Aaron Davis started in the title business from the ground up – literally. At age nine, he was pulling staples out of the carpet at Hillsborough Title, his mother’s title agency.
Thirty years later, he’s running one of the nation’s largest independent title agencies with 200 employees, five in-house attorneys, new headquarters under construction in Plant City, and revenues nearing $20 million.
But it hasn’t been an easy ride. By 2008, when he officially took over the reins, the recession had hit the real estate market hard. “We were lean and mean and could batten down the hatches, so the recession turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to us,” he said. “We were able to open new offices even as other companies were still going out of business.”
By 2012, when Davis met Vistage Chair Mack DeVine, Hillsborough Title had grown from 30 employees to 60 in just three months. “I knew I needed help, even though I didn’t know much about Vistage.”
And while Hillsborough Title didn’t meet Vistage’s revenue requirements at the time, DeVine saw the potential and invited Davis to join. “He was so enthusiastic and had so much talent, I knew this guy was going places.”
As part of Vistage, Davis has continued to grow his title agency into something much larger. He created the Florida Agency Network (FAN), which consists of multiple title agencies and back office service units, an IT/managed service company, and several more entities related to the real estate settlement services arena. The expanded offerings allow FAN to expand more strategically, with a strong focus on keeping the roots, values and cultures that helped it grow from the beginning. “I trust that I can go to my Vistage group with any issue and they will come back with the best advice for me,” Davis said.
Vistage also helped Davis realize that partnerships could be just as profitable as equity ownership’s in other title agencies. “The smaller agencies need help dealing with layers of compliance and operational issues,” he said. “FAN can provide everything from IT solutions to settlement services for title agencies.”
“I trust that I can go to my Vistage group with any issue and
they will come back with the best advice for me.”
As the company grew Davis listened to colleagues and mentors and finally accepted the recommendation that he take advantage of the brainpower available through a Vistage group and its Chair.
“Besides marrying my wife, joining Vistage was the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” he says.