Learn about our client service approach

Alan Harper, President and Senior Trust Officer

At Wealth Advisors Trust Company, Alan uses his 28 years of trust industry experience to ensure the current position and future direction of the company remain an industry leader among independent trust companies.   Previously, Alan held various leadership roles at major bank trust departments and thereby understands the importance of offering client flexibility to the trust product.  

Alan is a native of Houston, TX.  Ten years ago, his passion for trust brought him to South Dakota, the number one trust state.  Alan enjoys serving his community by sitting on various boards throughout the beautiful Black Hills area, and the pleasantries of hobby farming with his wife and daughter. 

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Nina Fillis, CTFA, Vice President and Trust Officer

Wealth Advisors Trust Company has expanded the Trust Services team by hiring Nina Fillis as Vice President and Trust Officer. Nina is a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor and a graduate from Cannon Financial Institute. She brings over 17 years of experience in the financial industry and the ability to perform complex trust administration duties.

Nina and her family recently moved here from the Pacific Northwest. Nina enjoys being outdoors with her husband and two sons. She loves gardening, hiking, fishing, and working on projects around the house.  

Jami Kuchenbecker, Trust Associate

Jami Kuchenbecker joined Wealth Advisors Trust Company as a Trust Associate.  Jami graduated from the University of Wyoming with her Master’s Degree. After working in the insurance and financial industry at Northwestern Mutual for many years, the transition to Wealth Advisors Trust Company was a natural fit.  Jami has extensive experience in managing account relationships and dealing with policy administration.  

Jami is a native of Rapid City, SD and considers herself a “South Dakota girl, through and through.” Jami prides herself on excellent customer service through communicating effectively with clients, financial advisors, investment managers and attorneys.

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Jessica Kyle, Trust Associate

Jessica Kyle joined Wealth Advisors Trust Company as a Trust Associate.  Jessica has an extensive background in the banking, finance and estate/trust fields which made the transition to Wealth Advisors Trust Company a natural fit. Jessica offers a deep bench of experience in providing robust and proactive account management.   

Jessica is a native of Montana and has a great love for all things outdoors. Jessica’s drive for trust and quality work provides her with a determination to provide exceptional customer service to clients, financial advisors, investment managers, and her team.

Chuck Sharpe, JD and CPA, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Chuck provides his visionary and strategic outlook on the trust company industry.  Leaning on his legal experience and financial planning exposure to entrepreneurs, multi-family generational planning and high net worth clients, Chuck provides additional estate and trust planning overview.   Chuck started his career at KPMG as an audit professional and later, after graduating from law school, joined Ernst & Young’s Personal Financial Counseling group. During his time with Ernst & Young, he focused on consulting high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives on diverse estate planning and asset protection issues, ranging from simple wills and trusts to sophisticated, multi-entity transfer planning.  Chuck started his law firm in Dallas, Texas in 2003 focusing on estate planning, estate and trust administration and asset protection.

Chuck is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a regular presenter to the financial planning sector regarding estate planning and coordination with financial plans. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University (1992) and the University of Oklahoma College of Law (1997).  He obtained has CPA license in 1993 and is authorized to practice law in Texas and Oklahoma.

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Matt Paladini, CFP, Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer

At Wealth Advisors Trust Co. Matt provides his knowledge of finance and accounting to keep everything structured, organized, on budget and profitable.  He coordinates with the President on other operational functions to ensure a smooth operating trust company.  

Matt spent four+ years at the international accounting firm of Ernst & Young, LLP in the Personal Financial Counseling group under the Firm's tax department. At Ernst & Young, Matt provided personal financial and accounting advice to corporate executives and business owners. Areas of specialized focus at E&Y included accounting, tax planning, retirement, and estate planning.

Matt received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of North Texas, and he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.

Christopher Holtby, CPWA, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer

At Wealth Advisors Trust Company, Christopher applies his business building, love of learning, operational, and wealth management expertise gained at Ernst & Young.  His role includes learning and facilitating knowledge around the trustee industry to assist those in choosing a  trust company. Christopher has co-authored two white papers, Directed Trusts Made Simple and the Trusteed IRA, and authored one published peer-reviewed paper, An Advisors Roadmap to the Trustee Industry.  From the operational side, Christopher created the trust administration process within SalesForce. He and his family are clients of the trust company as well.

Christopher grew up in Toronto, Canada, graduated from the University of Arizona receiving a BA in Psychology with an emphasis on statistics and a minor in English Literature. He lives in Dallas with his wife and three sons and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, hiking, reading history, and watching and participating in sports with his sons.

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Antoine Burrell

Antoine Burrell, Vice-President, Business Development

Antoine’s drive for performance rests on the passion of giving everyone control and choice when using any type of trustee. At Wealth Advisors Trust Company, he focuses on developing new Sales and Marketing Strategies to further increase business development opportunities. Through creativity and adaptability, Antoine has assisted in creating new processes to build strong collaborative relationships with advisors using Wealth Advisors Trust Company.  He works directly with the Chief Learning Officer to create innovative solutions for new clients. Antoine specializes in successor trustee, ILITs, and other personal trusts.  

Antoine is a native of The Colony, Texas. He graduated from Harding University with a degree in Finance. While at college, he was a member of many organizations and won two conference championships with the men’s basketball team. His previous experience includes Healthcare Finance & Accounting and Insurance. He is currently working towards his Masters of Business Administration in Trust Fund Management.  Reading is a substantial hobby. Other hobbies include dancing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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Steve Blankenship, CFP, Co-Founder and Vice-President

Steve utilizes various skill sets on marketing and compliance issues surrounding the trustee services provider to Wealth Advisor Trust Co. clients.  

Steve earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor University.  Steve worked in a variety of positions in the financial planning industry including the Wealth Management practices of both Ernst & Young, LLP and Arthur Andersen, LLP. Steve’s wide range of experience has allowed him to work with and be mentored by four planners who were ultimately named to Worth Magazine’s Top Financial Advisors in America.

Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and two young sons. When he’s not in the office, Steve enjoys fishing and, during the fall, cheering on his Tennessee Volunteer football team.

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Ralph Pence, FSA and CLU, Co-Founder and Vice-President

Ralphs brings a wealth of experience as a former insurance actuary.  He brings those skills to light for Wealth Advisors Trust Co.in helping with insurance related issues and trusts. His former position at Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company's Regional Director for the Texas Region, he held this position since 2001. In this role, he was responsible for recruiting and developing producers in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

Ralph began his career in the life insurance industry as an actuarial student with Columbus Life. In 1987, he joined Nationwide as an Associate Actuary, and became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1989. He was chief actuary for Penn Mutual from 1999-2001. Ralph holds a B.S. in mathematics from Ohio State University.