OLTA Celebrates Centennial Event, Elects New President

September 24, 2009

The Ohio Land Title Association (OLTA) held its 100th Annual Convention at the Lodge at Sawmill Creek, Huron, Ohio, Sept. 13-15, where more than 230 professionals from the title industry gathered. OLTA’s Centennial Convention was held just miles from the first meeting of the organization at the West House in Sandusky in 1910. The Convention was attended by three American Land Title Association (ALTA) representatives including CEO Kurt Pfotenhauer, President Mike Pryor and Treasurer Mark Bilbrey. The Convention kicked off with a presentation from Pryor, who spoke about the importance of keeping public records accurate, agent/underwriter relations and the importance of ethics in the title industry.

The convention featured many relevant topics to Ohio’s title industry presented by authorities from around the state and nation. Chair Don McFadden and the Education Committee once again developed an outstanding program. A discussion on the new RESPA rule was led by Mary Schuster, a member of the ALTA’s RESPA Implementation Task Force and Director of Operations for RamQuest. Other topics included the future of the housing market, a federal and state advocacy update, short sales from the title agent’s perspective and mortgage fraud from law enforcement’s point of view.

“Those attending told us this was a strong continuing education program and that is reflected in our attendance numbers,” said President Amy Kaspar. “Our attendance was in line with last year’s which speaks volumes considering the current real estate market in Ohio. It reinforces that OLTA is providing timely topics which are extremely relevant and valuable to Ohio’s title agents and underwriters. The composition of attendees – a solid majority of agents coupled with support from underwriters – demonstrates OLTA is the voice of the industry in Ohio.”

Attendees also visited a large group of exhibiting companies offering products and services available to the title industry.

Amy Kaspar, President/CEO of Kasparnet Inc., a member of the Old Republic Title Insurance Group, in Medina, was sworn in as the 87th President of OLTA. At the annual business meeting, Michael Sikora of Sikora Law LLC in Mentor was elected President-Elect, Joseph Balega of Golden Key Title Agency in Findlay was elected Secretary/Treasurer and Samuel Shellhaas of First American Title Insurance Co. in Columbus and Anne Ross of M&M Title Co. in Dayton were both elected to three-year, at-large terms on the Board of Trustees. Ruth Brunner of Chicago Title Insurance Co. in Cincinnati was elected by the Board of Trustees to complete an unexpired at-large position. Outgoing President J. Scott Stevenson of Northwest Title in Columbus was honored for his service to the organization.

Victor Crouch, State Counsel of First American Title Insurance Co., was honored with the 2009 Honorary Life Membership Award, OLTA’s highest honor for his service to OLTA as a past member of the Board of Trustees, past committee member, continuing education speaker and author. Don Wood, Underwriting staff for First American Title Insurance Co., who will be retiring this January, was presented with the inaugural Meritorious Service Award presented to those making an outstanding contribution to Ohio’s title industry. Samuel Shellhaas, Underwriting Counsel for First American Title Insurance Co., was presented the President’s Award for his contributions to OLTA’s Legislative Committee.

Future dates for OLTA events include Basic Training Seminars Nov. 2 in Akron and Nov. 9 in Wilmington, Ohio. The Spring Seminar will be held May 7-8, 2010 at the Hilton Polaris in Columbus.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.