We are very pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Carl R. Ernst Scholarship Awards. Each year, Ernst provides two of these awards to deserving industry professionals. The awards pay one year’s dues in the Public Records Industry Association (PRIA) as well as the registration fee for one PRIA conference. The news was first announced in the PRIA newsletter
To be eligible, applicants must not have previously been members of PRIA and must demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in their chosen fields, activity within their communities, and service consistent with PRIA’s values.
PRIA develops and promotes national standards and best practices for the land records industry. The organization strives to identify areas of consensus within the industry, leading to recommendations for national standards pertaining to recordable documents.
This year’s recipients are both County Recorders.
Erin Niemi is the recording deputy for Okanogon County, WA. Niemi worked in the private sector of the land records industry before moving to the public sector. Niemi’s history of referencing property records using all available means — from technology to file drawers to index books — provides her a clear view of the way changing technologies transform the accessibility of property records.
Niemi discovered PRIA's resources when she came across the PRIA white paper on "Access to and Sale of Records in Bulk.” She has since reached out to PRIA in a collaboration that has given her new confidence in her role as the custodian of public records.
Tyson Fettes, register of deeds in Racine County, WI, is the second recipient of this year’s Ernst Scholarship. Fettes has previously presented on creating GIS maps to assist local users and government agencies at a PRIA webinar and has been a guest speaker at several PRIA conferences.
Fettes is also President of the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association and has served on his local town board. His work integrating recorders information with the county GIS application has been nationally recognized. He was also asked to testify in Washington before the Ways and Means Commission in June 2018, explaining the value of GIS and land records.
Carl R. Ernst founded Ernst Publishing Company in 1989 and began growing it into what is now the leading provider of technology and closing cost data for the real estate and home finance industries for the past 29 years. Throughout his professional life, he was an active promoter of the industry and led his company to be a founding member of PRIA.
Congratulations to this year’s winners.