senior management



From L to R: Leif Christianson, Scott Cattanach, Keith Baars, Tom Knudsen, Donna Staples, Patrick Heier, Peter Knitt, Chris Pfender, & Maureen Jorgensen


Peter Knitt | President & CEO

As president and chief executive officer, Mr. Knitt is responsible for setting strategic direction and for ensuring the profitability of the bank. Mr. Knitt joined the bank in 2003 as the Northern Market President after an extensive track record in commercial banking and was promoted in 2006 to President and Chief Executive Officer. He has over 30 years of community banking leadership in north-central Wisconsin. Mr. Knitt serves on the board of directors for Bankers Bank of Wisconsin and is a past board member of the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce.

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Scott Cattanach, CPA | Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Cattanach joined Peoples State Bank as Chief Financial Officer in 2002 after 11 years of serving banks as a CPA with Wipfli LLP. His responsibilities include financial reporting to shareholders and regulatory agencies, as well as managing the bank’s investment portfolio and liquidity position, product pricing, budgeting, interest rate risk, investor relations and strategic planning.

Mr. Cattanach currently serves as director and treasurer of Christian Life Communications, Inc. (WCLQ Radio 89.5 FM) of Wausau, WI, and as president and treasurer of MC United Soccer Club, representing over 350 youth soccer players and teams affiliated with the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association. He is also a past director and treasurer of the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin.

Scott Cattanach - LinkedIn

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Patrick Heier | Senior Vice President, Commercial Division Leader

Mr. Heier joined Peoples in the fall of 2007. Under the leadership of Mr. Heier, the commercial team has shown significant growth in its customer base, while maintaining sound asset quality. Prior to joining Peoples, Mr. Heier was a regional president of Associated Bank and has held several divisional and sales management roles in regional and national banks. He is currently a board member of The Women’s Community, Inc., the Wisconsin Woodchucks and has volunteered for several organizations.

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Donna Staples, SPHR | Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Ms. Staples joined Peoples in 2006. Her responsibilities include human resource management, strategic planning, organizational development, compensation and benefit administration, and oversight of the bank’s marketing function. In her 35-plus year career, Ms. Staples has implemented many innovative programs to solidify employee development and engagement as well as helped organizations successfully assimilate different cultures upon multiple mergers and acquisitions. Ms. Staples is past board chair of the Northcentral District of Junior Achievement; committee member for JA Event – Champions of Business; JA volunteer classroom instructor; board member of the Northcentral Healthcare Alliance (NCHA); board member of United Way of Marathon County’s Personnel Committee, Board Nomination Committee, and Community Impact Team; and active past co-chair and council member of Women In Action.

donna on linkedin

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Tom Knudsen | Senior Vice President, Northern Market President

Mr. Knudsen joined Peoples in 2008 and has more than 35 years of commercial lending experience throughout northern Wisconsin. He is responsible for the growth of Peoples’ northern market offices. Tom is actively involved with organizations that promote business growth in northern Wisconsin. He has been involved with the Economic Development Corporation for over 18 years (including board president and current board member), the Oneida Revolving Loan Fund, Kinship of the North, Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation Board and various other organizations.

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Keith Baars | Vice President, Commercial Lending & Loan Operations

Mr. Baars joined Peoples in 1998. His responsibilities include business development, lending and overseeing the bank’s collection activity. He was instrumental in starting and managing the credit department, shaping a strong credit culture at Peoples. He has supported significant commercial loan growth over the past 18 years and manages a successful sales team emphasizing strong customer relationships and sound business advice. Mr. Baars serves as a member of the Marathon County Development Corporation Loan Committee and is very active as a youth coach and volunteer for baseball, softball, soccer and flag football activities.

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Leif Christianson | Senior Vice President & Chief Operations Officer

Mr. Christianson joined Peoples in 2007 and has over 20 years of experience related to information technology, risk management and data processing. His responsibilities include management of the bank’s operations, technology, call center and facilities. Mr. Christianson has spearheaded numerous technology and operational initiatives that have improved the delivery of customer service, operational efficiencies and bank profitability. He was recognized in 2013 as a 20 Under Forty leader by the Wausau Daily Herald and in 2014 as one of the Elite 8 Technology Executives by Information Week–Business Systems and Technology. Mr. Christianson serves as a member of the Profit Stars Synergy Advisory Board, board chair of the Northcentral District of Junior Achievement, on the regional board of directors for the Wisconsin Bankers Association – Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow and a director for the Wisconsin Automated Clearing House Association (WACHA).

donna on linkedin

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Chris Pfender, CPA | Vice President, Risk Management

Mr. Pfender joined Peoples in 2004 and has more than 15 years of experience with financial institutions. Prior to joining Peoples, he worked at a regional accounting firm serving a variety of banking and commercial customers. His responsibilities include overseeing business loan and personal mortgage underwriting, regulatory compliance, and internal audit at Peoples. In 2014, Mr. Pfender was recognized as a 20 Under Forty leader by the Wausau Daily Herald. He currently serves on the board of directors for United Way of Marathon County and the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. Mr. Pfender is a member of the Wisconsin Bankers Association Government Relations Committee and also volunteers as a youth basketball coach and Junior Achievement classroom instructor.

donna on linkedin

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Maureen Jorgensen | Senior Vice President, Retail Sales & Service

Ms. Jorgensen joined Peoples in 2012 and has more than 25 years of experience with financial institutions. At Peoples, Maureen’s responsibilities include leadership coaching and management of the retail sales team, mortgage lending and wealth management. Maureen is a classroom instructor for Junior Achievement and a member of Women in Action.

donna on linkedin

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