October Research LLC, publisher of The Title Report, The Legal Description, Valuation Review, RESPA News and Dodd Frank Update, announced the finalists for its inaugural awards program, launched to honor men and women in the mortgage and settlement services industries for exemplary accomplishment in the areas of leadership, innovation and philanthropy.
The winner in each category will be announced during the National Settlement Services & Compliance Summit in Cleveland, Ohio, this year slated for June 12-13.
The Joe Casa Awards for Leadership, Innovation and Philanthropy were named after the late founder of October Research. These prestigious awards recognize the highest standard of professional achievement in the settlement services industries.
In announcing the top nominees, Chris Casa, chief executive officer and co-founder of October Research, said he was awed by the range of accomplishments across the spectrum of nominations.
“This industry has gone through vast changes over the past two decades and the nominees represent some of the best and brightest leaders and innovators who have stepped up to the plate time and again to guide the industry through the sea change we have experienced,” he said. “We were also impressed with the many ways in which our nominees have given back to their communities and the industry.
“At this time, we are delighted to pay tribute to the nine finalists for their valuable accomplishments and look forward to announcing the winners at the conference in Cleveland,” he added.
The top three nominees in the leadership category are:
Jeff Eisenshtadt, CEO/President
With over 20 years of service and leadership in the settlement services industry, Eisenshtadt has worked to make Title Source one of the biggest settlement services providers in the industry. Eisenshtadt has been diligent in creating a culture of constant improvement and focus on customer’s needs. He is being recognized for his vision and strategic leadership at Title Source.
Robert Klein, Founder & Chairman
Founded in 1990, Safeguard Properties began as a two-person operation and today is the largest privately held mortgage field service company in the U.S. It employs nearly 1,000 people, plus a network of approximately 10,000 vendors and contractors who inspect and maintain defaulted and foreclosed properties for mortgage servicers, lenders, investors and other financial institutions. Klein is recognized for his extensive work to improve standards, advocate for homeowners and educate the mortgage servicing industry.
Anita Padilla-Fitzgerald, President & CEO
MegaStar Financial Corp.
Starting her career straight out of high school, Padilla-Fitzgerald has risen to a position of leadership through care for the consumer, her employees and the community, as well as good old-fashioned hard work. Founded in 1999, today MegaStar Financial is a HUD approved retail mortgage banker doing business in 33 states with 275 full time staff. Padilla-Fitzgerald is recognized for her nearly three decades of leadership and continuous drive to make “Integrity and Accountability” standard practice within the mortgage lending industry.
The top three nominees in the philanthropy category are:
Evan Grimm, CEO
Bay National Title Company
The owner of Bay National Title Company, Grimm has long been interested in film and in 2010, came across information about a film school called Outside Adventure Film School. When he set out to pursue his interest in film he did not know he would find an even grander mission for his life: spreading the word about the importance of registering as a potential organ donor. He is recognized for the very unique manner he has found to spread this life-saving message.
Chris Gulotta, Principal
The Gulotta Law Group, PLLC
Gulotta is an attorney and principal of a New York Title agency who is being recognized for his various community efforts. As a business owner, he has served on the boards and provided pro bono legal services to the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program, the Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corp. and The Community Fund. He is also known for giving much of his time mentoring students at community schools, universities and law schools as well as being an advocate for physical health and youth sports.
Dave Heine, Vice President/Co-Owner
Heine has over 10 year of successful sales and management work in the settlement services industry. He was nominated and is being recognized for his volunteerism and charity for the advancement of Type 1 Diabetes, childhood poverty and young women’s leadership mentoring. Heine has given much of his time to the help and education of the most challenged among us.
The top three nominees in the innovation category are:
J. Scott Stevenson, President
Having spent a literal lifetime working in the settlement service industry, Stevenson is recognized for his unique solutions to drive new business and help the consumer. Recognizing the need to help homeowners who have become frustrated trying to save their financial futures, Stevenson spearheaded the creation of The Short Sale Solution LLC, a collaboration of expert legal advice, experienced facilitators and Northwest Title. These three have joined forces with Realtors to offer comprehensive professional guidance and support for the benefit and protection of the homeowner.
Stewart Morris, Jr., Vice Chairman
Stewart Information Services Corp.
For nearly 40 year, Morris has helped Stewart to become a leading provider of title insurance and related services to the real estate, settlement services and mortgage industries. Much of this success has been driven by Morris’ efforts to create technology to improve productivity, create transparency and better the customer experience. Many industry technology “firsts” can be attributed to his efforts to move the industry forward.
David Townsend, CEO/President
Agents National Title Insurance Company
Townsend is recognized for his development and implementation of a patent-pending web system with 100 percent electronic policy, closing letter, and commitment generation capabilities. The only website of its kind, it features new concepts in the title insurance industry such as simultaneous jacket generation with invoicing and 100 percent automated reporting at the time of policy issuance. For more than a decade, he has worked to constantly improve billing and reporting errors between agents and underwriters.
“The range of nominations we received reminded us not only of the known accomplishments of our highly recognizable leaders, but of the unknown and unsung heroes among the vast and hard-working agent population across the country,” said Syndie Eardly, editorial director of October Research. “We are so pleased that our finalists are representative of both.”
October Research launched the Joe Casa Awards program in January and nominations were accepted through March 31. Nominations were open to anyone with a track record of accomplishment in the mortgage and settlement services industry.
About October Research
Founded in 1999, October Research LLC is the nation’s leading provider of market intelligence, industry news and regulatory information for professionals in the real estate, settlement services and mortgage industries. Publications include The Title Report, The Legal Description, Valuation Review, RESPA News and Dodd Frank Update. Located in Richfield, Ohio, the company also produces educational audio seminars, Webinars, videos and live events, which can be purchased at www.octoberstore.com.