Meet Your Team

Scott Emrich - Director of Loan Originations

How Scott Helps You

Scott’s always been known as a helpful kind of guy, so his role here comes quite naturally. Scott helps our customers work more effectively by seeing every loan from their perspective first. If the loan is a fit, Scott will push to get the request in front of the Investment Committee as fast as possible. If a loan isn’t a fit, he’ll dig into our database of over 375 institutional lenders and connect the customer with a lender that’s interested in that loan.

Scott has over 15 years of experience in finance and over 10 years of experience as a Commercial Mortgage Broker. He’s an alumnus of the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania where he studied Corporate Management.

Scott was born and raised in the north suburbs of Chicago. He has also called Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Palm Beach home.

Fun facts - Scott’s first helicopter ride was in the Red Bull aerobatic helicopter where he literally flew upside down and lived to tell about it. At Penn, Scott lived around the corner from a fellow classmate, Elon Musk.

Anthony Turdo – Chief Underwriter

How Anthony Helps You

Anthony sees each loan scenario as an opportunity to make a difference. During the process of reviewing a loan and researching the property’s value, he goes beyond the mechanical aspect of the loan underwriting and looks outside the box for other factors that could overturn a possible loan denial. His goal is not only to make safe loans for the Company, but also to help the borrower overcome obstacles that would result in a denial by other underwriters.

Anthony has a Bachelor's degree in Accountancy from ASU and a Master's degree in International Business from EVEX. Prior to working with our company, he was involved in International Finance, Commodity Trading and Logistics.

Anthony has worked for American Savings Life Insurance Company since 2005, and served as the Managing Executive of American Life Financial from 2009 to 2018. He currently serves as the Chief Underwriter for American Life Financial, where he provides important compliance expertise to the rest of the team. Anthony serves as a member of the Company’s Investment Committee, which meets daily to address loan inquiries and funding approvals.

Away from Work

Family time is very important to Anthony. With five kids (four girls one boy) and one grandson, nothing beats Sunday gatherings at his home with parents, siblings, extended family and friends tagging along. Anthony also enjoys fishing, camping, tennis, soccer, rugby and volleyball.

Jeremy Lewis, Senior Underwriter

How Jeremy Helps You

Jeremy thoroughly reviews the details of each loan inquiry to provide quick and reliable underwriting decisions to brokers and borrowers alike. He serves as a member of the company’s Investment Committee, which meets daily to approve all preliminary funding requests. He also helps review, draft and refine final loan details and terms in a manner that integrates a borrower’s expectations as much as possible with the Company’s loan requirements.

Jeremy graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Arizona State University’s College of Business (now, the W.P. Carey School of Business) in 1990. His first “real job” later that year involved working as a commercial real estate (CRE) appraiser for one of Arizona’s then-largest appraisal firms, where he performed both litigation-oriented and traditional CRE valuation assignments for lenders, law firms, and for the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). He entered law school in 1994, working part-time during school for both RE-oriented law firms, and as a judicial extern/law clerk for two federal judges, and obtained his J.D. (law degree) from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1996.

Jeremy’s work experience since college has largely been in the CRE arena, including in CRE appraisal, acquisitions, asset management and lending. Immediately prior to joining American Life Financial, he served for over 15 years as lead underwriter for (and later, co-owner of) another Arizona-based private capital CRE lender, where he underwrote, structured and closed well over $500 million of bridge capital lending transactions on behalf of various private and institutional investors, including Arizona’s second-largest public pension fund, the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS).

Away from Work

Jeremy is married and enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family and loved ones. He has served on the boards of several Phoenix-area non-profits and industry groups, including the Branch Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, and on several committees of the Phoenix Chapter of the Urban Land Institute.

Favorite Quotes

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." – Anonymous
"Wherever you go, there you are." – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Karen Johnson - Commercial Loan Processor

How Karen Helps You

Karen’s mission is to make certain all phases of the loan process get done accurately & timely, from start to finish. She is your point of contact, here to answer any questions or get those answers for you. She makes certain all requirements for your loan are met, from insurance to title and, if anything unexpected should arise, she is right on it to fix or find the person who can. Then, once everything is accomplished, she works closely with the title company to get you to your close without a hitch. You might just say she’s your loan’s fairy godmother.

Karen has been with American Savings Life Insurance Company (our parent Company) since February 2015. No matter the task put before her, she gives it her all. Her first 4 ½ years has been spent learning about all of our products and services, striving to provide our customers with the best experience possible. Since the end of 2019, Karen has been expanding that knowledge and skillset by joining our wonderful loan department. She enjoys working closely with our brokers, loan customers and the many others who are part of this valuable service.

Away from Work

Karen serves as the Company’s liaison with Mesa United Way and encourages employees to participate in donating to and serving our community through this excellent organization. Karen has great talent for quilting and sewing, and derives a lot of joy from making things to give away to others. She can regularly be found making baby or memory quilts for friends and family. During the recent quarantine, Karen made 17 quilts and 10 animal pillows that she donated to Helen’s Hope Chest. She also enjoys the fruits of her husband’s hobby of smoking meats, and regularly brings in samples of his work for the rest of us to enjoy.

Joseph Campbell - Property Inspector

How Joseph Helps You

Joseph conducts property inspections for American Life Financial and acts as an advisor to the Company’s Investment Committee in matters pertaining to property inspections, appraisals, and environmental reports. His inspections provide the Company with timely information about the properties he inspects so we can resolve any issues that are found early in the process and close the loan on-time.

Joseph has over 25 years of real estate experience. He graduated from Arizona State University in 1993 with a degree in Business Management and has managed construction projects, rehabs, fix and flips, property inspections, and collateral valuation throughout his career.

Away from Work

Joseph and his wife Michelle have two children, a son and a daughter. Their family is very much into outdoor activities which include hiking, swimming, and sports. Joseph’s principal hobby is music and he plays the saxophone and guitar. The guitar has been his passion for over 35 years. Other interests include health and fitness, and old trucks.

Community Involvement

  • Former Board Member, City of Mesa Downtown Development Committee
  • Former Committee Chairman, Mesa United Way P.R.I.D.E. Committee
  • Former Board Member, West Mesa Community Development Corporation

Favorite Quotes

  • "If a nation expects to remain ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be". Thomas Jefferson
  • "When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew-up. I wrote down "happy." They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." John Lennon
  • "Knowing is not enough, we must APPLY. Willing is not enough, we must DO." Bruce Lee

Linda Williams - Administrative Assistant

How Linda Helps You

Linda helps transition each Borrower from the funding company, American Life Financial, to the servicing company, American Savings Life Insurance. She gets energized whenever a new loan funds, knowing that she will be servicing that loan for the duration of its life and getting to know the new borrowers personally. She helps borrowers set up their billing account in a way that works best for them, and communicates regularly with the borrowers throughout the life of the loan.

Linda has been with American Savings Life Insurance since early 2015 where she helps service our many loans and communicate with our account holders. She is often the first person people speak with at American Savings, and helps set the tone for their experience with the Company.

Away from Work

Linda really enjoys seeing our beautiful country. For three years she had the awesome opportunity to travel throughout the U.S. with a singing group, and it is one of her fondest memories. Music is important to her, and she still sings in her church choir. In her spare time (what is that?) she is happy spending time with her family, watching classic TV shows/movies, and going to estate/rummage sales and auctions.

Byron Allen - President / CEO

How Byron Helps You

Byron helps develop and approve the loan products and services offered by American Life Financial. He chairs the daily Investment Committee meetings and ensures that the Committee gives each loan the careful consideration and quick response it deserves. Byron is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the Company’s loan process to give our customers a seamless experience financing their commercial real estate.

Byron graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University’s Honors College with dual Bachelor degrees in Accountancy and Computer Information Science and later returned to ASU to earn his MBA.

Byron has worked at American Savings Life Insurance Company since 1993. His prior responsibilities have included being a loan servicing clerk, a staff accountant, a loan officer, Financial Officer and Vice-President. Byron has been President/CEO since 2006.

Away from Work

Byron and his wife Janice have eight children which keep them very busy to say the least. When not busy attending concerts, games, recitals, etc., Byron also enjoys golfing, volleyball, camping, hiking and any opportunity he can find to speak German.

Professional Associations

  • Life Insurers Council - current chairman and board member
  • National Alliances of Life Companies - member and membership chair
  • National Assoc. of Financial Advisors (Scottsdale, AZ) - past Treasurer and board member
  • Arizona Private Lender Association - past President and board member

Community Involvement

  • Boy Scouts of America - Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout
  • Mesa United Way - Executive committee, finance committee and board member
  • Full-time volunteer missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria

Favorite Quotes

  • "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." - Abraham Lincoln
  • "Heights by great men reached and kept, were not obtained by sudden flight; But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

E. Paul Whetten - Executive Vice President / COO

How Paul Helps You

Paul helps coordinate the efforts of each team member and makes sure they have the answers and the resources they need to get your loan funded. He is part of the Investment Committee that reviews loan proposals each day so we can get decisions back to our borrowers fast, and he helps develop the loan products and services that we offer to our customers. Paul personally conducts the final review on each loan we fund to ensure that our loans live up to our customers’ expectations for accuracy and completeness.

Paul has 10 years of experience in enterprise management and small business accounting and over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry. He graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a degree in History and went on to receive a Masters of Administration degree, with distinction, from Northern Arizona University. In addition to his responsibilities with American Life Financial Paul is an adjunct professor of business at Mesa Community College.

Away from Work

Paul's greatest claim to fame is that he convinced his wife to marry him. They are the proud parents of 6 children that have kept them constantly on the move. Paul has a large collection of historic flags that he uses in public speaking engagements and events all over Arizona. He enjoys public speaking, reading, singing, and cooking in Dutch ovens.

Community Involvement

Paul is currently serving as a board member and President of the Arizona Private Lender Association.

Paul has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for over 30 years, serving as an adult volunteer working directly with youth as well as an instructor for adult leader training courses at the district and council level. He is an Eagle Scout and a recipient of both the Silver Beaver and the Distinguished Commissioner Award. He currently serves as an Assistant Council Commissioner for the Grand Canyon Council.

Paul is a graduate of Valle del Sol's Hispanic Leadership Institute and served on the initial advisory board for Valle del Sol's Donation Center. He has served as a PTO board member at Heritage Academy and as a volunteer with Junior Achievement of Arizona. From 1992 – 1994 Paul served as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile.

Paul has also served his community by being active in politics and serving in elected positions at the local, state and national levels. He served two terms as Party Chairman for his legislative district and has participated in numerous committees and working groups with government officials and other leaders throughout the State of Arizona.

Favorite Quotes

"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" – Abraham Lincoln

"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite." – C. S. Lewis

"The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries." – Rene Descartes