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Our Leadership Team

Summit Mortgage has been changing the lives of homebuyers for over 25 years. Our commitment to building strong, trusting relationships has allowed us to create an elevated mortgage lending experience for each and every client, business partner, and employee that we’ve had the privilege of working with. We owe that dedication to professional integrity to our incredible leadership team.

Steve Brown

CEO/President

It all starts with leadership, and a civil engineer leading a mortgage company might seem a little misplaced, but I’ve found it to be the perfect fit.

Like most industries, construction came to a halt following the financial crisis in the late 2000s, so after nine and a half years of managing commercial construction projects, I found myself without a job and faced with redefining myself and career path. Fortunately, my in-laws were Bob and Diana Carter – the founders of Summit Mortgage – and I had a front-row seat to watch how their work impacted families and homeowners, so I took a leap of faith and started a new career as a loan officer in December of 2009.

When the opportunity to start a secondary department arose, my spreadsheet skills became invaluable for analyzing Summit Mortgage’s production and pipeline value to the secondary markets. Since then, my responsibilities have grown and I now oversee all of Summit Mortgage’s operations.

I always thought that I would one day coach a team of industry leaders to competitive greatness, I just didn’t think it would be in the mortgage industry. I’m proud of the work our team does every single day and I’m excited to see where we take Summit Mortgage from here.

Jim Harper

Chief Financial Officer

I’ve been with Summit Mortgage since 2016 and worked in the financial services for 16 years. I’m responsible for leading the financial accounting, loan servicing, and human resources teams. I’m a graduate of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and hold an inactive CPA license. My career has led me to various industries and challenges in both public accounting and industry positions. I’m motivated by coaching others and overcoming challenges that lead to improvements in our current processes.

I’m a believer in leadership that serves others, whether that’s customers, team members, or the company in general. Summit Mortgage provides me the opportunity to help people achieve the dream of homeownership, which in turn improves the society and an individual’s sense of place in their community.

In my time away from work, I enjoy boating, soccer, fishing, woodworking, and spending time with my wife and four kids.

Larry Henson

Vice President, General Counsel, and Compliance Officer

I’ve been in the financial services industry for over 40 years and at Summit Mortgage for over 15 years. I head up the legal department—providing legal counsel and advice to our loan officers and operations teams—and oversee our compliance initiatives.

I enjoy working in such a fast-paced, regulatory environment and ensuring that Summit stays compliant in an ever-changing industry.

Mark Schlukebier

Vice President of Operations

I joined Summit Mortgage in 2008 and have been working in the mortgage industry for over 15 years. My experience has allowed me to work in both retail and wholesale channels, providing superior customer service and keeping my clients’ best interest in mind.

I currently oversee operations in the closing, post-closing, secondary, and investor relations departments. When I’m not selling loans to investors, I enjoy traveling while trying to manage the schedules of four kids who play football, soccer, baseball, and hockey.

Deb Stanius

Underwriting Manager

I’ve been working with Summit Mortgage for over six years and in the mortgage industry for longer than I’m willing to admit. Most of that time has been spent managing mortgage operations.

I lead the underwriting team and we help homebuyers secure a loan that fits their needs and conforms to agency and investor guidelines. My motto is: “Let’s set the borrower up for success,” which is why you can always expect 100% honesty and compassion from me and my team.

Brian Reardon

IT Manager

Even though I worked steadily in technology for 17 years, I found myself looking for a new job at the beginning of 2018. I knew I wanted to continue to work with technology and I had a lot of experience working with clients across various industries, but I wasn’t sure where to go next.

Then, I found Summit Mortgage and it didn’t take long before I started to get the feeling that it would be the perfect place for me. Of course, I love how everyone in the company sees technology as the backbone of the company, supporting everyone from loan officers and underwriters, to marketing and compliance. But it was Summit Mortgage’s focus on people, communication, and collaboration that convinced me I could learn from and grow alongside a group of smart, compassionate people.

Alecia Lininger

QA/Closing Manager

I fell into the mortgage industry in 2001 while searching for a career path that would be both challenging and rewarding. I found it in the Closing Department at Summit Mortgage where I started as a Closing Assistant before moving to Closer a year after.

By 2012, I worked my way up to Closing Team Lead and then onto QA/Closing Manager in 2018 where I oversee Summit Mortgage’s exception Closing and QA teams. By working on special projects, I gained extensive knowledge of internal systems and procedures which provides our team with the tools needed to create a smooth closing process for our Originators and our borrowers.

I’m Minnesota born and raised, currently living in Watertown. I love spending time with my husband and our two sons, whether it’s out on a camping trip, a cozy movie night, or an outdoor adventure with our crazy dog.

Lacey Oar

Compliance Manager

I’ve been with Summit Mortgage since 2009 and my primary responsibilities revolve around keeping the company compliant with the ever-changing mortgage laws and regulations affecting our industry.

Since compliance is a vital aspect of all operations across the company, this allows me the opportunity to work with and learn from teammates involved in a wide variety of functions including processing, origination, underwriting, closing, IT, quality control, and others. I really enjoy the variety of work and opportunities for collaboration among the different departments my position offers. We’re all working together to tackle the many challenges thrown our way, so there’s a lot of problem-solving and creativity that goes into this process, as we strive to find the best solutions to balance the regulatory demands of our industry with Summit Mortgage’s desire to make the origination process as efficient and seamless as possible for our loan officers and clients.

Mortgage laws and technology are always changing, so I make sure our processes keep up as we work together to adapt and stay on the cutting edge of our industry. This constant opportunity for teamwork and innovation is what I enjoy most about my job.

Kelly Brinkman

Controller

I manage an incredible team of accountants who serve the various financial needs of our clients, loan officers, branch managers, and internal departments.

The mortgage bug bit me in 2005 and I knew I’d found something that would challenge me every day at Summit Mortgage. I enjoy the fast-paced environment in the mortgage industry that can change at any moment. I strive to make outdated processes more efficient, replace confusion with understanding, and design innovative ideas to solve issues. I’m proud to work for a company that places a high value on giving back to communities and charities as well as its employees. I’m surrounded by like-minded, hard-working team members who want to see people realize the American dream of homeownership.

TyNeice Nix

Quality Control Manager

I’ve been with Summit Mortgage for five and a half years, and in the mortgage industry altogether for about 18 years in underwriting and quality control (QC).

My primary responsibilities are to establish and maintain an effective quality control program which meets the requirements of secondary market investors, agencies, and state and federal regulators. I manage the QC team that examines the existence and accuracy of legal and credit documents, quality of property valuations, underwriting decisions, and compliance with agency, investor, regulatory, and program policies. I also help the management team lead Summit to high quality assurance standards.

I enjoy working in a friendly team environment that is so family oriented! Summit Mortgage genuinely cares about people – from those who use our services, to the staff who work so hard to help every homebuyer. Working in the mortgage industry is incredible because it gives me the opportunity to impact a large number of people and provides me with new and exciting challenges.

Robert Carter

Founder

My wife Diana and I started Summit Mortgage in 1992. We had both been originating mortgage loans and wanted to build our own business that was run from a loan originator’s point-of-view and focused on providing an unparalleled homebuying experience – an endeavor that I’m proud to say remains a hallmark of the company.

I’m active in the mortgage community – having been the president of the Minnesota Mortgage Association, a board member of Lenders One, and a long-time participant in MBA and CMLA.

Before getting started in the mortgage industry, I graduated from Bethany College in West Virginia and received my MBA from the University of Minnesota.

When not working on the business, you can find me on a golf course, on a biking holiday in Europe, or on a ski slope. Philanthropy is also very important to Diana and me, which is why we started a foundation which primarily supports college endowment scholarships and clinical trials that improve healthcare.

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