Tornadoes Strike Several Iowa Towns, Leaving Significant Damage; At Least 17 Injured

All Client Alert
July 20, 2018

Source: The Weather Channel

Additional Resources:

Office of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (Gov. Reynolds issues disaster proclamation for 4 counties)

To view a ZIP Code list of counties included under the governor’s proclamation, please click here.

NOTE: This is independent from any FEMA Declared Disaster.

Safeguard Properties Disaster Update Center

Please see below for reported approximate areas sustaining property damage:

Iowa
Bondurant (Polk County, 50035)
Marshalltown (Marshall County, 50158)
Pella (Marion County, 50219)

This has NOT yet been declared a Presidential Major Disaster.

Cleanup was under Friday after severe storms and tornadoes swept through Iowa on Thursday, damaging homes and businesses and injuring at least 17 people.

The central Iowa cities of Marshalltown, Bondurant and Pella were hardest hit. At least 10 people were injured in Marshalltown and seven at a factory near Pella. No deaths were reported. As of Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service said five tornadoes have been confirmed in Iowa, but damage surveys are ongoing and that number is likely to increase.

In Marshalltown, about 50 miles northeast of Des Moines, the state capital, several homes and businesses were severely damaged, in this city of about 27,000 people. A state of emergency was declared. A preliminary analysis suggests Marshalltown had up to 43 minutes of lead time before the tornado hit.

The iconic 16-foot cupola of the Marshall County Courthouse, a limestone building on the National Register of Historic Places, was knocked 175 feet to the ground. The NWS relayed reports of “catastrophic damage,” with overturned vehicles and tops of buildings “gone.”

“It was bad. I’ve seen a lot of tornado stuff (in the past),” Des Moines resident Julie Owen, in town to visit her daughter, told CNN. “It’s not like the whole town is destroyed, but downtown, a city of this size, it was something else.”

At the UnityPoint Health facility, patients were evacuated to a nearby hospital after the building was damaged by the tornado. No injuries were reported, and the emergency room remained open.

“Everyone is advised to stay away from downtown Marshalltown until further notice,” City Administrator Jessica Kinser said in a statement obtained by CNN.com. “We also ask that people stay off cell lines unless necessary, to allow for emergency phone traffic.”

Joel Greer, mayor of Marshalltown, told The Weather Channel on Friday that the city is resilient and he has no doubt they’ll rebuild.

Clothing store owner Stephanie Moz and her husband were eating lunch with their 2-month-old baby when the twister approached, so they took shelter in the basement of the business, she told the Associated Press. After the tornado rushed over them, damaging the shop and destroying her husband’s car, they emerged unharmed.

“We went through a tornado and survived,” Moz said. “I’m happy.”

Minutes earlier, a separate tornado hit the Vermeer Corp. plant, a farm and construction equipment manufacturer near Pella, injuring seven. All were released after being treated at Pella Regional Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman told the AP.

Following a damage survey, the tornado was rated EF3 with winds as high as 144 mph. It was Iowa’s first EF3-or-higher tornado in July since July 27, 1995.

Andrew Betts, of Atlanta, who was in Pella for Vermeer’s customer appreciation day, told The Weather Channel on Friday morning that he was ushered to a tornado shelter with some 30 other people about 20 minutes before the tornado hit Thursday.

“It hit, passed over, and it was gone,” he said.

He praised Vermeer for its safety precautions and tornado preparation processes.

The company, which employs more than 2,700, was hosting an appreciation day for more than 400 customers and dealers to celebrate the company’s 70th anniversary when the tornado hit, said Jason Andringa, president and CEO of Vermeer. The visitors and employees were directed to tornado shelters on the Vermeer campus.

Two of the company’s buildings were demolished. Andringa said he was thankful that most of the buildings on the Vermeer campus received zero to little damage.

“We are certainly going to rebuild,” Andringa said. “We are going to come back stronger than ever.”

Before the tornado hit Pella, it struck Bondurant in Polk County, about 15 miles northeast of Des Moines.

T.J. Phillips, who captured the Bondurant tornado on video as it tore through a neighborhood, can be heard saying, “Houses are being torn to shreds. Oh, my God.”

Lt. Rick Blaylock of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office told The Weather Channel roofs were blown off homes. He said there were minor injuries but no deaths, and officials were going door-to-door to check on residents.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg will tour damage in Marshalltown Friday, and will also survey damage in Bondurant and Pella with Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management acting Director Joyce Flinn.

“Devastated to see the destruction from today’s severe storms & tornadoes,” tweeted Reynolds on Thursday evening. “Praying for all Iowans impacted & for the emergency management crews responding tonight.”

The Weather Channel issued a report outlining tornadic activity in central Iowa.

x

CHEIF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.

x

Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.

x

CHEIF INFORMATION OFFICER

George Mehok

George Mehok is the chief information officer for Safeguard. He is responsible for all strategic technology decisions, new systems deployments and data center operations supporting a national network of more than 10,000 mobile workers.

George has more than 20 years of leadership experience dedicated to high-growth companies in the mobile telecommunications and financial services industries, spanning startups to global industry leaders.

George played a senior role in the formation of Verizon Wireless, leading the IT product development and strategic planning team. He led the integration planning for the Verizon merger including: GTE, Vodafone-AirTouch, Bell Atlantic Mobile and PrimeCo.

As chief information officer at Revol Wireless, a VC-backed CDMA wireless communications network operator, George’s team implemented an integrated technology infrastructure and award-winning business intelligence platform.

George holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Eastern Michigan University and an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University. He is a board member of Akron University’s School of Business Center for Information Technology, in addition to an advisory board member for OHTec.

In 2013, George won the Crain’s Cleveland Business CIO of the Year award for his team’s work in completing a major acquisition and technology transformation at Safeguard. In 2015, George’s team was recognized by InformationWeek’s annual Elite 100 ranking of the most innovative U.S.-based users of business technology. The mobile inspection technology developed at Safeguard was selected as InformationWeek’s “One of the top 20 ideas to steal in 2015”.

x

General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Human Resources

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard, with oversight responsibilities for the legal, human resources, training, compliance and audit departments. Linda’s broad scope of oversight covers regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, pro-active risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human capital and training initiatives, compliance and audit services, litigation and claims management, and counsel related to mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda’s oversight of the legal department along with multiple compliance and human capital focused departments assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans almost 20 years, and Linda’s experience, both as outside and in-house counsel, covers a wide range of corporate matters, including regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.

x

VP, Finance and Vendor Management

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the vice president of finance and vendor management for Safeguard. Joe leads the accounting and information security departments, and is a key leader in the management of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets. He also leads the service supply chain including vendor sourcing, field quality control, and delivery, in addition to the quality assurance function for the company.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.

x

AVP, High Risk and Investor Compliance

Steve Meyer

Steve Meyer is the assistant vice president of high risk and investor compliance for Safeguard. In this role, Steve is responsible for managing our clients’ conveyance processes, Safeguard’s investor compliance team and developing our working relationships with cities and municipalities around the country. He also works directly with our clients in our many outreach efforts and he represents Safeguard at a number of industry conferences each year.

Steve joined Safeguard in 1998 as manager over the hazard claims team. He was instrumental in the development and creation of policies, procedures and operating protocol. Under Steve’s leadership, the department became one of the largest within Safeguard. In 2002, he assumed responsibility for the newly-formed high risk department, once again building its success. Steve was promoted to director over these two areas in 2007, and he was promoted to assistant vice president in 2012.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve spent 10 years within the insurance industry, holding a number of positions including multi-line property adjuster, branch claims supervisor, and multi-line and subrogation/litigation supervisor. Steve is a graduate of Grove City College.

x

AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.

x

AVP, Human Capital

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of human capital for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.

x

AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.

x

AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.

x

AVP, Mobile and Analytics

Jason Heckman

Jason Heckman is the assistant vice president of mobile and analytics for Safeguard. He is responsible for both Safeguard’s mobile development and strategy as well as the company’s data warehousing and business intelligence. Jason oversees the design, development and release of all Safeguard’s internally developed mobile applications. He also oversees the development and delivery of operational and analytical data technologies throughout the organization.

Jason joined Safeguard as manager of mobile in 2012. During that time he led the development and integration of Safeguard’s mobile applications across the company’s vendor network to provide real-time data from the field. In 2014, he was promoted to director of mobile applications and named assistant vice president in 2017.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Jason was the director of application development and business intelligence for Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana.

Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

x

Director, Business Development & Marketing

Tim Rath

Tim Rath is the director of business development and marketing for Safeguard. He is responsible for developing innovative growth strategies for Safeguard and developing and overseeing potential partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.

Tim joined Safeguard in 2011 as project director and has filled numerous roles within Vendor Management, most recently serving as director of vendor management, a role he assumed in 2011.

Prior to Safeguard, Tim worked as director of supply chain at PartsSource Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, a provider of medical replacement parts, procurement solutions and healthcare supply chain management technology services. He also has held sales positions with Rexel, ComDoc, and Pier Associates, all based in Ohio.

Tim holds a degree in marketing and sales from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He also earned his FAA Certified Commercial UAS (Drone) Pilot license in 2017.