Harbour Trust Company celebrated its silver anniversary on Wednesday, August 24 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony full of smiles and congratulatory handshakes as the red fabric against its front doors was snapped into two for this major milestone.
The company is an independent corporate fiduciary in Michigan City, providing Trust services, estate planning, estate settlement, investment management, ira management, and financial planning to the city and others in La Porte County and Northwest Indiana. Harbour was charted in 1997 as just the third independent corporate fiduciary in the state of Indiana. That number hasn’t changed years later in 2022, and Harbour considers it a great honor to still be named as one of those three.
25 years ago, Harbour Trust Co-Founder, the late Leon Dargis, had the idea to start an independent Trust company and teamed up with current Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and second Co-Founder Bob Rose to start putting plans into action. Rose admits he was a bit nervous in the beginning but now looks back in awe as he sees how far the company has come in just a quarter of a century.
“It's remarkable, really,” Rose said. “I mean, thinking back to 25 years ago, my partner was very optimistic. I was scared. Today, here we are, 25 years later, and now I think I share the same optimism today that he had 25 years ago.”
Harbour has seen several successes over the years, hitting milestone after milestone. A particular favorite happened just earlier this year, showing Harbour has its roots strongly planted in the area and is on its way to see even greater wins moving forward.
“We just crossed over $1 billion of assets under management this year in our 25 years of doing business,” said First Harbour President and Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Oberlie. “We're thrilled about that milestone, but also just in terms of the growth of our staff. We wouldn't be able to grow our staff if clients weren’t committed to receiving advisory and trusted service from our company.”
This growth in staff is also what prompted the company to recently renovate its office. A total of 3,260 square feet was added, and over 2,000 square feet were repurposed. Now, Harbour has 15 new offices, three multipurpose spaces, an employee conference room, and a boardroom.
Being an established company in the community has allowed Harbour to form family-like relationships with its clients. Looking back, it’s one of Rose’s favorite things he’s experienced in his time working with the company.
“It all comes back to the relationships we share with our clients,” Rose said. “It's being invited to weddings and baptisms, Bar Mitzvahs. You become part of the family and you are invited to some very important family functions. Relationships are alive and well at Harbour Trust. We appreciate our clients. We get to know them and get to know their families, and that commitment is not going to change.”
Moving ahead, developing these relationships and adding new ones to the Harbour family is what Oberlie is looking forward to the most as well.
“I’m excited to see the continued growth of the company but more along the lines of providing a service and building these trusting relationships with our clients – that's what we value the most,” Oberlie said.
The Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City (EDCMC) has also been a pertinent resource for Harbour to achieve this success, providing resources, potential leads, and support over the years to help get the company to where it is today.
“The EDCMC is a resource for us if we need information about companies coming in, services they'll provide – they might be future partners for Harbour Trust Company, and Clarence and his team are always available to answer any questions we have,” said Oberlie.
Now, looking ahead, Rose has complete confidence in his team as the group works to achieve its golden anniversary later on.
“This is a very, very strong team, and I will tell you I'm very optimistic about the next generation of managers,” he said. “Stephanie, our president, who really runs the business is outstanding, but she's also supported by some very strong people.”
For more information on Harbour Trust Company, visit its website at harbourtrust.com, and for more information on the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, visit its website at edcmc.com.