Advisory Council

Fran Douthat

Fran was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Upon graduation from the University of Kansas Law School, Fran achieved admittance to both the Kansas and Missouri Bar Associations. After two years working within the legal field, Fran was introduced to the investment world. After three years with Piper Jaffray, Fran and her team joined the Kansas City office of Smith Barney in 1997. While at Smith Barney, the Douthat Team focused on comprehensive financial planning, portfolio management and corporate retirement planning. In April 2009, the Douthat Group joined the Kansas City office of UBS Financial Services. Fran currently holds the titles of Vice President – Investments and Senior Wealth Strategy Associate. In addition, she assisted the Bridge Home in opening a second facility to serve the needs of children in our metropolitan area. Currently, Fran sits on the boards of the Bishop Miege Foundation and The Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas. Fran is also actively involved in the parish activities of St. Ann Catholic School and Church.

Kelly Estes – Pratt

Kelly Estes has been the CEO of Bucklin Tractor, Inc. (BTI) since 1987. He is in his 46th year of employment with BTI, which is in its 4th generation as a family-owned business. He has grown the business from a single John Deere dealership in Bucklin to a total of six locations, adding dealerships in Greensburg, Ness City, Pratt, Hoxie, and Great Bend. BTI employs over 200 Kansans and has been named to the John Deere Leader’s Club 28 times of the 35 years that it has been in existence for being among the top 10% of John Deere Dealers in the nation. Kelly serves on the Girard National Bank Advisory Board and previously served on the Federated Insurance board through the Western Association. He graduated from Colby Community College.

Brian Everist – Mission Hills

Brian D. Everist is president and CEO of Intercontinental Engineering-Manufacturing Corp. Intercon is a 55 year-old manufacturing firm headquartered in Kansas City, MO with additional facilities in Louisiana; the company traces it roots to several family-owned businesses dating back to 1876. Intercon specializes in the design, fabrication, machining, and assembly of heavy machinery while serving the defense, heavy industry, and marine transportation markets. Mr. Everist has previously served as a board member with Commerce Bank of Kansas City and TSM Services, Inc. He is also active in the community as a past member of both the Business Council Steering Committee at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Young Presidents’ Organization. He is a 1973 graduate of Harvard University and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1977.

Al Higdon – Wichita

Al Higdon served as director of public and media relations at two Fortune 500 companies between 1961 – 1971. He then co-founded the Sullivan Higdon & Sink advertising and public relations firm (now Signal Theory), which presently employs 170 people in offices in Kansas City and Wichita. Retiring as SHS Chairman/CEO in 1996 he taught graduate level courses in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State for eight years. Civically he served as interim CEO of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, vice chair of the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, board member of Wichita Community Foundation, Salvation Army advisory board, president, Wichita River Festival, board chair of Exploration Place, trustee of Wichita Art Museum, president of Music Theatre of Wichita board, chairman of WSU Foundation National Advisory Council, WSU board of trustees, and chair of University of Kansas Endowment Association Chancellor’s Club. He is a business graduate of KU and a journalism graduate of WSU.

Ron Nolan – Louisburg

Mr. Nolan founded Nolan Real Estate Services, Inc. in 1972 as a firm specializing in the multi-family and hospitality industries. NRES provides a full-range of services including acquisitions and due diligence analysis, asset and property management, and disposition and consultation. It currently serves as the management affiliate of KCVG and maintains a regional office in Phoenix, Arizona and has over 300 employees while managing over 9,500 units nationwide. Mr. Nolan is a 1964 graduation of the Miami University of Ohio.

Bill Pickert

Bill grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in Accounting and Business Administration. He recently retired from a 40-year career in public accounting primarily with BKD (now FORVIS). He is a former managing partner of BKD’s Wichita office, overseeing the operations and support of more than seventy partners, client services staff, and administrative personnel. Under Bill’s leadership the office achieved a fivefold increase in revenues and expanded services into several new industries. In his role, he served a client base of commercial, not-for-profit, construction, and health care organizations. Throughout his career with BKD, he provided financial statement audits, consulted in various industries, and assisted with strategic consulting. Bill remains active in serving the community. He has previously served on several boards including as board chair for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Goodwill Industries of Kansas, American Red Cross – Midway Kansas, and Exploration Place. He currently serves as a board member for other community organizations including the Quivira Council of the Boy Scouts of America and Wichita Public Library Foundation.

Colby Sandlian – Wichita

Colby B. Sandlian has been in the commercial investment real estate business for a career spanning over 57 years. His real estate career includes activities as a broker and investor/developer involved in all aspects of the real estate brokerage industry. He received the professional designation Certified Commercial Investment Member in 1969. Mr. Sandlian has been a member of the Society of Exchange Counselors since the early 1970’s, and served as its President in 1981. The U-Stor mini-storage division of Sandlian Realty and Investments currently comprises 73 projects in twelve states, totaling in excess of four million square feet of self-storage facilities. In 2005 he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas CCIM Chapter and the Wichita State University Center for Real Estate.