40 years and counting ...
By RACHEL BRANT
Central Kitsap Reporter Staff writer
November 7, 2008 · Updated 3:55 PM
Land Title Company celebrates its 40th anniversary this week.
Land Title Company President and CEO Gene Kennedy remembers when he used to write policies by hand.
Now, after 40 years in business, the roughly 50 Land Title Company employees use the latest and greatest technology to serve thousands of customers.
“We had the first fax machine in Kitsap County,” Kennedy said. “We were actually sending faxes for United Airlines.”
Land Title Company celebrated its 40th anniversary this week and Kennedy said that’s quite an accomplishment because “most small businesses don’t survive past 30 years.”
Kennedy has been president and CEO of Land Title Company for 36 years and credits the company’s staff with its continued success.
“We’ve been able to survive thanks to our staff,” he said. “We’ve got some of the best staff in the county.”
Susan Larsen, with Land Title Company business development, said the title and escrow business tends to have a high employee turnover rate, but Land Title Company employees have worked for the company for 15, 20, even 25 years.
“It really is a company that wants stability,” she said. “Not only have we done something right with our consumers, but we’re doing right by our employees.”
“Our philosophy has been to take care of our employees and they’ll in turn take care of our customers,” Kennedy added.
Land Title Company is a locally owned and operated title insurance agent. The three-story Land Title Professional Building in Silverdale houses Land Title Company’s corporate headquarters as well as Kitsap County’s title and escrow services. Additional escrow offices are in Port Orchard, Shelton and Belfair and title services for Mason County are in Shelton.
“It’s a steady market right now, but you wouldn’t believe it from what you see on TV,” Larsen said. “We’ve been lucky, we’ve been very steady this year.”
Larsen said Land Title Company is one of the few locally owned, private shareholders operations in the nation. Land Title Company has about 200 shareholders.
“There’s probably no more than five (other similar businesses) in the entire country,” Kennedy said.
Land Title Company opened near downtown Bremerton in 1968, but moved to the current Silverdale location in 1997. Kennedy said the company’s customers and competitors started relocating to Silverdale, so Land Title Company followed suit.
The business also participates in community events like Relay for Life and Armed Forces Day. Land Title Company also started its own charitable event, the Bellringer Golf Classic Charity Golf Tournament, which will celebrate its 20th year in December. Proceeds from the event go to The Bellringer, which provides food for local food banks.
“You’ve got 40 years in business and 20 years with a charity, that’s remarkable,” Larsen said.
Kennedy said Land Title Company is “very ethical” and the company’s staff is what makes the business survive and thrive year after year.
“We have really the top people in the industry working here,” he said. “We pride ourselves with having the most efficient and professional people in the field.”