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

As a co-founder and financial advisor of BlackBear Capital, Preston loves working closely with his clients to make sure they are invested in a way that maximizes their ability to reach the goals they have set. He believes it’s important to sit down and listen to what each client needs before rushing into a decision. Throwing clients into basic models created by an outsourced firm is no way to do business. Preston believes Blackbear Capital sets itself apart from its competitors by providing clients with a truly customized experience where clients are and always will be more than just a number.

Preston has worked with clients from all walks of life in the past, but he’s found over the years that he has a passion for working with clients with limited investment experience who are willing to trust him and understand that he’s got their best interests in mind.

Prior to Blackbear Capital, Preston spent 5 years with United Bank working in both the Trust Department and on the brokerage side as an advisor. Prior to the United Bank, Preston graduated from Marshall University with an undergrad degree in Finance and a Masters in Business Administration.

Outside of working at Blackbear Capital, Preston enjoys spending most of his time outdoors taking in the scenery that the great state of West Virginia provides. He and his wife Whitney are active members at Creston Church in Leon, WV. They have a son named Davis, a dog named Piper, and a rabbit named Willow. They reside in Ripley, WV.


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