Underwriting Staff

Click on a team member below to view their bio.

David Hays
David Hays
General Counsel
David Hays
David Hays

General Counsel

David’s journey from abstractor, examiner, escrow officer to attorney & underwriting counsel for a national title insurance company gives him a unique perspective and ability when it comes to solving underwriting issues. David is a problem solver and his vast knowledge includes all facets of the title insurance industry. In addition, David is an accomplished speaker presenting regular continuing education classes for realtors, escrow agents and the Texas Land Title Association. David holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Texas Tech University and afterwards attended Texas Wesleyan University School of Law while also working full time in the title industry earning his JD in 2004.

Ellen Wied
Senior Vice President & Underwriting Counsel
Ellen Wied

Senior Vice President & Underwriting Counsel

Ellen Wied earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with high honors. She attended law school at the University of Houston and earned her JD in 1982. Ellen began working in the real estate/title insurance industry in 1983 and has worked as underwriting and claims counsel for three national underwriters and as general counsel at several central Texas title companies. She is thoroughly knowledgeable regarding all aspects of the title insurance industry and real estate closings.

Ellen has previously been an instructor at the Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) Land Title School, served on the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Board, numerous TLTA committees, and was awarded the honor of being named an Outstanding Young Title Person by TLTA.

David Dickard
VP/Western Region Underwriting Counsel
David Dickard

VP/Western Region Underwriting Counsel

Rustin Khavari
Vice President/Claims & Underwriting Counsel
Rustin Khavari

Vice President/Claims & Underwriting Counsel

Stephen Parker
VP, Texas Underwriting Counsel
Stephen Parker

VP, Texas Underwriting Counsel

Stephen is a locally born Houstonian and grew up in Decatur, Texas. He began working early in the industry as a land surveyor in high school and into college. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin, he worked as a loan officer for the next six years to then move into oil and gas as a landman and worked to acquire his law degree. Shortly after graduating from Texas A&M University Law School, Stephen started his own law practice and has been handling transactions, curative work, document preparation and, most recently, acting as general counsel for a local title agent, Title Resources Denton, for the past five years.

Wendy Hoelting
Midwest Region Underwriting Counsel
Wendy Hoelting

Midwest Region Underwriting Counsel

Wendy is a 2012 graduate of Baker University, with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, Summa cum laude. She attended University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 2018 with pro-bono honors, CALI Award recipient and winner of the 2017 ABA National Tax Challenge- Best Written Submission. Wendy is Member of the Missouri Bar, the Missouri Land Title Association, and the Kansas Land Title Association, where she serves on the Legislative Committee.

Wendy has been involved in the title and escrow industry for over twenty-four years, and was the General Counsel of Continental Title Holding Company, Inc. Her duties include determining insurability and underwriting by reviewing issues that arise, including (but not limited to), probate, non-probate transfers, foreclosure, divorce, use of power of attorney, trusts, surveys, issuing of endorsements and claims.

Wendy is a guest speaker each semester at UMKC School of Law for the Abandoned Housing Clinic on the topic of title insurance. She frequently teaches clients and employees on topics of interest to foster knowledge of title insurance and topics that affect the real estate market.

Michael Willey
VP, Texas Underwriting Counsel
Michael Willey

VP, Texas Underwriting Counsel

Michael joins FNTI after having spent the past three years with Old Republic Title underwriting high liability and extra hazardous risk for the company on a national basis. Prior to Old Republic, Michael spent two years as in-house litigation counsel for Fidelity National Financial, serving multiple state and federal jurisdictions in the southern and northern United States.

Michael is a proud military veteran having served 10 years in the United States Navy’s intelligence sector. At the conclusion of his military service, Michael earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Arizona State University and received his Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School in New York.
Michael is a member of the Texas Land Title Association where he serves as an active member of the Legislative Committee.

Melinda Wirta Garza
Assistant Vice President, Claims Administrator
Melinda Wirta Garza

Assistant Vice President, Claims Administrator

After spending time in the greater Phoenix area as a residential realtor, Melinda returned home to her native Texas and began working for a Texas-based regional underwriter in 1998. With that underwriter, she began assisting in the claims department in 2003 handling various types of title claims during her tenure there. Melinda attended the TLTA Texas Land Title School in 2005 and also successfully completed the Paralegal Certificate Program through the Professional Development Institute with the University of North Texas. Melinda is a member of the Texas Land Title Association.