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David Contarino Explains Key Staff and Services at Southwestern Title & Escrow Inc.

In Personal, Professionals on June 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

David ContarinoThough he sold the company in 2009, David Contarino is still proud that Southwestern Title & Escrow redefined what service means in the real estate industry.

Southwestern Title & Escrow (ST&E) was founded in 1994 and opened in 1995 recalls David Contarino. Along with wife Linda Marquette Contarino, the couple opened the doors with just eight employees and the intent to help people insure their dreams through a local and reliable source.

David Contarino explains that ST&E offers real estate customers title insurance and escrow resources. As a locally owned company, David Contarino says there are numerous benefits to working with ST&E, including the company’s strong link to local commerce. Included in the company’s lineup of local partnerships are the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, the New Mexico Land Title Association, and the Santa Fe Area Home Builder Association. David Contarino notes that ST&E is also active in the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce.

Company leadership

David Contarino and Linda Marquette Contarino sold the company in 2009 to Santa Fe native John Fox, a veteran real estate attorney. Fox has been a figure in the Santa Fe legal community since 1978. He is a second-generation law professional, explains David Contarino, and worked alongside his father, Robert Fox, until the mid-1990s.

Today, ST&E continues the mission that inspired David Contarino and Linda Marquette Contarino to open this now very successful title company. According to David Contarino, the title and exam department is managed by Mike Thompson. Thompson is an industry pioneer with more than 20 years of experience, reports David Contarino. With nearly 40 years performing title searches, Senior Examiner Fred Barela is a stickler for quality. Senior Policy Preparer Joyce Arellano has diligently served the industry for more than two decades, says David Contarino.

Lead Escrow Officer Kay Jones has stayed one step ahead of the ever changing title and escrow environment since the 1980s. David Contarino emphasizes that Jones provides each and every client with the greatest protection available, while always keeping budget concerns in the forefront of her mind. David Contarino says that Jones is a great member of ST&E’s team of escrow officers, which includes Cassandra Vigil-Mondragon, Maria Salazar and Carla Pogemiller. David Contarino reveals that Pogemiller is something of an industry leader, with more than 30 years of experience. She has received several awards including affiliate of the year from the Santa Fe Association of REALTORS®.

The closing process

David Contarino explains that, as a title and escrow company, ST&E is given the important task of making sure the real estate transaction is protected. According to David Contarino, the company discovers, identifies and remedies potential conflicts to eliminate title hazards that may interfere with the intended purchasers’ home-ownership rights. David Contarino emphasizes that a successful closing always begins with a complete and accurate title search. Essentially, the title company is ensuring the homeowner that they have performed a diligent search and there are no issues at signing. David Contarino explains that the search may include divorce records, sales history, deeds and mortgages, and previous court judgments, liens and delinquent taxes.

David Contarino remains an avid supporter of Southwestern Title and Escrow. He is active in the real estate community and owns several commercial and residential properties throughout the Santa Fe area. David Contarino is also a political consultant with nearly 30 years of experience in both politics and real estate.

Kelley D. Hamilton Reports on the “Bonaventure and You” Project

In Personal, Professionals on April 12, 2013 at 4:25 am
Kelley D. Hamilton

Kelley D. Hamilton

As Chief Executive Officer of Oregon-based Bonaventure Senior Living, Kelley D. Hamilton says his mission is to expand the company’s generosity. In order to accomplish this goal, Kelley D. Hamilton encourages staff members and residents alike to support local charities. Recently Kelley D. Hamilton spearheaded the “Bonaventure and You” program, an opportunity to give back to local charities. Kelley D. Hamilton describes the effort in the following Q&A.

Q: Kelley D. Hamilton, when did the “Bonaventure and You” start?

Kelley D. Hamilton: We kicked it off last November, in 2012. I would like to expand the program, though.

Q: How does “Bonaventure and You” work?

Kelley D. Hamilton: We designed the program so that any new resident in a Bonaventure community could select a charity of their choice to receive a $1,000 donation in their name paid for by Bonaventure.

Q: That’s a great idea!

Kelley D. Hamilton: Yes, and there’s more. If a current resident has referred the new resident, we will donate an additional $500 gift in the current resident’s name.

Q: Were the Bonaventure communities themselves involved?

Kelley D. Hamilton: Yes, the Bonaventure communities gave their residents the option of choosing six more local charities, for $250 gifts each along with an award ceremony honoring those who do so much for their local communities.

Q: How were the donors recognized?

Kelley D. Hamilton: We invited the general public to a “Heroes of Hope” celebration in each community, thanking both donors and charities.

Q: Were you pleased with the results of the effort?

Kelley D. Hamilton: We set up a total of 286 gifts to 236 charities. That’s in addition to the home office’s gift of over $70,000.

Q: What was the territory involved? How much was the total amount raised?

Kelley D. Hamilton: Our communities are located in Montana, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho. The total giving was well over $150,000!

Q: What prompted you to initiate the “Bonaventure and You” program?

Kelley D. Hamilton: It’s simple; we care about the same things our residents care about. We want to be able to help not just our residents, but everyone in the local community.

Q: What are some examples of the charities your residents have selected?

Kelley D. Hamilton: Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Network, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, the VFW and the Humane Society.

Q: How can people find out more about this program?

Kelley D. Hamilton: They can visit their local Bonaventure community, or go to BonaventureAndYou.com for details.

Q: Any parting thoughts?  

Kelley D. Hamilton: Yes. I’d just like to say that it’s really worth it to experience the satisfaction people get from contributing to causes and organizations they believe in, be it their local church or a national charitable organization. We understand how difficult it is to make those decisions in a tight economy, and it’s gratifying for us to be able to help.

Kelley D. Hamilton attended Portland State University. After earning his degree in Finance and Business Administration, Kelley D. Hamilton co-founded Kline Hamilton Realty Advisors. It was during his time at Kline Hamilton that Kelley D. Hamilton found his calling in senior living.

Kelley D. Hamilton came on board with Bonaventure in 2000, when it was still known as Mountain West Retirement. Today, Kelley D. Hamilton presides over a company that manages 37 flexible retirement communities across several states in the western and northwestern U.S. Always sensitive to the needs of residents, Kelley D. Hamilton has instituted feedback forms and town hall meetings at Bonaventure communities which has lead to Bonaventure’s stellar 96% resident satisfaction rate.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Still Important Almost 25 Years Later

In Personal, Professionals on February 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm

In 1989, Stephen R. Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a highly influential volume in the world of business management. The book has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. Covey starts from the position of “abundance mindset,” fostering teamwork in an organization through the belief that there are enough resources to be able to collaborate and share success with others in the group. This is, says Covey, as opposed to a “scarcity mindset,” where there’s an unnecessary, destructive, stressful competition going on that can be counterproductive to the group’s goals.

Now, for a brief rundown of the Seven Habits:

  • Be proactive – Take the reins for your own decisions and outcomes, and don’t wait for someone else. Remember that you’re the one accountable for your moves, for better or worse.
  • Begin with the end in mind – In business, this long-game approach might involve creating a mission statement, to help keep your eyes on the goal and not just the short run.
  • Put first things first – Prioritize your days, your weeks and your quarters, and stick with this priority schedule. Be mindful of whether your efforts get you closer to your goals and are in keeping with the first two Habits.
  • Think win/win – Remember that a “win” for a group is a win for everyone, and is almost always going to play out as a better resolution than if one person alone is driving the decisions and insists on getting things his or her way.
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood – Keep your ears open and try to identify in an empathetic way with the challenges that others on your team are facing. This approach will help them be much more receptive to your own input.
  • Synergize – Remember that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and teamwork should combine the strengths of everyone in your group. The result is a goal that no one person could do on his or her own.
  • Sharpen the saw – Don’t let work overrun your life to the point of burnout. Balance your working life with whatever it takes to renew your physical and emotional energy, whether it’s prayer, meditation, exercise, good reading or service back to your community.

While much of Covey’s gospel seems intuitive, but many managers and individuals don’t grasp it and have paid the price in performance and results. Presentation Solutions suggests our readers revisit this book, or read it for the first time. Nearly a quarter of a century later, it is still considered to be a touchstone for not only managers, but also people looking for self-help advice in their personal lives.

Interview: Gregory Fake, Television Producer and Volunteer Prison Minister

In Personal on February 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm
Gregory Fake

Gregory Fake

Gregory Fake, assistant producer for the award-winning Lifetime television program, Balancing Act, shares his personal side through talking with Community Blog Online about prison ministries.

Community Blog Online:  Thank you for joining us.  Please tell our readers how you got involved with prison ministries.

Gregory Fake:  I am a deacon at my church and prison ministry is a big part of our church mission.

Community Blog Online:  Prison ministry must be difficult; can you describe a bit about your first impressions of the prison environment and the inmates?

Gregory Fake:  Prison is a very different world.  For anyone who has never been on the inside, it can be startling.  The inmates were intimidating at first, but this changed as I became better at my counseling and better at understanding their needs.

Community Blog Online:  What services do you and your partners provide to inmates?

Gregory Fake:  Mainly, we do a lot of listening and reminding inmates that they are loved and there is hope.

Community Blog Online:  Talk more about the counseling provided to inmates…

Gregory Fake:  The people I meet in jail and prison have suffered tremendous hardships in their lives; I am there to help them deal with their demons, while creating a path to a brighter day through spiritual work.

Community Blog Online:  What do you do for the families of inmates?

Gregory Fake:  I am in the prison regularly and am available to families who might need advice and reassurance.

Community Blog Online:  Is it difficult for prisoners to see the brighter side of life?

Gregory Fake:  Of course.  Some of these men are wracked with guilt for the pain they have caused in others and don’t believe they are worthy of forgiveness.  I remind them that forgiveness is for everyone.

Community Blog Online:  What have you learned about yourself since becoming involved with prison ministry?

Gregory Fake:  The men I have met in jails and prisons are so honest and open about their challenges.  They have taught me to face challenges in my own life with more honesty.

Community Blog Online:  How does this ministry help inmates deal with their criminal past?

Gregory Fake:  Forgiveness is a huge first step for inmates.  Once they accept that they are forgiven, they begin to move forward.

Community Blog Online:  Do inmates always continue on that path forward?

Gregory Fake:  Unfortunately, no.  I wish it were that easy.  It is painful to watch someone who has come so far, someone I have come to know and care about, fall back into addiction or criminal behavior.  But we are all human and setbacks are part of the plan, so I cannot let that deter me from my passion to serve the other inmates.

Gregory Fake lives with his wife and children in Florida.  Prior to becoming a television producer, Gregory Fake worked as a business consultant for Fortune 500 companies and as a banking attorney. 

The Popularity of Online Shopping is Down, Even Though Sales Are Up

In Personal on January 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

According to sales figures, more and more consumers spend dollars online, especially over the holidays. But there’s another side to that equation – the fact that more and more consumers are finding online shopping to be disappointing.

First off, though, the numbers. Online sales for Cyber Monday 2012 were up 17% and were extremely heavy on Thanksgiving as well as Black Friday. Also, online shopping increased approximately 15% over the holiday season and during 12 days of that season people spent over $1 billion dollars.

Even though the holidays have passed, people are still shopping and enjoying sales in the post-Christmas season. Part of that is because gift cards have increased in popularity as gifts. This has led retailers to expect that post-holiday shopping will continue through the middle of January at a minimum.

Even as more customers are shopping with their keyboards, however, large numbers of people are finding the experience unsatisfying. Although one of the biggest advantages of online shopping is that it saves a trip to the store, that doesn’t mean that avoiding a bricks and mortar experience is painless. Some of the problems that people reported this season were gifts that came unwrapped when consumers requested wrapping, cards from the recipients buried at the bottom of the box or simply not included, gifts that didn’t make it on time for Christmas, or the wrong gift was sent.

Complaints about online shopping weren’t just limited to incorrect orders. The Holiday E-Retail Shopping Index surveyed over 24,000 people and they were far from overjoyed by their experience. Online shopping rated only a 78 out of 100 points, which was down from 80 percent last year. Some retailers were singled out by name, like Fingerhut and Gilt, but consumers mostly seemed to have found the experience less satisfying overall.

Whether or not that will mean an uptick in sales for bricks and mortar retailers over the next holiday season is anyone’s guess. But it could make sense for them to try to capitalize on consumer’s online dissatisfaction.

Kavin Austin Blake Discusses Travel and Fishing

In Personal on January 7, 2013 at 5:58 am
Kavin Austin Blake

Kavin Austin Blake

For Kavin Austin Blake, there’s something profoundly relaxing about putting a fishing line in the water. The combination of sun, water, waves and anticipation hold a special allure for Kavin Austin Blake. It’s an anticipation that comes to fruition, when the line gives a hard jerk and a fish that weighs several hundred pounds starts running. That’s when Kavin Austin Blake comes to life and starts working the rod and reel in a fight of man against fish, a fight where there can only be one winner.

Kavin Austin Blake has played out this scenario in some of the most exciting locations on earth. It’s the passion and love of fishing that has taken Kavin Austin Blake to the coasts of California, the Florida Keys and Carolina. Not content to remain in the States, Kavin Austin Blake has also gone after oversize fish off the coast of Nova Scotia and British Columbia. It’s the combination of travel and fishing that Kavin Austin Blake finds so fulfilling and satisfying. Kavin Austin Blake loves to feel as though he’s one with nature when he’s on the fighting chair at the back of a deep sea boat, and the new locales and new cultures of travel help to open horizons for Kavin Austin Blake.

Kavin Austin Blake has a passion and a love for new places; after his return, he comes back to the everyday world fresher and more engaged. It’s almost a spiritual experience for Kavin Austin Blake, taking in the totality of a new place, with its people, cuisine, attitudes, music and culture. It’s this passion that is one of the first things that people notice about Kavin Austin Blake when they meet him. For some people, fishing may be a hobby or a pastime; for Kavin Austin Blake, it’s a big part of his reason for living. It’s the combination of adventure, travel, fishing and exploring that gives Kavin Austin Blake a positive approach to life and a broad-minded attitude toward so many things. Not everyone can claim his experiences, taking in some of the most exciting destinations on earth and reeling in 1000-pound fish along the way. That’s a rare combination, affirms Kavin Austin Blake, that can’t help but shape a person’s outlook and worldview in many diverse and interesting ways.

Mendel Mintz: Youth Activities at the New Chabad Jewish Community Center

In Personal, Professionals on November 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm
 Mendel Mintz


Mendel Mintz

Rabbi Mendel Mintz recently broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art Jewish community center in Aspen. The facility, which will be 35,000 square feet, will offer numerous amenities for Aspen residents, including a new synagogue and banquet hall. Recently, Mendel Mintz spoke with Presentation Solutions about how the new Chabad Community Center will serve youth in the area.

Presentation Solutions: What does a Chabad community center provide to the Jewish community in its local area?

Mendel Mintz: With more than six million Jews in this country, these Jewish community centers are more important than ever. They provide a place for people to gather and share their own stories, as well as learn and attend services and programs.

Presentation Solutions: They also provide a place for youth to hang out…

Mendel Mintz: Yes, that’s true. Our new Chabad Jewish Community Center in Aspen will offer a teen rec center and a preschool. This will not only give kids a place to hang out, but it will give parents a respite if they want to spend time interacting with other adults.

Presentation Solutions: Will you provide educational opportunities to children?

Mendel Mintz: The new facility will have a preschool. We’ll also have increased classroom space for our Hebrew School, which currently has an enrollment of 65.

Presentation Solutions: How often does the Hebrew School meet?

Mendel Mintz: Once each week during the school year. Classes are held after school, beginning at 3:30 p.m. and lasting only an hour and a half.

Presentation Solutions: How much does Hebrew School cost?

Mendel Mintz: $750 for the entire year.

Presentation Solutions: What does a student learn at Hebrew School?

Mendel Mintz: We cover a wide variety of topics, from Hebrew to the Torah to Jewish history. The goal is to make learning fun so children look forward to coming to class.

Presentation Solutions: You also offer special workshops for parents and children. Could you tell us a little about those?

Mendel Mintz: Sure. One of the workshops we’re offering now is the Mommy & Me program, which is geared toward children ages three and under and their mothers. Moms are allowed to interact with each other and children are able to do arts and crafts.

Presentation Solutions: How much does the Mommy & Me program cost?

Mendel Mintz: Only $10 per class and that includes snacks and craft materials.

Rabbi Mendel Mintz leads two services per week in the Chabad Community Center’s synagogue. For more information on Mendel Mintz and the Aspen Chabad Community Center, visit the center’s website at http://www.jccaspen.com.

 

How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Job Change?

In Personal on October 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

We’ve all been there before. If not, we know someone who has. We switch jobs and almost immediately regret the decision. By then it’s too late to eat crow and go back to the old job and if we decide to switch again, we’ll be labeled as a frequent job-changer.

For this reason, it’s important to do a full personal inventory before starting a job search. Here’s a checklist to help:

  • Layoffs are looming. If you have good reason to believe that your job may be downsized, it’s definitely time to start putting résumés out there.
  • The money is insufficient. Unfortunately, sometimes even in a job you love, you may find that the money or benefits do not meet your family’s needs. At that point, since the needs of your family come first, you may not have a choice, even if it means landing in a job that isn’t exactly your first choice.
  • The job is too consuming. The opposite of the money problem is an “overwork” problem. If your boss expects you to work 24/7 to the detriment of your family, it may be time to reevaluate. Even if a job change means a slight cut in pay, family should always come first.
  • Work is excruciating. If you find yourself filled with dread on your morning drive to work, it may be time to think about looking for a new job. While most people frequently have a “case of the Mondays,” severe dislike of one’s job is unhealthy. Life is too short to live that way forever.
  • Your company has ethical issues. In some cases, management is doing things that are either illegal or against an employee’s moral values. In this case, you probably already have your résumé out there. Be cautioned that you could be held legally responsible for the things you do, even if your boss demands you do them or risk being fired.

While a person is never guaranteed a better opportunity with a job change, in some cases things can only get better. Don’t let fear hold you back. Just make sure you’re switching for the right reasons.

Traveling to Italy

In Personal, Travel on August 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm
Kyle Thomas Glasser

Kyle Thomas Glasser

Kyle Thomas Glasser has grown up with a lot of talent and with great plans to fulfill his dreams. Kyle is a medical student who loves music and especially the piano. He has won an award in playing the piano and this is why he has plans and hopes of going to Italy. He has picked a few places that he will visit in Italy while still holding his quest to succeed in his medical career.

Kyle wishes to visit La Fenice in Italy where he feels that the people have done a lot in building their music. This music hall has burnt down twice and they worked hard to rebuild the place. Being a music fan, Kyle feels that there plenty of history and music lessons that one would benefit from visiting this place. It is an amazing structure that has been built with a lot of architectural design and Kyle says that he has to see it one day.

The next place that Kyle plans to see is the Regio Torino. This building was also damaged by fire and then it was rebuilt and still stands tall. This was a very tragic disaster that happened in Italy but it has now come back with a lot of power. The Regio Torino is a theater that people gather as professionals play music, theatrical plays and even the famous classic operas. Kyle is very keen to see all these events because he loves them all with one breath.

Kyle also wants to see the San Carlo which is known as the oldest opera building throughout Italy. This is the house where the very first ballet presentation was done and this is still very memorable. The museum is being built and soon it will be complete and Kyle can view all the classic operas and music events as they happened. This is a place with the most beautiful comedy and it is as old as 1737.

Massimo is another beautiful place that Kyle intends to visit. The place holds different cultural events of Sicily and this part of the music in Italy today. The cultures mix from Arabic to Spanish and even Italian.

Kyle Thomas Glasser also plans to see the Arena di Verona where he believes he will find history and a connection to music. Kyle knows that these places are his dreams but he knows that through his medical career he will be able to fulfill his dreams.

God’s Luv International Ministries Church: The Dimension of Power

In Information, Personal on July 12, 2012 at 5:56 am
God's Luv International Ministries Church

God’s Luv International Ministries Church

God’s Luv International Ministries Church is a successful ministry in Reston, Virginia, where two weekly services attract worshippers who share in Pastor Pierre Bennett’s commitment to helping followers of God’s Word throughout the world. Dr. Bennett founded God’s Luv International Ministries Church in response to a vision he received while in church on Easter Sunday.

Today, the leader of God’s Luv International Ministries Church talks to Presentation Solutions about the importance of making mistakes in order to learn from them and become a better person.

Presentation Solutions: One of your more recent sermons centered on Proverbs 12:1. Could you describe what it was in that particular section of Proverbs that spoke to you?

Dr. Pierre Bennett: I chose Proverbs 12:1 because, as I told my God’s Luv International Ministries Church congregation, this scripture states that he who loves instruction loves knowledge, while he who hates correction is stupid. I wanted the God’s Luv International Ministries Church members to understand that it is through our mistakes—through being corrected on our mistakes—that we truly gain wisdom.

Presentation Solutions:  Many people believe that simply doing what God wants them to do will bring them unlimited blessings, but as you emphasize, that isn’t the case.

Dr. Pierre Bennett: Both at God’s Luv International Ministries Church, as well as my work throughout the world, I regularly meet people who ask why God is so concerned about us being pure of heart. To the brothers and sisters at God’s Luv International Ministries Church as well as others who ask, I always emphasize that God wants us to operate on three dimensions.

Presentation Solutions: What happens when someone flows in all three dimensions?

Dr. Pierre Bennett: As my God’s Luv International Ministries Church congregation has found, once you’ve achieved all three dimensions, you have unlimited power.

Presentation Solutions: You also teach about how someone can come back from a difficult life where maybe they’ve made some mistakes.

Dr. Pierre Bennett: This is so true. I know people at God’s Luv International Ministries Church who come from varying backgrounds. Some of our God’s Luv International Ministries Church members were saved at a very young age and followed God all their lives. Some came to Him later, after a lifetime of feeling like something was missing. And many of God’s Luv International Ministries Church’s members came to faith out of a deep need for salvation.

Presentation Solutions:  This is the correction mentioned in Psalms?

Dr. Pierre Bennett: Yes, many of those who attend God’s Luv International Ministries Church have listened to the correction that came our way over the years and changed our ways. While it’s a blessing to have been in church from a very young age, God’s Luv International Ministries Church recognizes this isn’t the case for everyone and honors that.

Presentation Solutions: Have you found those who come to God later in life are more fervent in their faith?

Dr. Pierre Bennett: It’s puzzling to me, but I have found that. God’s Luv International Ministries Church welcomes everyone. Whether they are new to faith or have been sitting in the second or third pew their entire lives; they’ll feel at home at God’s Luv International Ministries Church. I have found, though, that those who come to their faith at a later point in life seem to have more of a fire in them. It seems like so many of them want it so badly; they go after it with a passion.

For more information about God’s Luv International Ministries Church, please call (703) 395-1430.

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