Dear TLTA members,

As we’ve settled into our new routines, it’s increasingly apparent that we’re in this for the long haul. While our economy shows faint signs of its former vigor, until there’s a vaccine, the things we took for granted in our professional lives—travel, in-person meetings, get-togethers with clients and associates— will remain the exceptions to the rule. “Virtual reality” has set in. 
Last week, while shopping for my family at HEB, I paused to reflect and look around. They were operating at 25% capacity with stickers marking where you should stand and huge plastic shields separating us from the cashiers. Masked customers and staff moved around uncomfortably while a message on the intercom repeatedly announced that we can all fight coronavirus in Texas together. It felt unreal and terribly real at the same time. While I frequently hear people say “I feel like I’m living in a sci-fi movie,” this sci-fi experience is now our ongoing reality. Clearly things have changed, and we have adapted. 
What we’ve all had to do—whether we’re shopping for food, working at home, closing transactions, or advocating for our industry—is find new ways to get the job done. And most of those new solutions are either remote or virtual.   
For TLTA, that’s meant working with the governor on emergency approval for the temporary use of remote ink-signed notarizations, developing our collection of operational best practices and safe closing protocols, growing our catalog of digital closing resources, helping title professionals connect to our online educational programs, and more. 
And, we’ve found a way to make sure our crucial annual conference will continue this year – virtually! That means we’ll still have the opportunity to network and grow our professional connections, share the lessons learned and best practices developed as we’ve continued doing business in a challenging marketplace, learn about the latest products and services from vendors, earn continuing education credits, and more. Importantly, the traditions and ceremony that have held this association together for more than 100 years will continue. Honored leaders and volunteers will take the stage, the gavel will be passed, and a celebration of our profession will bring us together in a way we will never forget.
The dates for our 2020 Virtual Annual Conference are now finalized—July 13-16—and registration will be up and running later this week. Mark your calendars, please; I’m eager to connect with you there.
In closing, and on a personal note, while I have always maintained that focus on hard work, devotion to family, and devotion to our trade are the qualities that make our industry unique, our new virtual reality has led me deeper. 
Finding ways to help has become an important measurement of success. How can I help develop ways to work from home, or work safely with others when it is necessary to do so? How can I help my family thrive in this challenging environment? How can my company and TLTA be put to work to help the members of our title community move forward?
Doing the right thing should always be paramount, in my opinion, but sometimes it takes interesting times to test our assumptions. I’m proud to report that our membership is united more than ever before, and we're all doing our part to help make our new virtual reality as productive and healthy as possible.
I can’t wait to see you at conference in July!

Michael C. Savas, CTIP
Texas Land Title Association