Kistner was raised on a farm in southeast Nebraska and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nebraska. In 1991 he earned his MBA in Finance from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. Kistner has 19 years of banking experience with the most recent at CoBank as a member of the business development team specializing in renewable and agricultural processing businesses. Kistner then worked 4 years at BBI International focusing on project development & management of renewable projects around the globe. At BBI, he had a strong influence in business economics, equity valuations and capital structures for early stage to operating renewable energy companies.