As founder and CEO of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, Steve Jacobson oversees and directs all business operations for the company’s full-service mortgage lending operation. Steve founded Fairway in April of 1996, and within five years, he grew the company to achieve over $1 billion in closed annual loans. Prior to establishing Fairway, he held several executive positions at another mortgage company. As Senior Vice President, he was responsible for production levels between $225 and $250 million, and as National Sales Director, he was responsible for negotiating placements of in-house Loan Officers in real estate offices nationwide. A Wisconsin native, Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in management from the University of Wisconsin. He is also the former captain of the University of Wisconsin basketball team where he played for four years and achieved All Academic Big Ten his graduating year.
Sarah Middleton has worked in the mortgage industry as an Originator, Branch Manager and Regional Manager. As an Originator, Sarah holds the record for the most volume and units closed in Colorado as an individual Loan Officer, closing over $2 billion and 11,500 units in her career. In her dual role as Branch Manager and Regional Manager, Sarah maintained a $50+ million per month branch production while simultaneously opening several branches that resulted in a $2 billion regional annual loan volume. Sarah joined Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation in 2013 to help grow the company and take Fairway to the next level in mortgage banking. Sarah’s passion is to help Loan Officers and Branch Managers succeed and achieve their dreams in the mortgage business by sharing everything she has learned.
Len Krupinski offers extensive mortgage and financial industry experience. Having been with Fairway since 1998, he oversees the finance and accounting functions for the company. Prior to joining Fairway, Len worked as a revenue agent for the federal government.
Scott Fletcher supervises the credit risk, collateral risk and compliance departments, including the retail and wholesale underwriting channels. Scott and his team are responsible for creating and communicating policies, procedures, and controls for underwriting and compliance to Fairway employees. A former President of the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Scott has extensive experience in the mortgage industry in origination, credit risk, secondary marketing, and compliance.
Paul Walnick oversees the business development at Fairway. Prior to joining Fairway, Paul had extensive mortgage experience, including a district management position, as well as Loan Officer, regional, and branch management positions. Paul began his career in the financial industry as a CPA. He received a Master of Business Administration from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY in Binghamton, New York.
Drawing on experience in mortgage lending, secondary marketing, risk management, and capital markets, Mike Blake oversees and directs the secondary marketing operations as President of Capital Markets at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Throughout his career, he has managed mortgage pipeline interest rate risk, trading, hedging, pooling, loan and servicing sales, pricing, margin management, lock desk, investor relations, product development, and agency delivery. Prior to joining Fairway, Mike was the Vice President of Secondary Marketing at a $17 billion multi-bank holding company based in Chicago, IL. Additionally, he was the First Vice President of Secondary Marketing at an $11 billion bank based in Clarendon Hills, IL. Mike has previously served as a member of the Fannie Mae Secondary Marketing Advisory Committee and on the Illinois Mortgage Bankers Association Secondary Marketing Committee. Mike graduated from the University of Dayton (BS, Finance, 1997), and received an MBA from DePaul University (Finance, 2004).
Todd Gavinski oversees the branch financials and works directly with Branch Managers to establish their Loan Officer compensation plans. Todd joined Fairway in 2002 as a Loan Officer until 2005. He transitioned to a bank to be Market President of the Portage, WI and Reedsburg, WI locations where he focused on commercial lending. In 2007, Todd rejoined Fairway as Vice President of Accounting. Prior to joining Fairway, he was an auditor for full-service accounting and advisory firms.
Paola Kielblock manages the product department for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. This includes the product support team, bond and housing team, product development team, broker department, renovation team, product training team, and regional products team. Paola has extensive experience in the mortgage lending community, which includes working as an Operations Manager for a broker firm in Calabasas, CA overseeing production and day-to-day operations. Paola’s goals are to help the company grow organically by ensuring the right and responsible products are available to the Loan Officers in the network.
As the head of human resources and the learning & development department, Julie Fry brings a wealth of knowledge gained through her years of experience in the HR profession, ensuring the organizational strategy is tied to business strategy. Julie and her teams work closely with department leaders to create synergies and drive the organization’s nontraditional work environment and a culture that sets Fairway apart from others. Julie’s areas of expertise include strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, leadership coaching, organizational development and training, talent acquisition and retention, compensation and benefits, performance management, career and succession planning, and change management. Prior to joining Fairway, Julie was part of several successful teams in multiple industries, including insurance, financial services, and healthcare.
Eric Brown joined Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation in March of 2012. He has been in the mortgage industry for multiple decades, predominantly on the retail production side. Eric assisted in building a $3 billion servicing portfolio at a previous company. Eric then joined another mortgage company as a Midwest Regional Manager for 15 years, assisting in both Retail and Wholesale Lending. Eric is currently managing the business development team for Fairway. In this role, he assists both new and existing Branch Managers in their growth opportunities, financial management, and operations efficiencies. By working with retail managers and their teams, his passion and goal is to create more successful and sustainable branch profit and productivity.
Randy Allen joined Fairway in 2004 and has held several leadership roles in Fairway’s IT department. During this time, Randy has helped create successful teams in support, infrastructure, and facilities that have allowed Fairway to be one of the fastest growing mortgage firms in the U.S. Prior to joining Fairway, Randy held senior technical management and consulting roles, which led to his becoming the director of a reputable information technology company, where he was responsible for all aspects of their technology. Randy is a graduate of Southern Methodist University School of Engineering’s ATEC program and holds advanced certifications from Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and ISC2’s CISSP security accreditation.
As the head of Fairway operations, Tom Dixon oversees national operations, which include closing/funding, warehouse and wires, shipping, and government insuring. Tom and his team ensure that every loan is processed and closed in accordance with all government and investor requirements while meeting Fairway’s standards for timeliness and quality. He also works closely with department leaders to create and implement company policies and procedures. Tom brings a wealth of knowledge gained throughout his decades of experience in mortgage banking, which includes leadership roles at multiple mortgage companies.
As the Chief Risk Officer, John Hotchkiss oversees Enterprise Risk, Operational Risk, Quality Control, Internal Audit, Reporting and Analytics, and Risk Management. John and his team ensure that Fairway monitors and mitigates any risk that may challenge the company. He also works very closely with department leaders to create, align, and implement company policies and procedures. John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise gained throughout his decades of experience in the mortgage industry. This includes 17 years at a government-sponsored mortgage enterprise in various roles, including credit risk, multicultural lending, and marketing. He also served as an ombudsman to the National Bankers Association. John started in the industry at the age of 15, working at his father’s mortgage brokerage firm in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
Since joining Fairway in 2014, Clay has served as Creative Director, VP of Marketing, SVP of Marketing, and now Chief Marketing Officer.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Clay utilizes experience in marketing, creative direction, and design while working alongside an extremely talented group of designers, writers, and support team members. During Clay's time at Fairway, the Marketing team has unveiled Fairway's current logo, engaged in national branding efforts, launched Fairway’s website, and helped many people along the way by providing speed, service, and satisfaction on a daily basis.
Clay is a proud graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and an avid Dallas sports fan.
As Chief Compliance Officer, Trista Mayer manages the corporate compliance team, which oversees regulatory compliance, policy and procedures, HMDA, state examinations, and licensing for Fairway. When she joined Fairway in July 2013, Trista served as Vice President of Regulatory Compliance, and in July 2015 was named Chief Compliance Officer. With extensive experience in the financial services industry, Trista has a balanced approach for evaluating and mitigating compliance risk. Her knowledge of compliance, as well as her technical and operational competencies, has been instrumental in strengthening and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Fairway’s compliance program. Trista was also awarded Mortgage Compliance Magazine’s Mortgage Compliance Professional of the Month in December of 2015.
Ron Kluk joined Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation in 2010 to assist in starting up the Wholesale division. With vast mortgage industry experience, he has held positions in origination, processing, underwriting, and processing and underwriting management. Following his passion to improve automation and efficiencies, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems and joined Fairway’s IT team as a Project Manager and Business Analyst. Ron has led the company’s IT efforts for TRID, ECOA, HMDA, and NMLS reporting and has managed the LOS upgrades and enhancements.
Elizabeth Steinhaus oversees the legal function and serves as legal advisor to the Executive and Sales Management teams. She entered the financial services industry in 1999 as an associate attorney for a business-boutique law firm in Chicago, working with clients in the securities industry. She then spent time as general counsel for a broker-dealer and investment advisory firm. Elizabeth has since spent 15 years in the mortgage industry, 14 of which have been with Fairway. Elizabeth earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and she is currently admitted to the Wisconsin and Illinois Bars.