The Energetic Eighties – A Cruise through Common Ground

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July 21, 2011

in Back Title

by Katherine McKay, CLTP, former Administrator of PLTI and Executive Vice President of PLTA

Do you remember the ‘80s?  Ginormous shoulder pads for women that made them look like NFL linebackers in drag.  Waiting all summer to find out who shot J.R. Ewing on Dallas.  Ronald Reagan in the White House and Mikhail Gorbachev ruling Russia. Personal computers that took up serious real estate on your desk.  Car phones the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread.  Mortgage interest rates at 17%. The real estate crash.  Title companies contracting – oh, wait, is that now?  Ah, the 80’s.

And what was PLTA doing through all this?  These were fertile years for the association with significant achievements, all told by one of the PLTA’s most visible successes, Common Ground. Here’s a brief tour through the 80s issues.

June 1980:

The inaugural issue of Common Ground reports on the coming convention.  Included on the agenda is a presentation by James Rosenstein, Esq., then of Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen (R.I.P.), on what the Common Ground editor calls “condo-mania,” which is termed “rampant across the state.”  Mr. Rosenstein is one of the drafters of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act.

August 1981

Edward Schmidt, PLTI Administrator, announces that the Evening School would hold its First Year of Studies at the PSFS Building in Philadelphia, the Second Year of Studies at Bartley Hall on the Villanova University campus, and the Third Year of Studies at the Holiday Inn on City Line, Philadelphia.  The Evening School continues to this day in various formats and locations.

November 1983

Common Ground becomes a four-page newspaper for the first time, previously having been a single double-sided sheet of news.

  • Herb Walton announces the concept of awarding a CLTP (Certified Land Title Professional) designation, working with the Professional Designation Board of Review, the PLTI, the PLTA PR committee, and the Executive Committee.  The first awards would be given in 1986.
  • The Plain Language Consumer Bill is working its way through the PA legislature.  It is noted that a PA trial judge (unnamed) had said, “The trouble with plain English is that it is akin to truth: always devoutly sought, rarely (if ever) seen, and subject to many opinions about what it really is.”

November 1984

J. William Cotter, Jr., then president of T.A. Title Insurance Company and in 1990 to be PLTA president, announces a new member drive to include agents, prompted by changes in the PLTA by-laws, to give “greater recognition to agents and their contribution to the association.”

May 1985

Herb Walton announces a new designation, the ALTP, the Associate Land Title Professional, to recognize people earlier in their careers than CLTPs but with “a professional attitude and dedication” to the industry.

June 1986

The first CLTPs are awarded to Marvin New, Albert Pentecost, James G. Schmidt, and Edward Schmidt.  The first ALTPs are Frank Cozzo and James Kilgallon.

April 1987

  • The by-laws are amended to allow an Organizational Meeting of PLTA officers and chairmen to take place soon after the Annual Meeting, proving that there is indeed a method to their madness.

Spring/Summer 1989

Then PLTA president Sam Musser observes that “PLTA and PLTI is in a state of transition” as Al Pentecost and Ed Schmidt both give notice to retire at the end of the year, “two people,” Sam says, who were “prime movers and shakers during a particularly strong period in the history of both organizations.”

Winter 1989

PLTI celebrates “A Decade of Service” at a luncheon given at the then Hershey Hotel in Philadelphia.  Guest speaker is Peter Liacouras, who is president of Temple University at that time.  Albert Gibboni, then PLTA president and later Chairman of the Board of Trustees of PLTI, presides over the well-attended affair.  First instructor of the Evening School, Sebastian Rainone, Esq. is a guest.

Every decade has its triumphs and troubles, some more markedly than others.  PLTA has had tumultuous years among the more placid, years of great change and years of significant progress.  And assuredly, someday someone will write about the current decade if they can keep their tears in check and their perspective firmly fastened onto a rosier future.

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