For over two years, Russell Gonzales has served as Assistant Vice President and Southwest Agency Representative for Alliant National Title Insurance Company. Although the role encompasses many responsibilities, Gonzales’ main priority has been signing policy-issuing agents for Alliant National and helping them grow their businesses. It is a demanding position, requiring expertise in agent examination, escrow, marketing and policy reconciliation. But thankfully, this is hardly Gonzales’ first rodeo.
In fact, Gonzales’ time in the title insurance field began long before 2020. He got his start back in high school when he enrolled in a cooperative education program during his junior year. The title company he worked for during this program eventually hired him as a full-time employee. The rest, as they say, is history.
Having spent his professional life in title insurance has afforded Russell a unique perspective on industry trends. Unsurprisingly, the technology associated with the field has advanced considerably, with Gonzales noting that new technology solutions have “changed the way we do business for the better.” However, Gonzales emphasized that certain qualities that make a successful agent or agency have largely remained the same and are just as important as ever: “The biggest trends I have noticed are all related to service,” he said. “Customer service and hard work really continue to pay off,” he said. He added that successful industry people always “remember to have a servant’s heart.”
Service and hard work are qualities that Gonzales is pleased to see reflected in Alliant National. The company is “positively different,” he said, discussing how the firm stacks up against its competitors. “Everyone at Alliant National knows that home ownership is one of the biggest investments someone can make.” Because of that understanding, everyone is “truly eager to help. Whether you are internal or external to the company, you will always be treated like family.”
Being able to deliver this level of personalized service to families pursuing the dream of home ownership is a benefit for Gonzales, whose own family is his greatest joy. “Outside of work, I really enjoy spending time with my family,” he said. “Having a 26-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter allows my wife Grace and I to focus on ourselves. Together we enjoy working out with our personal trainer, watching great movies and shows and building our relationship with God.” For nearly 30 years, Gonzales’ family, industry expertise and service-oriented mindset have allowed him to build an enviable career. His work in the title insurance field has benefited companies, individuals and the industry as a whole. As one of the leaders of Alliant National’s Southwest operations, he has found the perfect home to continue applying his passion for the industry and helping the company solidify its position as the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent.
From the gym to the title agency, Micah Owen maintains her rock-solid commitment to improvement and excellence.
Micah Owen has always loved being physically active while striving for excellence through hard work and dedication. Growing up, she was highly active in sports, becoming particularly passionate about strength training while playing on her high school basketball team.
Once she entered college, Micah became even more serious about sports and exercise, immersing herself in resistance training, anatomy and physiology. She eventually gained her degree in exercise science before moving into a career as a personal trainer. These educational and professional experiences have continued to define her working life to the present day.
“I have always enjoyed spending quality time getting to know someone and then figuring out what I can do to help them better themselves,” Micah said when reflecting on the experience. “That’s what my time as a personal trainer consisted of, and that is the strategy I still use every day as an agency manager.”
Since entering the title insurance field, Micah has found ample opportunities to continue helping people become their best selves. As Alliant National’s South Carolina Agency Manager, she frequently makes decisions that deliver tangible benefits to both Alliant National and its policy-issuing agents. She is most proud of how she has helped Alliant National deliver greater business value to agents, including the time she produced more than 500 critical title documents from scratch and made them available for client use.
For Micah, successfully occupying a role like hers entails finding joy in being customer focused.
“To me, it means that whether I am in their office or behind my computer, agents are my top priority. I prioritize every one of them to the best of my ability. It also means constantly communicating with the Alliant National home office to streamline processes that may be hindering our agents.”
Even while improving the experience of the independent agents Alliant National serves, Micah continues to find time to cultivate her own physical, emotional and mental wellness. “The scientific effect that movement can have on your emotions, health and wellbeing is truly incredible,” she said. With such a holistic view of wellness, it is no wonder Micah can continually strive for excellence and improvement – both in herself and others. It comes as no surprise that she has found a home at Alliant National, where our commitment, like Micah’s, remains steadfastly focused on putting agents first.
After a rich career split between technology and title, Bob Grohol has a unique perspective on the title industry – particularly on digital trends reshaping the field.
Bob’s career path through these industries began in 1982 when he started working at a computer shop. This early professional interest stuck, and Bob would work in the field for the next 17 years, holding positions in computer technology, telecom and software.
His initial transition to title insurance came in the form of RamQuest Software – one of the industry’s main title and closing software solutions. At the time, RamQuest was looking to grow its Ohio business, and despite having no previous experience in the industry, Bob jumped at the chance, immersing himself in all things title. “Despite not knowing a HUD Settlement Statement from a hole in the ground at that time, I learned quickly,” said Bob. “And I continue to learn something new almost every day.” Bob eventually left RamQuest in 2009, transitioning back to the world of software for nearly four years. In 2012, he would make another career change back to real estate and title insurance – where he works to this day.
“In 2012, I was exploring options, and I reached out to Manoj Purohit, whom I’ve known for over 15 years,” said Bob. “Manoj referred me to eRecording Partners Network (ePN).” Similar to RamQuest, ePN was looking to expand in Ohio and the surrounding states, and Bob was a perfect fit. He tapped into existing title industry contacts and resources to grow business, and over time, he became responsible for operations in about 26 states.
Working at ePN gave Bob particular insight into a mission-critical process of the title industry. “Document recording is one of the final steps in the real estate transaction process. The quicker a title agent can get documents recorded, the quicker the final policies can be issued – lessening gap time,” he explained. “Traditional paper document recording can potentially take days or weeks to happen. Plus, it’s possible for documents to be lost, damaged or altered.” By digitizing this process, title agents gain new efficiencies and competitive advantage. “Documents can potentially be eRecorded in minutes, and most, within a couple of hours. With eRecording, documents can’t be lost or damaged. It is also more secure in many ways,” Bob said.
eRecording is an example of digital transformation: a gradual shift from manual or analog processes to digital ones. From Bob’s perspective, while it has taken time for eRecording to develop, it is now fully mainstream, indicative of an industry that is slowly but surely adopting new technologies. “It has taken over 20 years to get where we are today. Almost 2,500 counties are set up for eRecording across 49 states, plus D.C.,” Bob noted.
Of course, while technology may be transforming the field, other elements that make it special or determine one’s success in it have largely remained the same. “To me, the title industry has always felt like a big family. People do move around from time to time – to new companies and roles – but a lot of the same great people are still around,” Bob said. “I enjoy the ‘camaraderie’ between all of those involved with the title insurance business: agents, vendors, underwriters, etc. Everyone is about helping others fulfill the ‘American Dream’ of home ownership. To be successful, follow-up and follow-through are very key. Whether it’s with agents, internal team members or just in general, always do what you say you’re going to do.”
Malcolm Gladwell famously said in his 2008 book Outliers that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to get good at something. With that in mind, it’s difficult to look at Tyrone (TJ) Johnson as anything else but an expert in time management.
A 25-year veteran of the real estate settlement services and title insurance industries, TJ currently serves as Assistant Vice President and State Agency Manager for Alliant National Title Insurance Company for the Mountain West region. The role requires him to apply his decades of experience to support Alliant National’s agent network and operations – including education, marketing, sales and strategic growth initiatives.
For many people, building one long and successful career would be enough. But for TJ, his success at Alliant National was preceded by a 15-year career as a jazz musician. During those years, he routinely performed at five-star resorts throughout the Midwest, Southeastern and Southwestern United States. TJ’s musical ability remains undiminished today, having appeared recently as a headlining act in the Lansing JazzFest.
With two accomplished careers in wildly different industries under his belt, it’s natural to wonder how TJ “did it.” Was it as simple as somehow finding the time for Gladwell’s 10,000 hours? TJ himself attributes his success to a strong drive. And this has led, naturally, to a superior work performance – from mastering the complexities of title insurance to wowing crowds of ardent jazz fans throughout the country.
Outside of TJ’s ongoing responsibilities at Alliant National, he is currently hard at work on his next album entitled, “A Family Affair.” He also enjoys spending time with his wife Sheri, his daughter and his three grandchildren.
Scott Hendrickson leaves behind a growing company and an impressive legacy.
As a golfer, Scott Hendrickson has had two holes-in-one. But as a person, he actually had three. When Scott co-founded Alliant National more than 16 years ago, there was no way of knowing the venture would be successful, much less that it would be an ace that would grow into the leading independent underwriter for the independent agent.
Back in the mid-aughts, Scott was coming off three decades of experience in financial services and leadership, having held senior positions in diverse industries like insurance, manufacturing and distribution. Eager to begin a new stage in his professional life, Scott joined with fellow co-founders Dave Ginger and Bob Grubb to create Alliant National, a title insurance underwriter with the unique mission of empowering independent agents and never competing against them.
The Colorado-based company started as a small regional underwriter. Yet under the guidance and stewardship of Scott and other members of the leadership team, Alliant National soon took off. Today, the company serves thousands of title professionals as a national underwriter licensed in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
David Sinclair, who began working with Scott in 2011 and now serves as President and CEO of Alliant National, is first to speak about Scott’s invaluable contributions. “Alliant National simply would not be the company it is today without Scott,” he said, reflecting on the CFO’s tenure. “With his leadership abilities, financial acumen and keen insights into this specialized industry, Scott has helped lead us to the success we enjoy today. His influence can be seen in nearly every aspect of our business – from accounting, finance and human resources to our culture and how we work together. What we accomplish in the future will be the direct result of his legacy.”
Margaret Cook, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of Alliant National, had this to say. “Scott is a consummate professional, an ethical, knowledgeable and incredibly talented executive who has played a fundamental role in shaping our company into a leading force in the title insurance industry. We’ll miss his practical insight, curious mind and dry sense of humor. We owe Scott a debt of gratitude for founding the company on his breadth of knowledge, practical guidance and attention to detail.”
As he exits the company he helped create, Scott himself reflected on his time with Alliant National, and on the many co-workers, clients and friends he met along the way. “When we started Alliant National way back in 2005, I had no idea how it was all going to turn out,” he said. “I knew at the time that we had terrific people in place, strong industry knowledge and a unique selling proposition that we thought would really resonate with people. I had no idea how the operation would grow and evolve, or that we would become such an important part of so many people’s lives.
“I guess, if anything, I just feel immensely grateful to have had this experience,” he added. “The people I’ve worked with over the past decade-and-a-half have been some of the best co-workers and title insurance professionals anyone can ask to work with. I have made connections that I’m sure will last the rest of my life, and I hope that through this work, I have made peoples’ lives a bit better. Title insurance isn’t the easiest industry for people to understand, but it enables ordinary people to build the lives they want with peace of mind. And I think that really matters in the end.”
For anyone who has worked with him, there is no doubt that Scott has made a major impact, and not only in creating a strong, vital company with a sizable presence across the country. As an executive, Scott has modeled poise, servant leadership and a commitment to excellence that one can only hope to encounter during their professional career. He leaves not only an admirable legacy within the organization at Alliant National, but on the entire title insurance industry.
“We started Alliant National with the hope of changing what a title insurance underwriter could be,” said Scott. “I am immensely proud of the operation we’ve built and that our mission to support independent agents remains at the heart of the Alliant National way. I wanted to leave the industry better than I found it. I certainly tried my very best.”
Rest assured Scott, you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. And as you take your last bow at Alliant National, we hope you can rest, recharge, and perhaps find it a bit easier to enjoy a round or two of golf. Considering your track record, we’re sure you have many more holes-in-one in your future.
Congratulations on your retirement, Scott. And thank you from everyone at Alliant National!