- Consumer Info
By Tom Lico
A trip to Mackinac Island is a step into the past, while the MLTA Summer Convention was a nice glimpse into the future.
The conference started on Sunday evening with a welcome reception on the lawn of the Mission Point Resort overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. Almost akin to a class reunion, long time colleagues and industry peers gathered for dinner, drinks, a dessert bar, and even a cigar tent for aficionados.
The event officially began on Monday morning with a membership vote on a slight bylaw change. It is now within the bylaws to allow an affiliate member to serve on the board. Our newest board members (Brian Roberts and Debbie Haught) were elected and Phil Savich transitioned into the President role. Darlene Wilsey was also promoted into the role of Secretary-Treasurer, as Tom Lico became President-Elect and Kim O’Connor was selected to remain on the board to fill a vacant one-year spot on the MLTA Board of Directors.
Our first speaker was economist Anirban Basu of the Sage Policy Group out of Maryland. Mr. Basu gave an entertaining Rolling Stones themed presentation to help define the positives and negatives of our current economy. Job opportunities are abundant and corporate profits are elevated which is setting up the U.S. economy for its best year since 2005. The short term still looks positive but there are concerns for a correction past 2019. With that said, the demographics of the millennial generation do bode well for the housing industry over the next decade, inventory being a major challenge.
Following our economic update was Dr. Larry Ivens of the Ivens Work Group. Dr. Ivens helped demystify the Block Chain and Crypto Currency (Bitcoin) technologies. While they both have the potential to disrupt our industries, the technology isn’t currently where it needs to be to have that much impact just yet, but it is incumbent upon our industry leaders to keep watching how these technologies are evolving.
Representing the ALTA Board of Governors was Bill Burding – EVP / General Counsel of Orange Coast Title in Southern California. Mr. Burding presented to us ALTA’s strategic priorities to advance our industry. The main priorities are on Corporate Culture, Information Security, Remote Online Notary’s, and E-signings.
In the afternoon, the over 200 attendees had the opportunity to enjoy all that the Island has to offer – bike rides, shopping and fudge. Our PAC fundraising teams raced around the island on their scavenger hunt while raising MLTA PAC dollars. At the evening dinner, Mr. Burding performed the ceremony of swearing in our MLTA Board Members. In addition to honoring outgoing President, John Bommarito, for a successful year, the John J. Jay Award for outstanding leadership and contributions to the MLTA was presented to Marcy Welburn.
Tuesday morning was dedicated to state politics. Cami Pendell, our association’s lobbyist, gave her update on our state legislature and MLTA’s legislative efforts, including amendments to the Marketable Record Title Act and the recent bills concerning e-notaries and online notarization. She also set the table for Michigan’s longest serving member of the state press corps in state history – Tim Skubick. The Emmy Award winning author entertained the crowd as he strolled through the room with wit and political wisdom. Mr. Skubick gave some background on the individuals running for Governor and heavily promoted our right to vote.
Our new President, Phil Savich, closed out the convention with a big “Thank You” to all of our attendees, sponsors, vendors and our Executive Director Marcy Lay – who has the always challenging task of coordinating these events. (Poor Brian Clark, he never gets mentioned.)
Next year’s convention will be July 14 – 16 at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Michigan. We hope to see you there. (Editor’s note: But, many more MLTA Events to attend between now and then, see the MLTA Events calendar and watch for periodic MLTA email reminders.)