Winter Storm Diego Set to Strike Southeast

Updated 12/9/18: FOX News (Carolina) issued a report titled Power outage numbers continue to climb in the Upstate, Mountains as winter weather continues.

Link to article

North/South Carolina Power Outages (by county) as of 12/9/18:

  • Buncombe: 18,355
  • Haywood: 9,649
  • Henderson: 8,186
  • Jackson: 4,004
  • Macon: 6,080
  • Polk: 7,007
  • Rutherford: 12,844
  • Transylvania: 7,131
  • Cherokee (SC) – 1,219
  • Greenville: 12,226
  • Oconee: 916
  • Pickens: 492
  • Spartanburg: 15,076

Source: FOX Carolina

Updated 12/9/18: The Weather Channel published an article titled Winter Storm Diego Leaves Nearly 270,000 Without Power Across Southeast.

Link to article

Updated 12/8/18: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide emergency declaration in anticipation of Winter Storm Diego.

Link to declaration

Link to associated ZIP Code list

Updated 12/7/18: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a statewide emergency declaration in anticipation of Winter Storm Diego.

Link to declaration

Link to associated ZIP Code list

Updated 12/6/18:
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued a statewide emergency declaration in anticipation of Winter Storm Diego.

Link to declaration

Link to associated ZIP Code list

Industry Alert

December 6, 2018

Source: The Weather Channel

Winter Storm Diego will spread a widespread mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain from the southern Plains to the Southeast late this week into early next week.

Diego was named Wednesday evening with the expectation that its long swath of wintry precipitation will meet both the areal and population thresholds used to trigger naming. Population criteria for naming was reached late Friday afternoon.

The storm system is currently producing lower-elevation rain and mountain snow from parts of the Southwest into the southern Plains.

Some pockets of mixed precip are possible this afternoon in the Texas panhandle.

Heavy rain and high elevation snow caused problems in southern California on Thursday.

Mudslides and flash flooding forced evacuations and necessitated several rescues while higher elevations in the southern Sierra picked up 6 inches of snowfall.

Into early next week, Diego will unleash its heaviest amounts of snow and ice as it moves farther eastward while interacting with cold air supplied by high pressure to its north. The snow and ice will cause significant travel disruptions from parts of the southern Plains into the Southeast. Ice accumulations in some areas may be heavy enough for tree damage and power outages as well.

Current Winter Alerts

Winter weather advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for portions of New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, as well as in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Winter storm watches are posted for parts of southeastern New Mexico, northern Texas and Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City area.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of northern Arkansas for the early part of the weekend.

Winter storm warnings and winter storm watches are also in effect for western North Carolina, southwestern Virginia, upstate South Carolina and extreme northeastern Georgia for Saturday evening through Monday. This area includes Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville, North Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina and Johnson City, Tennessee.

These warnings and watches stand as a heads up that dangerous winter weather conditions, including heavy snow and/or damaging ice, are possible this weekend.

There is still some uncertainty in key forecast details, but the odds continue to increase for a major winter storm.

Winter Storm Diego Timing

Into Friday Night

– Freezing rain will develop and become more widespread by Friday evening across the Texas Panhandle.

– By Friday night, widespread snow will develop from eastern New Mexico into the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma.

– Snow, sleet and freezing rain may spread as far east as southern Missouri and northern Arkansas by Friday night.

– Rain, heavy at times, is expected farther south across Texas, Louisiana, southern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southern Tennessee and northwestern Alabama.

– Travel will likely be affected by wet and/or wintry weather on stretches of interstates 40 and 35 in the southern Plains.

Sunday-Sunday Night

– Snow, heavy at times, will affect the southern half of the Appalachians, potentially including far upstate South Carolina, western North Carolina, southern Virginia and southern West Virginia.

– Snow, ice and strong winds increase the possibility of falling trees and power lines, according to the National Weather Service.

– Significant ice or snow will impact parts of the adjacent foothills and Piedmont region as far south and east as the Interstate 85 corridor in the Carolinas and possibly as far east as Interstate 95 in southern Virginia.

– Travel disruption is possible on stretches of Interstate 26, Interstate 40, Interstate 85, Interstate 77 and Interstate 95.

– Strong onshore winds may contribute to pounding surf, beach erosion and possible coastal flooding from the southern mid-Atlantic coast to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, including the Delmarva Peninsula and the Virginia Tidewater.


– Strengthening low pressure off the Southeast coast may allow a rain-and-snow mix to linger from the southern Appalachians and adjacent Piedmont into the Tennessee Valley.

– We will continue to monitor the storm for any potential turn toward the northeastern United States early next week. As of right now, the majority of forecast guidance suggests the low will stay far enough offshore to prevent major impacts in the Northeast.

How Much Snow and Ice?

Snow and ice accumulations from this storm will be expansive, extending from the southern Plains, Ozarks and to the southern half of the Appalachian Mountains and the adjacent Piedmont region.

Significant mixing is likely in each of these areas, meaning additional rain, sleet or freezing rain compared to these forecasts will cut down snowfall totals. If the air is colder than currently forecast, then the opposite could occur, and more snow would accumulate.

Here’s an initial look at what to expect in each region, keeping in mind it’s subject to change.

Southern Plains and Ozarks

– Snow totals in the southern Plains are forecast to be generally less than 6 inches in the Texas Panhandle, eastern New Mexico and in southwestern Oklahoma.

– Light to moderate snow is possible in parts of the Ozarks in northern Arkansas. Some sleet and freezing rain will also mix in at times.

– Significant icing, potentially causing tree damage and triggering power outages, cannot be ruled out from northern Arkansas into northwestern Tennessee and far southwestern Kentucky.

Ohio Valley to the Appalachians and Piedmont

– The heaviest snow accumulations from Winter Storm Diego will be in the southern Appalachians in western North Carolina. Totals topping a half-foot or even a foot are likely in this region.

– Significant ice and snow accumulations could also impact the adjacent foothills and Piedmont, as well as into parts of southern Virginia, but it’s too early for specifics since precipitation types may vary in those lower elevations.

– Power outages and tree damage could occur in areas where snow and ice accumulations are heaviest.

– Some light snow or light ice accumulation also cannot be ruled out as far south as northeastern Georgia.

There is the possibility that Diego could bring a foot or more of snow to Asheville, North Carolina.

In records dating to 1869, the western North Carolina city has only seen a dozen snowstorms with accumulations of at least 12 inches.



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.



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”.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

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.


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, 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.


AVP, Business Development

Tim Rath

Tim Rath is the AVP of business development 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.


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.