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Aaron Priest

Chief Strategy Officer,
General Counsel

Aaron is an industry leader in construction escrow administration, draw documentation, and mechanics’ lien underwriting. With a decade of experience in the title insurance industry and thousands of commercial transactions underwritten, Aaron brings a unique blend of risk analysis and problem-solving to the table.

After graduating from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Aaron joined Chicago Title Insurance Company as a commercial construction escrow officer. For two years, he worked directly with developers, general contractors, subcontractors, and lenders to review and approve draw documentation for projects across the country. During this time, Aaron gained expertise in the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of construction payment applications, as well as the incredible variance of mechanics’ lien laws across all 50 states.

Combining his law degree with his construction experience, Aaron moved into Chicago Title’s commercial underwriting team with a comfort in tackling complex construction risk analysis and mitigation. Aaron also prepared and delivered subject-matter presentations to law firms, in-house counsels, and corporate groups. After 6 years of local and national commercial underwriting, Aaron moved into management with First American Title Insurance Company.

As manager of First American’s national commercial construction escrow team in Chicago, Aaron engaged his passion for people and his problem-solving experience to lead and grow the team into a highly successful operation. Within a short amount of time, Aaron’s role was expanded to include additional construction escrow teams in Milwaukee and Madison.

Aaron brings a distinct passion for the work that goes into the construction development and payment process. He has seen firsthand the challenges that an antiquated process creates in keeping projects on track and getting parties paid in a timely fashion. Aaron believed for a long time that there was an unprecedented opportunity to innovate the industry and, after connecting with the right team, that is exactly what Vertical is doing.

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