supporting the Plains Art Museum because art is important to our culture and quality of life.
“The museum provides education and an opportunity for our community, specifically children of our community, to experience art,” he says.
Halverson also has some advice for recent graduates.
“Create your own set of values and mission statement, like a business does, but do it for yourself. That will help you find what your true passions are and it will help you analyze businesses you want to work at,” he says. “Align your values with a business that has similar values and chances are you’ll be a great cultural fit and truly enjoy what you do.”
Laura Caroon '06 is a content strategist at Concordia College.