For Immediate Release

American Land Title Association Announces Winners of ALTA Our Values Awards

Washington, DC, October 23, 2019 — The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association of the land title insurance industry, announced the winners of the ALTA Our Values Awards. The awards program showcases the title insurance industry’s Our Values initiative, which serves as the industry’s cultural compass and highlights the core ideals ALTA members embrace.

The four Our Values Awards were presented during ALTA ONE, the largest annual event for the land title insurance industry, currently being held Oct. 22-25 in Austin. Each of the three individual awards represent one of the three values:

  • We Lead: We are the authority in real estate transactions. We innovate for the benefit of our customers.
  • We Deliver: Our customers trust us to do the right thing, the right way--before, during and after the transaction. We sweat the small stuff to assure that land transfer is accurate, swift and secure.
  • We Protect: We protect the property rights of those we serve. We reduce risk so our customers have peace of mind.

ALTA expanded the program this year to recognize an entire ALTA member office or operational team that demonstrate these ideals.

Diane Evans NTP, an ALTA past president and vice president of Land Title Guarantee Co. in Denver, won the We Lead Award for her leadership on the Land Title Association of Colorado’s Remote Online Notary Task Force. As the consummate title insurance industry advocate, Evans used her expertise to stand up not for her company, but what she thought was in the best interests of the industry and, more importantly, the consumer. Evans lives the concept of leadership through her tireless work to improve the industry for all.

“The title industry is and always has been about protecting consumers,” Evans said. “Great companies, title agents and underwriters alike know that we have access to non-public personal information necessary to complete a consumer’s real estate transaction. Protection and use of that information is a trust that we should never abuse nor neglect. Assuring regulators, legislators and consumers is critical to creating confidence about our industry and the values we embrace.”

Lauren Vanni Kinard, president of First Excel Title in Fairfax, Va., won the We Deliver Award for going the extra mile to ensure her customers’ transactions are smooth, safe and on time. She delivered for her customers repeatedly, from going out of her way to track down incoming wire transfers after hours to ensure homebuyers wouldn’t have to spend the weekend in a hotel room, to helping a customer’s friend find two unreleased mortgage payments so that person could close on a home equity line of credit.

“It is quite an honor to be the recipient of the We Deliver Award,” Kinard said. “By looking at each transaction as if I were in the customer’s position, adopting a service-oriented platform helps ensure a successful experience, which aligns to my company’s mission. Our customers know we will deliver for them with professionalism and trust us as we strive to exceed industry standards.”

Amy Gregory, chief administrative officer and president of the Florida Agency Network, won the We Protect Award for pulling out all the stops to help a real estate wire fraud victim. When a customer was defrauded of $130,000, Gregory uncovered where the funds were sent. She even persuaded the U.S. Secret Service to investigate the crime and ultimately retrieve and return the money. She then went a step further and earned her Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) designation to help become a strong resource for other customers.

“With decades of experience, I have seen a vast amount of change and new threats that did not exist years ago,” Gregory said. “We have made it our mission to protect our clients and company, and to create an environment of continuous improvement and awareness. I am truly honored to receive this award.”  

Finally, Liberty Title, which has multiple offices in Michigan and Florida, won the Team Award. Liberty Title’s internal motto is, “If we can’t close it, no one can … or should,” summing up the company’s commitment to their customers. Earlier this year, a customer approached Liberty Title with a title issue that needed resolved. Many companies turned the customer away because of an existing lien. Liberty Title’s in-house legal team listened to the customer, explained her options, then closely examined the lien. The legal team found that the lien should have been expunged years ago.

“Working at Liberty Title means being part of a team that works toward one shared goal: protecting the consumer and giving our clients peace of mind with every transaction,” said Michele Richardson, president of Liberty Title. “We encourage each other; we collaborate, not compete. We use our different skill sets to make sure that problems are solved and contracts honored. Collaboration across departments is essential in ensuring that every transaction is handled professionally, sharing our knowledge and expertise along the way, while fostering a collegial environment that makes our colleagues feel like family.”

During the awards ceremony at ALTA ONE, ALTA Immediate Past President Steven G. Day NTP, president of national agency operations at Fidelity National Title Group, as well as Robert J. Grubb, cofounder of Alliant National Title Insurance Co. and vice-chairman of Presidio ATC Holdco LLC, presented engraved awards to each honoree.

“I am pleased to see the Our Values initiative be embraced by our members,” Day said. “It highlights the professionalism of those in our industry.”

“We Lead, We Deliver and We Protect reflect the universal values of ALTA members,” Grubb said. “These values are at the core of who we are and how we operate every day. The Our Values Awards recognize the most extraordinary efforts in a profession full of extraordinary professionals who work hard to protect the long-term interests of their customers. The awards allow us to recognize those in our industry who raise the bar, inspiring the rest of us to do the same.”

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About ALTA

The American Land Title Association, founded in 1907, is the national trade association representing the land title insurance industry, which employs more than 120,000 people working in every county in the United States. More than two-thirds of ALTA’s 6,400 member companies are considered small businesses. ALTA members conduct title searches, examinations and closings and issue title insurance that protects real property owners and mortgage lenders against losses from defects in titles.

Connect with ALTA on Facebook here. Follow ALTA on Twitter here.

Contact: Megan Hernandez
Office: 202-261-0315
Email: mhernandez@alta.org

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For Immediate Release

American Land Title Association Announces Winners of ALTA Our Values Awards

Washington, DC, October 7, 2020 — The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association of the land title insurance industry, announced the winners of the 2020 ALTA Our Values Awards. The awards program showcases the title insurance industry’s Our Values initiative, which serves as the industry’s cultural compass and highlights the core ideals ALTA members embrace.

The four Our Values award winners were honored during ALTA ONE, the largest annual event for the land title insurance industry, currently being held Oct. 6-8 online as a virtual event. The three individual awards each represent one of the three values:

  • We Lead: We are the authority in real estate transactions. We innovate for the benefit of our customers.
  • We Deliver: Our customers trust us to do the right thing, the right way--before, during and after the transaction. We sweat the small stuff to assure that land transfer is accurate, swift and secure.
  • We Protect: We protect the property rights of those we serve. We reduce risk so our customers have peace of mind.

The program’s fourth award, the Our Values Collaboration Award, recognizes an entire ALTA member office that works as a cohesive team, consistently living Our Values and demonstrating an extraordinary level of positive impact on those who rely on their services.

Nancy McHugh WLTP, president and owner of Town n’ Country Title (TNCT), which has multiple offices in Wisconsin and Minnesota, won the We Lead Award for her leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. During March and April 2020, TNCT was going through a large title software upgrade amid the uncertainties created by the pandemic as well as a major increase in business volume. McHugh not only navigated work-from-home accommodations for her entire staff, but also sat with each department to learn their daily activities and help where she could. When she wasn’t working late, she was sewing face masks for her team and members of the community. And when an employee lost a child to COVID-19, McHugh drove four hours to the affected branch and spent two weeks working in the office while the team member took time off. She cried and prayed with the staff member and supported her in her time of need. McHugh leads by serving her employees, community and customers.

“I am humbled and honored to have received the Our Values We Lead award from the American Land Title Association, and I thank them for this recognition,” McHugh said. “These uniquely challenging times have impacted the way I lead our team. We have experienced the incredible volume increase while training and learning an entirely new production software program, just as COVID-19 changed the way we and the title industry do business. It remains important that as a leader I lend an ear and comfort staff through concerns, illness and, unfortunately, the loss of loved ones. It has not been easy. Ultimately, I serve those that I lead by serving our customers alongside my team, by being a part of the team each day, through it all. Whatever it takes.”

Dee Harrison, president and escrow officer of Alpha Reliable Title Inc. in Orlando, Fla., won the We Deliver Award for closing a transaction at her home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrison had a client who needed to close on a property on a specific date not only because the associated rate lock was expiring, but also because the client needed to move her mother before the pandemic became too severe. The client was afraid of exposing her mother to movers and other professionals who might inadvertently put her in contact with the coronavirus. Because the client did not want to meet at an office, Harrison set up the patio at her home for the transaction. The client was blown away that a title agent would open her own home to help keep a stranger safe.

“I am extremely grateful to be the recipient of the “We Deliver” Award,” Harrison said. “Ever since I joined the title industry 30 years ago, it has always been my greatest pleasure to experience the tremendous joy that we bring to our clients by delivering the American Dream. Each file is completely different and comes with its own set of issues that we as title agents have to deal with.  My mission is that my team and I will never give up on a closing as long as there is a way to resolve the issues. My experience has taught me that once the clients are willing to hang in there, we should be willing to invest our time to bring that transaction to the closing table. I stand behind my brand, ‘We Stay Open Until You Close’ and live this every day. Closing at odd hours and strange locations, such as while someone catches a plane, being incarcerated or in the hospital, has made us famous among those we serve.”

Maureen Pfaff WTP, NTP, ALTA Board of Governor and president of Olympic Peninsula Title (OPT) in Port Angeles, Wash., won the We Protect Award for saving a transaction from a known fraudster who was a fugitive from another state. Pfaff was alerted to potential fraud when a man unknown to her wanted OPT to record documents related to a foreclosure because he claimed Fannie Mae had not paid him for work performed. When Pfaff searched county records, she found several suspicious documents. She eventually discovered that the stranger had been convicted of a home theft scam in Montana and confirmed with the recorder’s office that he indeed was the same man who had recorded the suspicious documents. She then alerted the local sheriff’s office who found the man had warrants out for his arrest. When the man appeared in court for the foreclosure case, the judge dismissed the foreclosure action and the sheriff arrested him on the spot.

“I am honored to receive the Our Values We Protect Award this year,” Pfaff said. “Given our specialized knowledge of the real estate transfer process, I believe we have a duty to protect the public record, question filings that don't seem right and alert property owners to questionable activity. We've all heard stories about fraudulent transfers of title, but it's easy to expect that it only happens somewhere else. When I spotted it happening in my community, I was determined to put a stop to it before it turned into a huge financial mess for the property owner.”  

Finally, The Closing Agent team in Orlando, Fla., won the Our Values Collaboration Award for helping not only local real estate partners but also volunteering within the community they serve. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the office pioneered the use of remote online notarization (RON) throughout Florida. President and CEO Barry L. Miller was the first duly appointed remote online notary in the state while Vice President Lyliam Chau was the first woman appointed as a remote online notary. The team has provided multiple classes to real estate agents on the use of RON and the future of closings. They also hold monthly education courses for Realtors. The Closing Agent Attorney Christian C. Walters volunteers regularly with the Orlando Youth Alliance, an organization dedicated to providing nonexploitative, safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth. Walters and Miller serve on the board of directors of The Central Florida Gay & Lesbian Law Association, which is dedicated to the professional development of its membership as well as community legal services outreach. Additionally, the two started a free legal clinic at the LGBTQ+ Community Center of Orlando where members of the community can receive free legal advice on a monthly basis. The program has helped hundreds of individuals with legal issues ranging from real property transactions to divorce and immigration. Additionally, Elizabeth Hernandez, a processor with The Closing Agent, volunteers with the American Red Cross. Her services range from assisting families after the tragic burning of their homes to managing full-blown shelters during hurricanes.

“From serving on the City of Orlando’s boards to volunteering time helping members of our community that are affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters, I am so happy that the team have been recognized for their tireless efforts,” Miller said. “We pride ourselves on keeping it local and look forward to many more years supporting our community.”

During the awards ceremony at ALTA ONE, ALTA Immediate Past President Cynthia Durham Blair NTP announced the honorees.

“The Our Values Committee was very excited to have so many worthy nominees, but the award winners stood out from the rest by going above and beyond,” Blair said. “We are so proud of the ALTA membership for continuing to lead, deliver and protect our customers every day.”

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About ALTA

The American Land Title Association, founded in 1907, is the national trade association representing the land title insurance industry, which employs more than 120,000 people working in every county in the United States. More than two-thirds of ALTA’s 6,400 member companies are considered small businesses. ALTA members conduct title searches, examinations and closings and issue title insurance that protects real property owners and mortgage lenders against losses from defects in titles.

 

Connect with ALTA on Facebook here. Follow ALTA on Twitter here.

Contact: Megan Hernandez
Office: 202-261-0315
Email: mhernandez@alta.org

Download PDF