Family or Not, Opportunity for Youth in Title Industry Shouldn’t Be Ignored

March 19, 2020

Craig Haskins, the chief operating officer of Knight Barry Title, has a deal with his three sons when it comes to future employment with his Wisconsin company. An industry veteran, Haskins isn’t pressuring his children to join him in the business, but they know it could be an option down the road if they eventually want it.

“I want them to finish college and then go spend five years in the real world and if you don’t love what you do, Knight Barry may be an option,” he said. “It will sort of allow them to have a little less pressure on their immediate post-college life.”

Middle son Jack has already found a way to modify that promise. In 2017, when Jack was still in high school, he didn’t like his part-time job and joked that his father should find him something at KBT. Jack now admits he didn’t expect his dad to say “yes,” but the elder Haskins delivered. This would lead to Jack becoming the youngest licensed title examiner in Wisconsin more than a year later.

“A few weeks later, he told me that I had an interview after school, which completely shocked me since I was only messing around,” Jack Haskins recalled. “I started in Special Teams doing title updates for a few hours every day in the summer.”

When it comes to younger workers, Knight Barry Title is actively looking for younger employees—Haskins family members or not. Craig Haskins said he believes millennials and Gen-Zers can bring qualities to help his company and the industry.

“We are aggressively recruiting college graduates who can be trained in a way that fits our model of doing things,” he said. “Younger workers are very easy to work with on technology training. They’re resourceful when it comes to finding information online, navigating portals, converting documents to PDF, and dealing with passwords and encrypted files.”

Part of the reason Craig has made his original promise to his sons, though, is because of his own history. He didn’t initially plan to follow his stepfather, Knight Barry Title’s owner Jeff Green, into the business either. No, Craig originally dreamed of becoming a broadcast personality—those of you who have met him can imagine him fitting that role well—before deciding that climbing the TV market ladder and moving around every few years wasn’t for him.

“I didn’t like the career path I chose after college, so I took a shot at this title insurance thing and I loved it—and I’m still here 23 years later,” Craig says now.

These days, Jack is a freshman at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, studying actuarial science and mathematics. He’s also been working alongside his father—and older brother, Tyler—for more than two years. Tyler, 21, is a senior finance major at nearby University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has worked at KBT as a title searcher for the last three years and averages about 15 to 20 hours per week while school is in session and more during breaks, according to his father. Beck, the youngest of the three Haskins brothers, is 13.

“Tyler is figuring out money and Jack is learning to analyze and predict risk in college,” a proud Craig Haskins said. “So, I guess it’s safe to say that the title industry may be something they’d enjoy long term, but we’ll see.”

Craig is quick to point out, though, that studying a title-related field in college isn’t a prerequisite for becoming a good title employee in the future. And he sees lots of value in hiring younger workers, whether they share his name or not.

“If someone can make it through college, they can figure out where they fit in at our title company,” Craig Haskins said. “They are very tech-savvy as a generation and not afraid to suggest upgrades for us based on technology they use in their everyday lives.”

While still in high school, Jack Haskins passed the Wisconsin title insurer’s exam in July 2018 as a 17-year-old. However, he ultimately had to wait until January of the next year for his official license to be issued after his 18th birthday.

It is believed that he is the youngest person in Wisconsin to pass the exam and get licensed, though the self-described introvert deflects any individual accolades associated with getting his title license before graduating from high school.

Jack said he’s not exactly sure what his professional future holds after college. However, he is quick to note that he would “totally still be there” working alongside his father and brother if he’d attended a school a bit closer to home.

“I had an amazing time working there,” said Jack, who says he’s not committing to—or ruling out—a return to the family business after graduation. “The only goal for when I’m out of college is to be happy, whether that is at KBT or somewhere else.”

And that latter part of his son’s statement is exactly what Craig wants for all three of his children.

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