Ryan Witt, First Business Trust & Investments

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Ryan Witt, vice president – wealth advisor, First Business Trust & Investments.
Pow Ryan Witt Headsot

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

Keeping clients focused to start, finish, and continue to update their estate planning is both the most challenging and rewarding aspect of my job. Once I have this conversation with clients, it’s great to see the sense of accomplishment and peace of mind it creates for them. In some situations, a will suffices; other times, we need to be more creative where a trust makes more sense. Estate planning not only directs where to disburse assets, but it also shows the family there is a well thought out plan and answers any potential unknowns.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I admire my wife, who is a pediatric mental health therapist and national trainer for multidimensional family therapy (MDFT). She chose her occupation purely for the love of helping people. When I met her 11 years ago, I didn’t know much about mental health or the extent that it impacts everyone. I admire her ability to connect with and build relationships with people from all backgrounds, listen thoughtfully to others, and help her clients become happier and healthier. With her work as a national trainer for MDFT, I admire her ability to speak to large groups of professionals and her passion to help newer therapists gain competence and confidence in their abilities. Although my wife and I are in different industries, we are in the world of helping people with different aspects of their lives. Hearing her talk about her work has made me a better wealth advisor because it ultimately comes back to building relationships and listening to understand.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

The high point of my career is having in-depth conversations with clients regarding virtually every aspect of their financial situations. There is nothing like being able to dig deeper into topics that would normally not seem important, but end up ultimately being the primary drivers to many of their decisions. Whether it’s private banking, commercial banking, investments, or estate planning, I can truly understand and give customized recommendations to help simplify our clients’ lives.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I would say to my 21-year-old self, “Find the time to learn from everyone and take what you learn and make it your own.” With social media and the ability to access the internet from anywhere, there is no reason someone should fail at something that someone else has already succeeded at. Learn from others’ mistakes so you can succeed quicker and at a higher level than the person before you!

What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

Dane County has an incredible amount of entertainment options from the lakes to the Badgers, running and biking trails, parks, and the great restaurants. My number one goal in the warm seasons is to play as much volleyball as possible while also pontoon boating with friends and family on the weekends. In the winter, we watch the Badgers, curl, and visit our favorite restaurants.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I wouldn’t say it’s a secret talent to the other 600 members, but most of my colleagues and clients aren’t aware that I curl. Yes, I’m one of those sweepers, but there is a lot more to the sport than sweeping! If you haven’t tried curling, it’s very similar to golf in that there is a mental and physical part to the game while every shot is going to be slightly different. Golfers hope to make the perfect shot about 36 times per round, while curlers only get to throw 16 stones per game.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Ice cream and custard are my guilty pleasures. My go-to ice cream is caramel cashew at Olson’s Ice Cream in Chippewa Falls, my hometown. In and around Madison, I tend to find myself at Michael’s Frozen Custard and Culver’s.

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