Meet Michael

By The Trust Company on March 11, 2016

Michael Carlisle, Vice President & Trust Officer, Lawrence office

How did your career begin?

After I left the Air Force, I returned to Kansas and started a banking career in Wichita. Part of the management training program involved on-the-job experience in the trust department. I’d never heard of a trust department, but I was fascinated by it. That was really the first inkling that I had about the profession, and I gravitated towards it.

Why the trust business?

I was drawn to the trust business by its unique combination of services that requires a broad range of expertise — property law, trust law, gift and estate taxation, income taxation, asset management, security management, people management…it’s all just a really unique blend. Since I tend to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, I found it challenging, fascinating and rewarding.


This is the kind of work that, once you get established and build relationships, you can do it for a number of years. The older you get, the more credible you become — not only to yourself, but also to your clientele. Experience allows you to tell the story more credibly to new people.


What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Helping people solve problems at important junctures of life, and putting their estate plans into action. Often you’re working with people who have health issues, and even after they pass away, you have to carry out their plans and wishes and work with their families, all in their best interest. Sometimes you have to be a good steward and put a fence around the assets.


One of my associates had a young man as a trust beneficiary who was mentally challenged. We were in a position to manage assets, see to it that he had care, medications, and so forth, so at some level he was able to function. It’s a pretty honorable and rewarding line of work.


What do you love about your work?

There’s just something about the challenge of trying to find a mix of assets that really works over time for particular situations. It’s a blend of economics, geopolitics, history, and the eccentricities of human behavior all mixed together. Investor behavioral psychology is a growing field of study identifying behaviors and habits we humans have relative to our assets, securities and investments, some of which can be counter-productive.


That’s quite honestly why using somebody like The Trust Company can be a real advantage. While I have the ability to deal with my own portfolio, sometimes I don’t do as well because of emotional attachments relative to my money. But with someone else’s finances, I can be more objective and behave more rationally — do what really should be done. When a person is comfortable enough to let an advisor manage his or her investments, it really speaks to the integrity, reliability and trustworthiness of the people that he or she is dealing with.

On being a grandpa…

We have six grandkids as of this past November — four boys in Texas, and two girls in Kansas. Our two-year-old granddaughter is the first girl in three generations of Carlisles — so this little girl comes, and it’s like, wow — a girl! I’m just so smitten it’s ridiculous. I try not to be obnoxious about it. I love the boys (they are really a talented little pack of puppies) but those girls are a new experience.


Do you have any secret talents?

I have something of a comedic streak in me. I do impersonations — Elmer Fudd, Sylvester the Cat, Bugs Bunny, Kermit the Frog, The Godfather, Forrest Gump, and Yoda, to name a few. My kids say, “Dad, you never quote movie lines right.” I always mess up “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” quotes. I think the family is pretty bored by it, but nice people laugh at me, and that encourages me to perform.


As Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”