Our Team

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Max Knapp

Co-Founder / Financial Advisor

Max Knapp values the independent, diligent, and forward-looking perspective that are the foundations of a truly strong planning process. A listener first and talker second, Max is focused on building client relationships based on trust and understanding. While he brings a broad knowledge base around portfolio construction and investment acumen, he is driven by learning about what is important to his clients, whether that’s prepping for retirement or creating a lasting legacy.

Max started Blackbear Capital because of his desire to act as a fiduciary – always putting our clients first as oppose to the myriad of stakeholders at a public company. As an entrepreneur himself, he can relate to our clients in a unique way and has a strong appreciation for an independent, employee-owned firm. Max understands that clients value competence and independent, conflict-free advice, not sales experience.

Max co-founded Blackbear Capital after spending nearly five years with United Bank’s Wealth Management group. While at United, Max was responsible for managing assets for a wide variety of clients, including high net worth individuals, nonprofit institutions, pension plans, and retirees. Prior to joining United Bank, Max spent time in West Palm Beach as an Investment Associate with the private equity firm, Comvest Partners. He began his career on Wall Street with Deutsche Bank Securities where he developed a strong foundation in financial statement analysis and business valuation.

Outside of work, Max enjoys playing an active role in the community engaging in volunteer organizations as well as the growing entrepreneurship community throughout West Virginia. Max also enjoys spending time with his wife, Kylie, travelling and hiking local trails as well as spending time on the golf course. Max is an avid sports fan and can often be found cheering on the Mountaineers.


  • B.S in Accounting, West Virginia Wesleyan College
    (Buckhannon, WV)
  • M.S. in Finance, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

Preston Whitney

Co-Founder / Financial Advisor

Hello, I’m Preston, co-founder of Blackbear Capital. I’m a 2010 graduate of Ripley High School and a 2014 graduate of Marshall University. I majored in finance and business and spent some extra time in Huntington to get a Masters in Business Administration.

I’ve been working in the financial services industry since I graduated from college. The past several years have taught me that working in this industry can be very stressful, but also very rewarding. I also learned early on in my career that diversification is the most important part of investment management. I use stocks, bonds, cds, mutual funds, etfs, private funds, and annuities to help clients reach their goals. I spend the majority of my time researching and looking for the best income producing investment vehicles available.

Outside of Blackbear Capital, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing sports, going to sporting events, and church. I am married to Whitney Whitney and we have a son named Davis. We live in Evans, WV.


  • BBA in Finance, Marshall University (Huntington, WV)
  • Master of Business Administration, Marshall University (Huntington, WV)