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Genia Engelstad
Co-Owner and Vice President
Office Manager/Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3617   Email Genia                                                                                                                   

Genia Engelstad is Co-Owner and Vice President of Elite Escrow Services of San Diego.  She supervises the company’s daily business and she oversees the management of the three branch offices Elite has in San Diego County.   Her duties include working with clients, supervising personnel, business development and directing the practice of good, sound escrow procedures. And of course, Genia is an Escrow Officer.

Genia has worked in the escrow profession since 1979 and has performed every duty of the escrow business from receptionist to escrow officer. In 1987 at the age of 28 she became the owner of an escrow company.  Her vast experience has given her a well-rounded view of escrow and the best way to serve clients. She excels at pulling all the details together to successfully close escrow and satisfy clients.   

Genia’s philosophy is to treat the employees of Elite like they are family thus Elite has a track record of years and years of the loyal service of employees who make Elite who they are today, a leader in the California Escrow/Settlement Profession. 

Just being in the escrow business is an ongoing education! But nevertheless, Genia has completed many real estate courses, escrow classes and continues her education through the Escrow Institute of California and the California Escrow Association. As a past president of the Escrow Institute of California and a current board member, Genia keeps up with the latest trends and legislation affecting the Real Estate Industry. Genia currently serves on the Board of the San Diego County Escrow Association, the California Escrow Association and is the past AEA Director to the American Escrow Association representing California on a National level.  She currently teaches a class for the California Association of Realtors, Transaction Talk and is active in many community organizations.

Genia has been married to her husband, Jack, since 1978. Together, they enjoy four wheeling, camping, traveling and attending Padres games.


Karen M. Viens
Co-Owner and President
Certified Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3612   Email Karen

Karen Viens is co-owner and President of Elite Escrow Services of San Diego.  She has been in the escrow business since 1976 and is a Certified Escrow Officer. Despite her extensive experience, she continues her education and maintains her certification with escrow classes, real estate courses and seminars conducted by the Escrow Institute of California and the California Escrow Association. Her main duty at Elite Escrow is to run her escrow unit. She opens, processes and closes escrows, interacting with customers and solving problems along the way. She enjoys meeting with and talking to people and closing challenging transactions.

In addition to her escrow duties, Karen also performs management and marketing duties. Her extensive experience and competence reflects the quality of service for which Elite Escrow is known.

A true San Diego native, Karen attended Patrick Henry High School, where she excelled at athletics, especially at running the 800 in track. After high school, she attended Mesa College.

Karen is married and has two children. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and attending the winter and summer Olympic games. 


Carly Chance
Certified Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3620   Email Carly

Carly’s Escrow career began in 1996 as a receptionist at a Title Company.  Eager to move onward and upward, she quickly moved into the Customer Service Department and then to The Title Searching Department. Realizing how much she loved building client relationships and being hands on with customers; she was advised that Escrow would be a good fit for her.

She has spent the last 15 years within the Fidelity Family of companies working on a variety of different types of Escrow Transactions. Three of those 15 years she ran the Escrow Department for a mortgage broker licensed under the DRE. Carly continues her education as a Certified Escrow Officer and is active in the California Escrow Association. Her goals are to continue to learn and to build her escrow career with ongoing education and hands on experience with an emphasis in customer care and satisfaction.

In her spare time she enjoys activities such as boating, dirt biking, camping, and fishing. She loves enjoying the outdoors in good company with family and friends. 


Christy Torres                                                                                                                                                   Escrow Assistant

Direct: 858-300-3613  Email Christy 

Christy Torres has experience in the Real Estate field as a Real Estate Assistant and as an independent Transaction Coordinator since 2002.  She assisted several agents in maintaining their files and helped guide the transaction to a successful closing. 

She has now joined Elite Escrow to broaden her horizon and feels that with her knowledge and understanding of what takes place between the Agents and their clients she will be an asset in helping them understand the escrow process. 

 Outside the office, Christy enjoys traveling, shopping, relaxing and spending quality time with her family and friends.


Chana M. Roberts
Senior Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3608   Email Chana

Chana has been a member of the Elite Escrow team since its inception.  Her career began in 1981 as a temporary escrow receptionist.  That "temporary" position has grown into a full time, hands-on dedicated profession.  Chana has seen many changes with the escrow procedures and processes throughout the years and strives to be knowledgeable as to ongoing changes.  The one thing that hasn't changed is Chana's incomparable work ethic.  She prides herself in maintaining great client contact for lifelong client relationships.  Chana also enjoys speaking with buyers and sellers, as well, to maintain the level of service she requires from herself.

When not juggling the many aspects of resale escrows, refinance escrow, exchanges, hard money loan escrows, etc., Chana spends time reading, hiking and desert and boating activities with her husband and family.


Darleen Pangelinan
Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3615   Email Darleen

Darleen began her escrow career in 2002 in the escrow division at a title insurance company.  She joined the Elite Escrow family in June of 2010.  Her background consists of experience in Resale, Refinance, Short Sales, REO and Exchange transactions.

Darleen’s willingness to learn has helped her tremendously, especially in the ever-changing real estate business and market.  She strongly believes that there is always more to learn.  Darleen thrives on technology and is constantly trying to find the most efficient way to do things to help her clients close their transactions on time.

Darleen has been married to her husband Paul since 2006 with whom she shares 2 children.  She enjoys dancing hula with her daughter, watching her son play sports, and spending quality time with her family.


Kirsten J. LaRue
Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3607   Email Kirsten

Kirsten has been in the industry since 1986.  She began her career working at a title company in customer service pulling legal and vesting deeds and shortly thereafter found her way into the escrow department. Kirsten joined Elite Escrow in 1991 and has been assisting Chana Robert's team for over 23 years.  Her job consists of the auditing of loan documents, handling phone calls and doing tasks involved in getting escrows closed successfully.  She loves talking and meeting with clients.  Her experience allows her to take on some of the more complicated tasks.

Kirsten enjoys family time with her husband Lester and her spoiled dogs. She loves to read and her hobbies include motorcycling and BBQ’s.


Terra Squibb
Escrow Assistant 

Direct: 858-300-3630   Email Terra

Terra has been with Elite Escrow since 2009 and in the industry since 2000. Terra is responsible for openings, processing, estimates and fundings. She enjoys working in the fast paced, multi tasking environment that only escrow can provide.

She enjoys playing board games and spending time with her husband and family.


Belinda Bales
Certified Senior Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3632   Email Belinda

Belinda has worked in the escrow field since 1983 and brings a wealth of knowledge to Elite Escrow.  Her experience includes handling sale transactions, exchanges, short sales, commercial and income property, refinances and manufactured home transfers. 

She served as Treasurer of the San Diego County Escrow Association for 7 years.   Having 9 years experience as an Escrow Branch Manager, she is very capable of crisis management and prides herself with problem solving skills.  She was awarded Manager of the Year in 2001 from Commonwealth Land Title, and was recognized as “Best in Client Satisfaction” in San Diego Magazine in 2008.

Belinda is a native San Diegan, loves the outdoors and camping with her husband and their yellow lab.

She prides herself in building and maintaining long lasting client relationships and looks forward to working with you on your next transaction.


Lisa Herschman
Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3625   Email Lisa

Lisa has been in the Title and Escrow industry since 1999.  She joined the Elite Escrow family as an Escrow Officer in 2012 and she works as a team with Belinda Bales.

Lisa is experienced in various kinds of escrow transactions including residential resale, short sale and refinance transactions. Her dedication to providing excellent customer service and increasing her escrow knowledge ensures that Elite Escrow's clients will receive the best escrow experience.

Outside the office Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, doing anything sports related, staying active by hiking, playing tennis and golf and volunteering with her children's sports team


Jenny Royle
Escrow Assistant

Direct: 858-300-3659   Email Jenny

Jenny has been with Elite Escrow Services since September 2014 and in the industry since 1986. She started her career working for a title company for 27 years. With experience in Title and accounting Jenny decided to join the Elite Escrow family to learn more about escrow. Some of her duties consist of opening and processing escrows, working up estimates, funding conditions and closing refinances. Outside of the office she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends. 


Trisha Rutherford
Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3637   Email Trisha

Trisha joined Elite Escrow in 2002.   Trisha and Jennifer Dial have joined forces to become the newest Elite Escrow Services of San Diego SUPER TEAM.   She is skilled in all forms of escrow process, enjoys working with people and loves the diverse clientele escrow has to offer.  She is a member of the San Diego County Escrow Association and is a notary public.  Trisha enjoys spending time with her children, family and friends.  Some of the things she enjoys doing with them is reading, cooking, going to plays, the beach, desert and river.


Jennifer Dial
Senior Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3638   Email Jennifer

Jennifer began her escrow career in 1997 as a part-time assistant while she attended SDSU.  Upon graduating with a bachelors degree in Communication, she put her newly acquired communication skills to use, working her way from an assistant to an Escrow Officer.  Jennifer is detail oriented and has the problem solving skills necessary to close the most challenging escrow transactions.  She prides herself in her work and has successfully closed numerous transactions including Sales, Refinances, Short Sales, Seller Carry Backs, Private loans and more.

Jennifer is a certified Holistic Health Coach, fitness enthusiast and nature lover.  In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors, weight training, hiking, yoga and stand-up paddle board.  Jennifer was born and raised in San Diego and currently enjoys "country" living in North County with her husband, daughter and fur babies.


Valerie Butcher
Escrow Assistant

Direct: 858-300-3604   Email Valerie

Valerie has been with Elite Escrow since 2009. She has been in the escrow and title industry since 1985.  She is responsible for the openings, processing, estimates and fundings.

Valerie works part time and has 2 girls in college.  Most of all, she enjoys vacations with her family and her 2 dogs. 


Maggie Lamé                                                                                                                                                   Senior Escrow Officer        

Direct: 858-300-3628  Email Maggie

A native of upstate New York, at the age of 22, Maggie decided to go West and settle in San Diego.  She launched her escrow career in 1974 under the direction of Floreine Keener and Roy Fagelson at Southern California First National Bank now known as Union Bank.  She became a certified Escrow Officer achieving the highest award in the State of California at that time.  She opened an escrow department at Scripps Bank in La Jolla in 1984 and never looked back.

She was an owner of the Escrow Company of La Jolla.  She has been recognized by REBA (Real Estate Brokers Association of La Jolla) and was awarded an "Outstanding Professionalism and Service" designation.  She sold her company to Heritage Escrow where she managed the office and staff until the branch closed in 2008.    She has worked at two title companies and another licensed escrow company before joining Elite Escrow Services of San Diego.   These experiences have helped round out her career and made her the great escrow officer she is today.

When not working at her escrow desk, Maggie loves to travel.  She has traveled to Austria where she learned to ski.  She also went on a safari to Kenya and Tanzania with the San Diego Zoological Society. 


Alison Melendez-Munoz
Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3631   Email Alison

Alison has been working in escrow since 2001.   Her first escrow position was at Elite Escrow Services, where she learned the business and built a foundation for success.  She eventually took positions elsewhere, while she continued to gain experience from other local escrow companies.  Her career went full circle when she rejoined Elite Escrow Services, as an Escrow Officer in 2012.

Alison has a vast experience in many different types of escrow transactions including residential resale, short sale and refinance transactions. With her combined knowledge of escrow and exceptional customer service skills, Alison ensures her clients a smooth and seamless transaction.  Her customers have continuously expressed how efficient, professional and responsive she is.  The fact that she is bi-lingual is extremely valuable to the Spanish speaking community.

Outside the office, Alison enjoys traveling, shopping, concerts, and spending quality time with family and friends.


Malinche (Maly) Lougiakis                                                                                                                              Escrow Assistant

Direct: 858-300-3641  Email Maly

Maly’s Escrow career began in 2005, starting as a receptionist at Elite Escrow Services of San Diego where she learned the fundamentals of the business.  She left the industry for a while when she relocated to San Francisco. Maly returned to San Diego and joined a local investment team as a property and asset manager for both commercial and residential properties, giving her first-hand knowledge of the real estate market. In 2010 she became involved with a family owned home improvement business and also worked with a flood and fire restoration company. In 2012 Maly joined Stewart Title, working on out-of-state contracts. Maly's career swung full circle in late 2016 when she reunited with Elite Escrow Services, serving as assistant to Alison Melendez. Maly is fluent in Spanish and speaks some Greek. She values quality time with her daughter and family. She enjoys playing tennis and the fine arts.


Bonnie Hyatt                                                                                                                                                     Escrow Assistant

Direct: 858-300-3621  Email Bonnie

Bonnie began her escrow career in 2010 after working in the real estate industry for 18 years.  She recently joined the Elite team to further her career in the escrow business.  Bonnie is responsible for opening, processing, providing estimates and funding for both sale and refinance transactions.  Bonnie believes excellent customer service is key to any successful business and enjoys working with the Elite team!

Bonnie loves to travel and spend time with her husband Michael and her two teenage daughters, Kelli and Erin.  


Ashton Boileau                                                                                                                                                 Escrow Assistant    

Direct: 858-300-3670   Email Ashton 

Ashton joined the Elite Escrow Team in 2016 as an Escrow Assistant. Prior to Elite she worked in Fund Control. She prides herself on providing excellent customer service and is looking forward to growing her career at Elite. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.                                                                                                                      


Stacey Bjelland
Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3656   Email Stacey

Stacey began her escrow career in 1982 and worked her way up to being in charge of a busy resale desk. She took a little break in 1997 when her first child was born, but continued to work in the real estate industry. She joined Elite Escrow part-time in 2002 shortly after having her third child, performing document packaging and other various tasks. Stacey currently leads the Closing Department at the Main Office.


Kathy Manning
Escrow Assistant

Email Kathy

Kathy has been working in the real estate business since 1985 and has worked at Elite Escrow since 2000 where she contributes as an assistant in the closing department. Kathy takes pride in accurately putting together the closing packages presented to clients. At any time she is ready to assist with opening packages, too. Always offering a hand in the aspects of running a busy escrow office, she works closely with the office manager, Genia Engelstad.

When Kathy vacations, she likes to travel looking for adventure - her favorite state to visit is Alaska - but at home she spends time with friends, family and her cat.


Judy Bowen
Administrative Assistant

Direct: 858-300-3629   Email Judy

Judy started with Elite Escrow in 2003 as an administrative assistant.  She is responsible for many tasks from receptionist, to filing and creating many of the postcards, flyers, brochures and desktop publishing for the office.  The gals in the office call her first if something isn’t working properly, and she can usually figure out the problem or knows whom to call.

A San Diego native, Judy grew up in Lemon Grove and is married with 2 grown children.  Camping, traveling, gardening & scrap-booking are some favorite pastimes.


Michel Lark                                                                                                                                               Escrow Officer

Direct: 858-300-3649  Email Michel

Michel Lark brings many years of escrow and real estate experience to Elite Escrow Services, first in the field of apartment and condo property management, then as a licensed real estate broker specializing in residential and resort property sales in Los Angeles and in the San Bernardino Mountain community of Running Springs.

In her 20 year career as an escrow officer, she has worked with two of the largest real estate companies in the country, both in San Diego and Beverly Hills. Her knowledge, professionalism, and attention to every detail enable her to provide exceptional customer service. Michel participates in ongoing education to stay on top of our challenging and evolving business.

An enthusiastic and encouraging advocate for health and fitness, and a former certified fitness trainer and triathlete, Michel enjoys lap swimming, biking, hiking and weight training, living in Oceanside with her fiancé, Mark.