Ken Bennett was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer to replace her as Secretary of State, and took the oath of office on January 26, 2009.
The statewide office is the newest chapter in a record of public service that spans 25 years. It’s also the latest distinction for Bennett — an Arizona native and small-business owner.
Bennett began his legislative career in 1998 when he was elected to represent the residents of Legislative District 1. He served four terms in the state Senate —from 1999 to 2007 — and served as Senate president his final four years before being term-limited from office.
Earlier, in 2007, Bennett received the Polly Rosenbaum Award from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records in recognition of his support for the State Library’s mission to preserve Arizona history and ensure access to state information and records. He served as Republican Floor Leader in 2002, and was Chairman of the Senate Education Committee in 2001 and 2002.
Prior to joining the Legislature, Bennett was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education for seven years. He was president of the board in 1996 and 1998. Bennett also served on the Arizona Charter Schools Board for three years, and was a founding member of the Education Leaders Council in Washington, D.C.
Bennett’s career in public service began in 1985 with his election to the Prescott City Council. He completed a four-year term, and was named mayor pro-tempore in 1988.
After leaving the Legislature, Bennett re-entered the private sector to work with companies in the development of alternative energy sources and energy-efficient building technologies. Currently, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Prescott-based Global Building Systems, Inc., and Energy Tech America. He also is a member of the board of directors for Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Western Regional Medical Center, in Goodyear). Bennett was CEO of Bennett Oil Company, a family fuel-distribution business, from 1985 to 2006. He continues on its board of directors.
An Eagle Scout and fan of sports and music, Bennett is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. From 1978 to 1980, he was an LDS missionary in southern Japan.
Bennett was born in Tucson in 1959, graduated from Arizona State University in 1984 with an accounting degree and now resides in Phoenix with his wife, Jeanne Tenney Bennett. They have three grown children — Ryan, Dana and Clif — and two grandsons.
Co-Owner, River Pools and Sales, Founder, The Sales Lion
In 2001 and fresh out of college, Marcus Sheridan stumbled across his first business with two friends and began installing swimming pools out of the back of a beat-up pickup truck. Nine years later, and with the help of incredible innovations through inbound and content marketing, Sheridan’s company overcame the collapse of the housing market and became one of the largest pool installers in the U.S. Today, Sheridan has the most visited swimming pool website in the world: www.RiverPoolsandSpas.com.
With such success, in late 2009, Sheridan started his sales, marketing, and personal development blog, The Sales Lion, and has since grown that brand to be synonymous with inbound and content marketing excellence. As a result, Sheridan was featured in multiple industry publications, including the New York Times, where he was referred to as a “web marketing guru.” Today, when s Sheridan is not giving riveting and passion-filled keynotes around the globe or consulting with businesses and brands, he generally finds himself on an adventure with his wife and four children.
Group Vice President, ValuAmerica, Inc.
Danielle Trenney’s career in the real estate industry began in 2005 in new construction, and eventually led to her joining ValuAmerica in 2009 where she currently serves as the Group Vice President over National Valuation Services, and the Information Technology Coordinator. Trenney also fills contributing roles in vendor management, technology development, sales and marketing.
A commissioned Notary Public in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an accredited Notary Signing Agent (NSA) through the National Notary Association, Trenney holds an Associate of Arts in Political Science and Economics, and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Her personal interests include photography, gardening, traveling, woodworking and professional cooking. Trenney enjoys attending her son’s hockey games and participating in charitable activities that support the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the active and retired members of the United States Armed Forces.
Title & Closing Executive, LandSafe Closing Services, a Bank of America Company
Alan Frelix is the Title & Closing Executive for LandSafe Closing Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America. In his role, Frelix provides title and closing services to Bank of America Centralized and Distributed Originations, U.S. Trust Mortgage, and Servicing partners through either an in-house production agency, or the National Title Platform – a managed network of title and closing providers.
With 20 years of experience in financial and business services, Frelix previously held the position of Managing Director of Strategic Planning for legacy Countrywide overseeing their corporate and divisional strategic planning processes and led a strategy and analysis team managing multiple projects including new business analysis and recommendations, new revenue and fee income opportunity assessment, and customer segment and channel analysis.
Executive Vice President, Mortgage Connect, LP
Cristy A. Ward is Chief Strategy Officer at Mortgage Connect, LP, a nationwide provider of Closing & Escrow, Title, and Default solutions.
Ward has 19 years industry experience working with the top ten lenders to develop strategy, product solutions and streamline processes to maximize operational efficienShehas earned a reputation as a problem-solver who develops innovative, tailored solutions to manage today's complex problems, including managing capacity, improving quality, keeping abreast of regulatory standards, improving loan transparency and meeting the challenges of shifting to the centralization of vendors for third party oversight.
Ward has held key leadership positions with noteworthy companies including Stewart Title. Prior to Mortgage Connect, she was the Executive Vice President of Sales at leading Vendor Management Company, where she developed new business models and supporting infrastructure that led her team to triple the company’s new sales volume and played a pivotal role in the company’s sale to an Investment Group in 2011.
Having served on numerous industry panels, Ward is an expert in Title Insurance & Closing Models as well as regulatory policies and procedures. Her achievements have been recognized through several awards including the prestigious MBA Doc Jore Award for Excellent Service.
Director of Government Filings, Office of the Texas Secretary of State
Danette “Dani” Overstreet has served as the team lead of the Notary Public Unit in the Office of the Texas Secretary of State for the past five years. In this capacity, she oversees the processing of Notary applications for all Texas Notaries Public.
Overstreet's professional background includes service in the United States Army as a chemical operational specialist and Army recruiter, as well as experience as a legal assistant.
In 2009, Overstreet received her Paralegal Certification from South Plains College in Lubbock, Texas and Bachelor of Arts in 2013 from Saint Edwards University in Austin, Texas.
Chief Technology Officer, DocVerify
Mr. Mayer is an industry specialist in security, electronic signatures, and electronic notarizations. He was one of the leading architects that designed, patented, and built the leading technology that is at the foundation of DocVerify. He has over 25 years of experience, beginning as a teenager in the field of computing science, advanced programming, and infrastructure architecture. Prior to DocVerify, Mayer was a strategic architect for well-known companies such as Ameriquest, and a number of technology based start-ups prior to that. He is a seasoned entrepreneur — an innovator that is visionary on the trends that shape consumers embracing the electronic world.
Director of Business Services, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office
Joann Arellano was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. As a single parent, she raised her only son, is a grandmother of a beautiful granddaughter and still considers herself to be a newlywed after three years of marriage.
Arellano has served the Great State of Arizona for 21 years, working her way up from a clerk at Department of Revenue to her current position as the Director of Business Services at the Secretary of State’s Officeresponsible for the oversight of all Business Filings including Trade names, Trademarks, Partnerships, UCC Financing statements, Notary Commissions, Advanced Directives and other miscellaneous filings. Her memberships include the National Association of Secretaries of State Notary Public Administrators and International Association of Commercial Administrators.
An avid hiker, Arellano enjoys exploring the trails of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves and also volunteers for a non-profit dog rescue organization that helps to educate dog owners on the importance of dog rescue and spaying and neutering our pets.
Notary Program Administrator, Office of the Montana Secretary of State
Lori Hamm joined the Montana Secretary of State's office in 2004, soon after which she produced the Montana Notary Public Handbook, a desktop resource distributed to every Notary in the state. Subsequently, the Secretary authorized her to create and conduct the first state sponsored Notary training programs. Hamm has provided hundreds of live Notary training classes throughout Montana, in addition to instituting a process for certifying private sector businesses as qualified Notary trainers.
Prior to her work in the Secretary of State's office, Hamm was a lobbyist for several Montana professional organizations, a Director of Government Affairs for a regional medical transportation company in Oregon and Washington, and a paralegal for a large litigation research firm in Portland.
Director, Graduate Estate Planning Programs and Associate Director, Graduate Tax Law Programs, The John Marshall Law School
Since 1978, Malcolm Morris has held various positions on the faculty and administration at the North Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb. After two terms as an associate dean, most recently from 2003-2007, he was interim dean in 2008.
Before joining NIU, Professor Morris served as counsel with Coordinated Financial Programming in Chicago and was an attorney with the IRS’ Estate & Gift Tax Division, also in Chicago. He was previously a visiting professor in 1989, at the University Of Tennessee College Of Law in Knoxville.
Professor Morris has published and lectured extensively, and is an expert on notarial law. His teaching interests are trusts and estates, estate planning, property, federal taxation, and electronic commerce. At John Marshall, he teaches Estates and Trusts and Agency.
Director of Division of Business Services
Office of the Rhode Island Secretary of State
Maureen Ewing joined the Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State in 1993, as an administrative assistant. Since 2006 she has served as the Director of the Division of Business Services overseeing the Business Filing Section, Uniform Commercial Code Section, Trademark/Service Mark Section, Notary Public Section and the First Stop Business Information Center.
In addition to being an active member of the International Association of Commercial Administrators (IACA), Ewing is a member of the Notary Public Administrators (NPA), a staff section of the National Association of Secretaries of State, where she serves as Vice President. Ewing also served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the 2012 Special Commission meeting on the practical operation of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention).
A 1990 graduate of Katherine Gibbs School, Ewing resides in Smithfield, Rhode Island with her husband Frederick of 23 years and their three adult children Andrew, Caitlyn and Rebecca.
Professor Emeritus of Law, The John Marshall Law School
Michael Closen is the primary author of Notary Law & Practice: Cases and Materials — one of the definitive publications on notarization and Notary law and the only book on common law notarization ever used as a law school text.
The respected law professor is one of the nation’s leading legal scholars on notarization, having authored numerous penetrating articles on the role of the Notary Public in modern American life. Closen has also served as an expert witness in Notary-related cases throughout the U.S.
Closen’s contributions as a lecturer, panelist and author have helped foster unity and professionalism among Notaries and immeasurably advanced scholarship on the subject of notarization. An attorney for more than 30 years and a Notary himself, Closen’s accomplishments include serving as a leading member of drafting committees for the Model Notary Acts of 2002 and 2010 and the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility.
Nancy G. Pratt
Director of Strategy, Stewart Title Co.
Nancy G. Pratt is the Director of Strategy for Stewart Title Co. She is responsible for strategic planning to develop, promote and sell eMortgage solutions throughout the title agent network, as well as the lender segment of the industry. Pratt heads up direct sales of Stewart’s eClosing Room technology and eMortgage solutions to potential distribution partners.
Responsible for bringing the very first complete eMortgage to Stewart Title Co., Pratt recently eClosed the first FHA loan in the industry.
Pratt has been in the mortgage and mitle industry for 32 years, and is a member of the eMortgage FNMA innovation team, MISMO, PRIA, MBA and ALTA.
Executive Vice President, ValuAmerica
Shawn Murphy is Executive Vice President of ValuAmerica, Inc. where she is responsible for the overall performance of the company by setting the strategic direction, along with managing the business development, operations and compliance divisions.
A commissioned Notary Public in the state of Ohio and an accredited Notary signing agent (NSA) through the NNA, Murphy is actively involved with the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association and the Signing Professionals Workgroup.
Before being appointed Executive Vice President of ValuAmerica, Murphy served four years as the company’s Director of National Sales, with responsibilities for product development and strategic sales for ValuNet xsp, valuation, title and settlement services.
Prior to joining ValuAmerica in 2006, Murphy served as a Special Agent in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University.
Murphy is actively involved in his community coaching youth sports and serving as a Junior FIRST LEGO® League coach. He enjoys watching sports, playing golf, traveling and, more than anything, spending time with his family.