Leadership & Governance
We brought together a team of seasoned leaders from the mortgage, title and technology spaces who are passionate about automating home lending while delivering a one-of-a-kind consumer experience.
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Tedd Smith is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at FirstClose. In this role, Smith is responsible for setting the overall direction and managing the firm’s performance.
Smith has more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage origination and settlement services space. He launched FirstClose with his brother Tim in 2000. Earlier, Smith was the CEO of Home Equity Loan Corporation. Smith started his mortgage career as head of Marketing for Flood Zones, Inc., an automated flood zone determination technology platform that was acquired by TransUnion.
Smith holds an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin.
Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer
Tim Smith is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at FirstClose responsible for overseeing the company’s Business Development and Marketing groups.
Smith has more than 20 years of executive experience in the mortgage origination and settlement services space. Smith launched FirstClose with his brother Tedd in 2000. Earlier, Smith was Vice President of Flood Zones, Inc., an automated flood zone determination technology platform that was acquired by TransUnion.
Smith attended Texas Lutheran University before joining and serving in the United States Marine Corps for four years.
Chief Financial Officer
Jim Bolger is the Chief Financial Officer at FirstClose responsible for all aspects of the company’s financial affairs including reporting, budget planning, capital raising and financing the company’s aggressive growth strategy.
Bolger has more than two decades of experience in leading the financial operations of mortgage and financial services firms. Prior to joining FirstClose, Bolger was the Chief Financial Officer of ClosingCorp. During his tenure, ClosingCorp experienced significant client and revenue growth which eventually led to ClosingCorp’s acquisition by CoreLogic. Bolger was also Chief Financial Officer of PTI Marketing Technologies, a cloud-based intelligent marketing solution provider, where he was responsible for all aspects of financial operations, including mergers and acquisitions, tax and treasury. Earlier in his career, Bolger held senior financial positions at Accredited Home Lenders and GreenPoint Credit Corp.
Bolger holds a BS in Finance and a MSBA in Finance from San Diego State University.
Executive Vice President
Craig Austin is the Executive Vice President at FirstClose responsible for leading new and existing customer initiatives.
Austin is a seasoned industry veteran with more than 10 years of mortgage technology experience. Prior to joining FirstClose, Austin was Vice President, Head of Executive Accounts at ICE Mortgage Technology. Before ICE, he was Executive Vice President of Sales & Business Development at ClosingCorp where he led the entire sales organization and achieved significant client and revenue growth which eventually led to ClosingCorp’s acquisition by CoreLogic. Prior to joining ClosingCorp, Austin held several sales leaderships positions over his six-year tenure at RealEC Technologies / Black Knight Financial Services.
Craig earned an undergraduate degree in Managerial and Organizational Communication from Point Loma Nazarene University.
Chief Technology Officer
Pat Carney is the Chief Technology Officer at FirstClose responsible for overseeing the company’s suite of innovative technology solutions and industry partnerships.
A seasoned-industry veteran, Carney has more than two decades of experience in formulating strategies and developing innovative, technology-enabled products for the mortgage, real estate and title industries. Throughout his career, Carney has held senior technology and innovation roles at leading firms such as Agents National Title Insurance Company, ClosingCorp, reQuire and Stewart Title.
A frequent speaker at industry events, Carney attended UC Clermont and proudly served in the U.S. Navy. Carney is an active member of American Land Title Association’s technology committee and MISMO’s Title workgroup.
Chief Marketing Officer
Carol Crawford is the Chief Marketing Officer at FirstClose responsible for leading the firm’s strategy and managing the execution of brand development, integrated marketing and multi-channel communications.
Crawford brings more than 20 years of experience in mortgage and financial services marketing and leadership. Most recently, she served as Senior Director at ICE Mortgage Technology where she was responsible for business strategy and product marketing for ICE’s AIQ and TPO Connect solutions. Prior to ICE, Crawford was the Chief Marketing Officer of ClosingCorp where she led the account management and marketing teams and set the company’s go-to-market strategy for nearly eight years. During her tenure, ClosingCorp realized exponential client and revenue growth and was acquired at a premium by CoreLogic. Earlier in her career, Crawford held senior marketing roles at both CoreLogic and First American.
Crawford earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.
Chief Operating Officer
Corey Smith is the Chief Operating Officer for FirstClose responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the firm.
Smith has more than 30 years of technology and operational expertise. Prior to joining FirstClose in 2009 he was the CEO and Founder of Snapwire, a software development firm for the commercial real estate appraisal industry. Earlier in his career, Smith was the Founder and COO of Mall.com, an online virtual shopping network targeting online retailers. Smith started his career as Co-Founder and Vice President of Technology for Flood Zones, Inc., where he pioneered the automation of the flood zone determination technology platform that was acquired by TransUnion.
Smith holds an associate degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations from Austin Community College.
Chief Product Officer
Ramiro Castro is the Chief Product Officer at FirstClose responsible for defining and executing the company’s product vision and strategy and leading product development and implementation efforts.
With more than 20 years’ experience, Castro has a well-rounded information technology and product background. He has a successful track record of overseeing customer elicitation to solution delivery and is known for developing high quality business and financial solutions to scale.
Prior to FirstClose, Castro held several leadership positions with Atlassian where his infrastructure monitoring and observability knowledge was then augmented with SDLC tool implementation and support. Castro brings a wealth of experience to his current role having started with Logic Monitor in enterprise infrastructure and network security.
Ramiro holds several Atlassian Certifications across the Atlassian suite as well as an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification.