Q. Where and when did you begin your career at Orange Coast Title? And, does that background and/or experience help you lead the company through challenges today?
A. My career with OCT began as sales representative in the Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley area. The experience I gathered representing OCT to real estate brokers and agents, escrow companies, lenders and homebuilders during those years created a base for everything else I have done at OCT since. Experiencing directly what our customers need on a day to day basis and then delivering solutions and answers was invaluable to me. Experiencing the challenges of a sales representative on the firing line face to face with our customers allows me to help set OCT products and services and strategies that work for our customers and our sales representatives who deliver them.
Q. Where do you think the most significant growth will occur in the company in the next few years?
A. Our newest affiliated company in Northern California will surely continue to grow very fast. We will experience growth of our captive title insurance entity RATIC (Real Advantage Title Insurance Company) as well. Lastly we have made San Diego county a primary strategic growth initiative for OCT of Southern California.
Q. Why do people come to work for you rather than a competitor? And why do you think they stay so loyal to Orange Coast once they're aboard?
A. I believe that open communication from and through all levels of an organization is one of the most important keys. Setting and clearly communicating direction and expectations is part of that as well. We have a stated purpose in our mission statement to be the best place to work for industry leading professionals and we take that seriously and constantly look for ways to accomplish that. Our continued success in the marketplace is an attraction and leads to growth and opportunity for our people. Doing the right thing at all times as management is noticed and sets us apart. We are thankful to our 'team' of quality people who do the heavy lifting every day.
Q. Has there ever been a time that you have considered outsourcing some or all of your title work overseas? And if so, what stopped you?
A. We did have that opportunity presented to us many times and we chose first of all to keep jobs in the United States as a principled decision. It did not hurt that we have been able to accomplish much of the projected cost savings through the great effort of our American citizen employees. We are also of the belief that the quality of our title production results in better reporting and easier closings and lower claims rates - all of which is a direct result of our decision to keep the title production work here local in the U.S.
Q. The last recession was difficult for the real estate industry and yet Orange Coast Title remains a strong leader in the title insurance industry. How did you lead the company through that time and is there anything you would do differently?
A. Our executive committee determined early in march of 2007 that what was happening in the economy was going to be deep and would last a long time. We made the decision that in order to survive and thrive again we had to make our company smaller and leaner. We immediately embarked on eliminating all non performing parts of our company and restructuring our balance sheet for long term strength and eliminating all non mandatory expense items. The executives of OCT worked very hard and long hours to lead OCT through that time and we look back and would not do anything differently.