What began as a law office that also did a bit of title work in rural Kansas has transformed into Tallgrass Title, a thriving title insurance agency serving three counties in Northeast Kansas.
Jake Pugh, owner of Tallgrass Title, is happy to share the long history of this successful family business. Jake’s grandfather started the law office in the 1940’s, Jake’s father joined the business in the 1980’s and Jake joined “a few years later,” in 2006. “Title insurance wasn’t even a thing back in the 1940’s,” recalls Jake. “But the law office did dabble in probate, title work and routine real estate items.”
Jake’s father saw an emerging market in title insurance in the 1980’s and opened a title business, Wamego Title, in the back office of the law firm. It became a successful business among the locals, but outside of the town of Wamego, no one knew about it. Fast forward to 2017 and Wamego Title wanted to grow and serve clients in the Northeast Kansas region.
Through a successful relationship as an independent agent with Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Wamego Title rebranded as Tallgrass Title. Jake began the process by collaborating with Alliant National’s Director of Marketing Nikki Smith in conjunction with Alliant National’s partner David Hafleigh from Future Works.
Nikki and David worked closely with Jake, sharing knowledge based on market research and experience with helping other independent agents grow their title insurance businesses. Together, they chose a regional-based name for the business: Tallgrass Title, a name that’s inspired by the area’s rolling prairie hills, valleys and rivers. Nikki and David were extremely insightful, helping Jake with a new website, advertising and other branding material, as well as event planning for a grand re-opening under the Tallgrass Title name.
While Jake loved the rebranding efforts, one marketing practice he felt adamantly against was blogging. He didn’t need to do such a thing, and nobody in the area would know about or seek out his blogs, and if by chance they did read his blogs, they’d be bored with the content. Or, so he thought. Nikki was insistent that Jake needed to blog.
Jake wrote a few blogs and posted to Tallgrass Title’s website. And then, he cross-posted those blogs to the company’s social media sites and shared them via email newsletters. They also used details from the blog to put into educational presentations. Then, he went about his business, attending networking events and being active in his community. But, something was different. Realtors would approach him and talk about his blog. They’d ask follow-up questions, and also request topics for him to write about in future blogs. They appreciated his knowledge and wanted more blogs!
Business opportunities are growing for Tallgrass Title in the Northeast Kansas region and every day, Jake is grateful that he found Alliant National Title Insurance Company.
A sense of community is at the heart of it all for Ellis County Title Company’s Executive Vice President Erik Barnard.
Erik first worked at Ellis County Title Company in 1994 as a high school student, 10 years after his father Harold purchased the company with close friend Jim Pitts. Harold and Jim purchased Ellis County Title Company, seeking a job that would allow them to provide for their families and serve their community at the same time. Through the years, Ellis County Title has thrived, serving thousands in this cozy Texas community of Waxahachie and Ellis County by helping them invest in home ownership.
Soon after Erik Barnard completed college at the University of Mary-Hardin in Baylor, he returned to Ellis County Title, eager to join the family business and serve his community. The thing Erik enjoys most about his role at Ellis County Title is “helping people realize their investment and home ownership goals.” He adds that, “many of the people I help are friends and neighbors, as well as families that I have known my entire life.”
Ellis County Title’s business model is based on serving their small community through strong and lasting relationships. He adds that all of the company’s employees are “like family” and they interact outside of work, as well as in the office. The average tenure for an employee is 15-20 years. Since putting the community first is the priority, which also includes home buyers and sellers, employees and strategic partners, Ellis County Title actively looks for partners who make people a priority. That’s one of the reasons Ellis County Title Company enjoys working with Alliant National Title Insurance Company.
Harold, Jim, Erik and their team work closely with Alliant National’s Craig Dunbar, and have for over a quarter of a century. Erik said Craig’s commitment to their business and their shared mindset of “treating others as you want to be treated, having high values and always doing the right thing” is one reason they’ve worked so well together for so long.
Along with his community fellowship in Waxahachie, Erik enjoys spending time with his wife Laura and children (Nolan and Knox), cheering on his kids in their sporting events, golfing and running. While he’s not one to brag, Erik has quite a running history. He is a marathon and half-marathon runner!
Erik summarizes his work/life balance by sharing that he’s been blessed with a wonderful community to serve, caring employees and talented partners like Alliant National to aid in Ellis County Title Company’s continued success.
Contact Ellis County Title Company
Kerr County Abstract & Title Company (Kerr County Abstract) was recently awarded $1000 from Alliant National Title Insurance Company to donate to charity. Kerr County Abstract chose to give back to their community by donating the $1000 to Hill Country Veteran Center.
“Kerr County has a large population of veterans and spouses of veterans,” said Bekah Dunks, escrow assistant for Kerr County Abstract. “They are near and dear to our hearts, and we wanted to give back to them.”
The $1000 award came about through a marketing workshop that Alliant National conducted in Dallas in the Fall of 2017. Bekah Dunks and Caroline Wilson from Kerr County Abstract attended the workshop.
All attendees learned about the “Four R’s for Success.” Nikki to add a description here. Each of the 80 title companies in attendance were challenged to try at least one of the four R’s. Kerr County Abstract accepted the challenge and implemented the following:
- Retain Customers – Kerr County Abstract showed appreciation for their existing customers by sending 50 handwritten thank you cards to them.
- Revamping – Kerr County Abstract reviewed their existing marketing strategy and revamped it based on marketing tactics learned in Alliant National’s workshop.
Kerr County Abstract & Title Company is the original title company in Kerrville, Texas, having opened in 1924. Since 2001, the company has been owned by Bob and Diane Green. Diane has long been a familiar face at Kerr County Abstract and began her career as the company’s receptionist.