ALTA Member Profile: Challenges, Mystery Fuel Path for Title Agency Owner
President | Titleworks Inc.
How long have you been in the title industry and how did you get started in this profession?
I worked in the real estate section of a law firm after college (1987) with an eye toward law school. When I moved to a position at a title company in 1992, I was hooked in by the title industry. In 1995, I became a licensed title agent when I joined a small title insurance company. In 2006, I became the owner of Titleworks Inc.
What’s a day on the job like for you? What excites you about what you do or what is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Every day is different, which is why it is easy to have been in the same industry for 29 years and counting. I love challenges, mysteries and investigations. The most challenging aspect is finding the best way to solve a title search challenge—what is the fastest way, what is the easiest way. Sometimes, easy doesn’t mean fast, and fast doesn’t mean easy.
What’s your best industry “war” story?
I’m not sure this is the best, but it is a funny story. The Name Affidavit, for many borrowers, contains one or two “also known as” names. One borrower’s Name Affidavit had at least 20 “also known as” names. The borrower, without missing a beat, laughed and showed her husband and commented: “I guess this is what happens when you’ve been married six times.”
Why is the title industry a great career opportunity for those entering the workforce?
It’s a great industry for one reason because it doesn’t require an associate degree, a four-year degree or a vocational training school. That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy industry or an industry for everyone. It means that if you are a hard worker, detail-oriented and conscientious, you will succeed. The title industry is on the job training and can provide a long-standing and fulfilling career.
What advice do you have for professionals starting their career in the industry?
When you are working, make sure you are present in that moment. Focus on the work so as not to miss details. Always ask questions—it shows you are interested in the work you are doing and want to learn more.
How has the industry evolved since you began your career? How has your company had to change in order to remain competitive?
In the beginning, I prepared Settlement Statements on a typewriter and used a calculator for totals on the Settlement Statement. Obviously, technology has changed and preparing an ALTA Settlement Statement is much easier now. My company has had to keep up with changing technology most recently moving to a web-based settlement system.
What have you learned about yourself or your company since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I value my employees so much. They have worked quite hard since the start of the pandemic. I appreciate their work ethic and commitment to helping our clients. Personally, I have learned that work is important but that a healthy work-personal life balance is the most important.
Why are you a member of ALTA?
I am a member of ALTA because of the education provided through the webinars, the publications and, also, the guidance for Best Practices.
Tell us something that others in the industry may not know about you.
Since Oct. 31, 2017, I have lost 120 pounds and kept it off.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
The Apostle Paul. He endured much hardship and always stayed true to his faith. In the midst of his hardship, he did not lament the situation but instead encouraged others.
What’s your favorite book/movie/TV series? Why?
TV Series: Law & Order. There was even an episode about a title company!
Book: Anything by Jodi Picoult. Her books tackle difficult issues and are thought provoking.
Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
What’s in your music playlist?
I mainly listen to True Crime podcasts.
ALTA Member Profiles
Know someone who ALTA should consider for a member profile? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.