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REO Disposition Begins in Delinquency

Published in MBA Magazine, February ’05?

REO Disposition Begins in Delinquency
By Robert Klein

During the past fifteen years, like so many other veteran default industry professionals, we have witnessed countless changes within our dynamic industry, including, but certainly not limited to; increased consolidation of lending and servicing institutions, widespread proliferation of third-party outsource vendors, a myriad of procedural and investor guideline changes, and shifts in local and federal laws governing the industry. As a result, within the mortgage loan-servicing arena this often-expressed aphorism holds true: The only constant is change itself.

A great many of these changes have to do with an increasingly global view of the industry, a recognition that as business models change and more processes are centralized within national servicers and their service providers, there needs to be a growing interrelation between different sectors and interests within mortgage servicing.

One important change that we, and many of our colleagues see beginning to materialize within much of the mortgage loan servicing industry, is with regards to the relationship between the foreclosure process and REO disposition. Today, we are observing senior and executive servicing managers throughout the industry addressing the reality that final disposition of non-performing real estate assets begins with the first delinquency. That the entire default process should be a continuous flow of intertwining and efficient business processes, which allows for continuous inventory tracking capabilities that are designed to manage and streamline the entire process.?

With the remarkable technological advances that have appeared over the past several years, REO managers, their staffs, and their superiors can now find out much more than ever before about the history of an REO property prior to its having gone to foreclosure sale.?In addition, with vastly expanded contractor networks, national field service providers, with their specialized P&P personnel, have dramatically increased their ability to complete REO services in the timely, consistent manner that is critical to all REO managers, their staffs and institutions. These expanded networks enable national property preservation service providers with the ability to successfully service the lenders’, servicers’, and investors’ properties from urban inner cities, to ultra-rural localities, and virtually everywhere in-between, all across the country.

This nationwide service capability is further enhanced by the improved quality control and reporting technologies that these national companies have developed over the years. Providing repair and maintenance estimates, filing insurance claims (on damaged properties) and so on, are also streamlined in this process. Couple these factors with standardized flat fee pricing structures, greatly simplified bulk billing capabilities, and most importantly, the inherent, magnified accountability that a national service provider must have, and one can easily begin to recognize the myriad of measurable benefits for lenders, servicers and investors alike from this “cradle-to-grave” concept.

For years within many loan-servicing organizations, it has been reported that a virtual, and sometimes actual barrier had existed between the foreclosure and REO departments, especially in the larger shops.?This barrier not only impeded cooperation between the foreclosure and REO departments, it also wasted valuable time and contributed to higher losses for the institutions.

Foreclosure specialists work closely with their property preservation (P&P) vendors to ensure that their institution’s non-performing real estate assets are being maintained and protected against deferred maintenance, vandalism, adverse weather conditions, and so forth.? When these properties become vacant and/or abandoned, the P&P vendors are also charged with the responsibility of securing them.?Since the P&P vendors inspect these properties on a regular basis throughout the collection and foreclosure stages of default, they become very familiar with property condition, the surrounding market, and property value.

The foreclosure specialists also develop an internal information base and familiarity with these properties.? In the past, this knowledge sometimes stopped at the door (or barrier), between the foreclosure and REO departments.? REO specialists took in properties without the benefit of having complete access to information about loan/property history, or even the services that were provided during the foreclosure process.? As a result, many preservation services, like lock changes, winterizations, damage reports, repairs, etc., were actually performed two or more times on many properties.

Dave Gibson, a national loan servicing consultant, who has worked for several of? the nation’s leading mortgage loan servicers over the past three decades, also knows most of the top default managers in the nation, and has first-hand knowledge that the “barrier” existed, and may still exist in some institutions. Mr. Gibson has witnessed this issue more in larger organizations. As we alluded to earlier, these larger shops have different? departments that are sometimes not only separated within an institution’s offices, but can even be separated geographically.

“Effective communication starts with effective leadership from management,” according to Gibson. “If management emphasizes close communication, the staff will follow.”

Mr. Gibson also feels it is important for managers of the respective areas to get in front of each other and articulate the common ground and common goals of the global organization.

“If properly aligned, the areas can be of great benefit to each other,” he added. “The REO department can help with values, bidding strategies relative to the foreclosure sale, and can even offer advice on challenging properties. The REO department in turn can benefit from advice received from the other areas about problem properties in advance of their coming to REO.”

Ultimately, it is the institution as a whole that benefits on the bottom line when these areas have their objectives aligned, and they effectively, and frequently communicate well with each other. It’s hard to believe, but in some institutions the staff members from one department didn’t even know how what they do can impact other departments, and vice versa. Today, nearly all default managers agree that communication, cooperation and a collective singleness of purpose is what is needed to improve efficiencies and lower costs in default management.

Situations such as the discovery of mold or conditions that could lead to mold growth that are not communicated in a timely manner from the foreclosure departments to REO can prove even more costly to an institution.? Additional valuations ordered on new REOs, when multiple valuations were already obtained just prior to the foreclosure sale, also create measurable and unnecessary costs to the servicer or investor. These redundancies and omissions are only a few examples of circumstances that can contribute to increased holding time and decreased net recovery on assets – losses that are avoidable.

Over the past several years, several leading P&P service providers came to the realization that overall field services and property preservation should not end with a successful foreclosure sale, but rather could (and should) be carried through all the way to settlement or the close of escrow on REO properties. In a perfect world, one vendor for pre- and post-sale services could be relied upon to ensure “cradle-to-grave” continuity in the preservation of each asset.

The major benefit of this approach for mortgage loan servicing clients is the ability to eliminate duplicative work and associated costs, better reporting and tracking capabilities, and the acceleration of the entire default process, thereby increasing efficiencies and lowering expenditures.? By centralizing all P&P work, including REO-related services (reporting occupancy status, re-keying locks, securing properties, performing trashouts, and completing ongoing maintenance and repairs) with a national P&P vendor, quality control is improved and efficiency in providing services is increased.? An additional benefit is that the direct relationship between the care of properties during different stages in the foreclosure process, and REO disposition, becomes clear. When all of the parties involved in the entire process better understand the roles of other departments and how each division’s actions can affect the others, the result is a more cohesive and efficient team-focused environment.

Servicers who have chosen this inclusive route realize that many benefits are to be derived from the fact that national P&P service providers have built large nationwide networks of property inspectors and contractors, experienced preservation experts, who can act in concert with the REO brokers as the servicers’ “eyes and ears” in the field. The national vendor visiting the properties within the servicers’ portfolios on a regular basis before the foreclosure sale can easily continue this monitoring post-sale and through to closing, providing a reliable and consistent history of property condition and preservation activity. In addition, diverting the administrative burden of managing day-to-day preservation activity to third-party outsource partners will help servicing institutions minimize operating expenses, while empowering internal staff to focus on their core competencies. This is particularly true relative to the billing process, which can be remarkably burdensome.

Many servicers have already enthusiastically embraced this all-encompassing approach to property preservation, al?though not everyone in the industry has immediately welcomed the change with open arms.? For example, some real estate brokers, who have traditionally been called upon by REO specialists to provide services such as re-keying properties, securing bids for and supervising trashouts and repairs, performing lawn maintenance, etc., as well as listing, selling, and helping to close sales on REO properties, are sometimes resistant to relinquish control over these services.? To some brokers, this additional work, although outside of their specific area of expertise, can be a means of generating additional cash flow on properties they are listing, by marking up the costs. These brokers have become attached to this extra income, despite the associated carrying costs of providing these additional services and waiting, interest free, for reimbursement from their servicer clients.

The truth is however, at least according to Ira M. Mizell, a seventeen-year veteran REO Broker with GoldTree Realty in Skokie, Illinois, most brokers who provide maintenance services on REO properties do not make money doing so, but actually are lucky if they break even.

“The billing alone is a monster,” said Mizell. “We have to cut three- to four-hundred checks each month, check the invoices for accuracy, make copies of the checks, and account for every penny.

“It’s a monumental task that I’d gladly give up to a national property preservation company that could consistently do this work and be as responsive as we have been to our lender clients.”

Mizell, who manages a rolling inventory of between thirty and fifty REO properties in any given month, has to carry nearly $40,000 worth of maintenance expenses that he has paid out, for which he awaits reimbursement.

“I like having control of these properties, because I’m being held responsible for them,” Mizell added. “But under the right circumstances, I’d give it up if I could.”

The Servicers’ dependence on local REO brokers for providing post-sale property maintenance was brought on by other changes in the real estate market that began to take shape in the last decade of the 20th Century.

During the early and mid 1990s there was a backlash that followed the booming second half of the 1980s with respect to property values. Favorable economic conditions fueled increased employment and increased income, due not only to rising wages but also from many types of investments, such as the stock market, and, of course, real estate. In addition to many people having disposable income to purchase these investments, the advent of ever-increasing numbers of “creative financing” programs and the improved economic conditions propelled many more “average” Americans into the market for home ownership. As a result of the higher and higher demand for real estate, in a market economy, prices could only rise, and rise, and rise. Exponentially it seemed… for a while.

Well, what goes up… you know the rest. There truly is a ceiling to most every price increase, and the housing market in the early 1990s not only hit that ceiling, it broke its neck in the process, creating the downward spiral of real estate values that continued on through most of the last decade.

This downturn, and the severe drop in property values all across the nation, fueled an unprecedented increase in loan defaults and foreclosures, ultimately glutting whole neighborhoods of their economic stability and increasing the number of bank-owned homes that went on the market. Real estate professionals got into the REO business because it offered them an alternate revenue stream that was coming to many of them in the early ?90s unsolicited. There were far more REO properties out there than there were experienced REO brokers to list them. For many, their incomes rose to previously unheard of levels.

As more and more real estate people entered or tried to enter the REO business, many servicers and investors decided that they could reduce the commissions that they had been paying to these individuals. “After all,” the thinking went, “the brokers will make it up in volume.” For many REO brokers, however, volume is a relative term, and lower income is lower income. To make up for this reduction in income caused by more and more competition, as well as a diminished inventory of REO properties in the early 21st Century, many brokers began to rely more and more on providing their clients with “value-added services” like the property preservation and maintenance services mentioned earlier, to make them more competitive and to gain more business. In a sense, they got trapped into doing the work because it made life easier for the servicer or investor to deal with as few individuals on a given property as possible.

However, a growing number of REO brokers in our industry today recognize that the changing trend toward national P&P service providers doing post-foreclosure work is not only better for their clients, it also yields real benefits for themselves. Relieved of the responsibility of obtaining bids or contracting for repairs, not to mention the administrative and financial burdens of carrying and documenting the preservation expenses they incur until they can be reimbursed at the time of the closing of the sale, brokers can devote their time and resources to their primary obligation, goal, and true expertise: successfully marketing and selling non-performing real estate assets.?

One veteran REO broker we spoke to recently, Faith Rosselle, owner broker of Rosselle Realty Services, Inc. in Maryland, commented that in many ways this new trend is benefiting her.

“While I have always liked having control of the REO maintenance process, I do not miss carrying the expenses until reimbursed,” said Rosselle. “Having someone else responsible for the utilities is a big help, and as the national P&P companies get better and better, as they have recently, I’ll gladly let loose of the control, too.”

In fact, as the inclusive approach to pre- and post-sale preservation has caught on, and more and more brokers have encountered it, we’re hearing that many brokers today actually recommend to their servicer clients that they consider using national P&P vendors to provide the aforementioned REO services.

Since wanting control of the process was a recurring theme as we talked to REO brokers, we decided to ask another top REO broker, Anngel Benoun, Director of REO Sales for Dilbeck Gibson Realtors of Encino, California, for her perspective.

“The hardest thing for any Real Estate Agent to do is give up control over their transaction, because we always believe we can do it better than anyone else,” said the veteran REO professional. “But what a relief not to have to concern ourselves with the Property Preservation aspect of REO disposition.

“I believe too many times REO agents are reluctant to communicate with either the Property Preservation vendor or their Asset Manager for fear that any criticism or complaint will damage their relationship with their lender client,” Benoun added.? “With the national P&P vendor I worked with, however, I found that they encouraged our honest dialogue, and that actually helped to make the process a great success.”

There is little doubt among progressive members of our industry that this latest change in the property preservation arena will bring new opportunities for all concerned, from the REO brokers, who can focus on their specific areas of expertise, to the national P&P service providers, who have expanded the scope of services which they provide, and more importantly, to the servicers and investors, who will realize measurable savings in time and expense.?

Foreclosure rates are on the rise nationwide, dramatically so in states such as Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, the Carolinas, Alabama, and others as well. Servicers and investors must therefore continue to look for innovative, effective ways to minimize holding time and maximize net recovery on their REO assets. At a recent servicing management conference, it was reported that servicing costs actually rose by 4% industry-wide in 2004, which is the first increase in many years. This is more evidence that cost reducing methodologies such as the one discussed here are more likely to be embraced more universally in the coming months and years ahead.

A change in mindset with regard to nationwide cradle-to-grave property preservation, an approach that allows work performed by national field service providers to continue in a seamless fashion throughout the entire life of a defaulted loan, can only serve to benefit America’s lenders, servicers, and investors. Implementing a consistent and properly channeled workflow from first delinquency all the way through to the final disposition of each REO property will result in higher efficiencies and better overall communications that will produce shorter holding times, lower costs, and most importantly, higher recovery on aggregate portfolios of non-performing real estate assets.


Robert Klein is the founder and CEO of Safeguard Properties , the largest privately held mortgage field services company in the Country. For information about Safeguard, or to contact Mr. Klein, please visit their web site at

1 Feb 2005

Technology and Property Preservation Interview

Interview published in REO Magazine, Dec.-Jan. ’05?

“With wireless technology, inspectors out there in the field can get us answers and results instantaneously, and this has saved our clients a lot of time and money, particularly in the winter months,” says Allan Jaffa, chief operating officer for Safeguard Properties, the nations’s largest mortgage field service provider.

According to Jaffa, the continued progress in technology is helping to preserve the value of properties, and this is extremely beneficial to banks and other mortgage lenders. In the past, Jaffa says, the time lag between mortgage servicers placing orders, having them carried out and then having banks view the work and decide what to do next would in and of itself contribute to wear and tear on a property. And for banks and other holders of property, every second counts in protecting their holdings from a host of factors ranging from weather to vandalism, be it in the presale or the foreclosure processes.

With its 28 member IT team, Safeguard Properties has taken great strides in saving both time and money for its clients. The company has a centralized database of information through which clients can access online at any time any bit of information pertaining to their properties nationwide. The database has photos of properties that are constantly updated, Jaffa says, and every step of the work that has been done on a particular property from a drive-by inspection to more particular work such as winterizing or changing locks is electronically filed, and can be viewed by clients anytime, anywhere.

“Money talks for our clients; we are facilitating communication and making things more efficient for them,” Jaffa says.

“For everyone, from our vendors to our clients, everything is readily available on our database,” agrees Dayan Sapir, VP of client development and relations at Safeguard. “Clients have access to all our information and everything is centralized for both them as well as the contractors.”

Technology continues to develop and its importance to the property preservation business is being increasingly recognized. To be sure, this business has taken on a life of its own now, and recently, Safeguard Properties organized the first-ever property preservation conference in Washington, D.C., a seminal event that brought together officials from around the country to discuss pertinent topics and find ways to work together even more efficiently in the coming years.

1 Dec 2004

Introducing the National Property Preservation Conference

Published in REO Magazine, Sep. ’04

National Property Preservation Conference 2004
November 3-5, 2004 The Mayflower Hotel Washington D.C.

REO Magazine will be heading to the nation?s capital to attend the National Property Preservation Conference 2004, hosted by Safeguard Properties Inc.

The conference is the first two-day event solely devoted to property preservation in the mortgage industry.

?This is an opportunity to bring the entire industry together in one room,? pointed out Robert Klein, president & CEO of Ohio-based Safeguard Properties. ?The conference is an industry wide type of awareness program that will get every body on the same page and in tune with each other.?

Klein, who started his company nearly 15 years ago with no experience in property preservation, decided to host the conference after participating in many other industry events over the years. ?As I was doing these sessions, the interest level grew ? literally on a conference by conference basis,? he noted. ?The feedback that I received was that 1? hour sessions were just not enough time to discuss all the issues related to P&P.?

As one of the largest property preservation companies in the nation with more than 350 employees, Safeguard Properties is well positioned to host this industry event. In planning the event, Klein made sure to put the idea to industry players such as HUD and mortgage servicers.

In particular, Klein feels that the timing of the Property Preservation conference couldn?t be better. He points to HUD?s recent changes with its marketing and management group, which increased from four to five companies to 24 companies.

?As of October 1, there?s an entirely new structure in place that HUD is implementing,? Klein said. ?It?s a very big change for the entire industry, so this is a very timely conference since it will include all M&M companies.?

According to Klein, the conference will address the biggest challenges for property preservation companies: complying with investor guidelines and timelines.

Safeguard Properties is currently finalizing the event agenda and anticipates about 300 participants. ?We?re moving toward making this a town hall meeting type of format,? Klein explained.

1 Sep 2004

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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.


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.



Sean Reddington

Sean Reddington is the new Chief Information Officer for Safeguard Properties LLC. Sean has over 15+ years of experience in Information Services Management with a strong focus on Product and Application Management. Sean is responsible for Safeguard’s technological direction, including planning, implementation and maintaining all operational systems

Sean has a proven record of accomplishment for increasing operational efficiencies, improving customer service levels, and implementing and maintaining IT initiatives to support successful business processes.  He has provided the vision and dedicated leadership for key technologies for Fortune 100 companies, and nationally recognized consulting firms including enterprise system architecture, security, desktop and database management systems. Sean possesses strong functional and system knowledge of information security, systems and software, contracts management, budgeting, human resources and legal and related regulatory compliance.

Sean joined Safeguard Properties LLC from RenPSG Inc. which is a nationally leading Philintropic Software Platform in the Fintech space. He oversaw the organization’s technological direction including planning, implementing and maintaining the best practices that align with all corporate functions. He also provided day-to-day technology operations, enterprise security, information risk and vulnerability management, audit and compliance, security awareness and training.

Prior to RenPSG, Sean worked for DMI Consulting as a Client Success Director where he guided the delivery in a multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 enterprise client account. He was responsible for all project deliveries in terms of quality, budget and timeliness and led the team to coordinate development and definition of project scope and limitations. Sean also worked for KPMG Consulting in their Microsoft Practice and Technicolor’s Ebusiness Division where he had responsibility for application development, maintenance, and support.

Sean is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts and received his Masters in International Business from Central Michigan University. He was also a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force prior to his career in the business world.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard and oversees the legal, human resources, training, and compliance departments. Linda’s responsibilities cover regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human resources and training initiatives, compliance, litigation and claims management, and mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans over 20 years, and Linda’s experience covers 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.


Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

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.


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.


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.


AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance 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.


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.


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.


Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.