PRIA Announces Ernst Scholarship Award Recipients for 2019-20

Raleigh, N.C. – The Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) has announced the Ernst Scholarship Award recipients for the 2019-20 membership year, which begins on Aug. 1, 2019.  This award was established by Ernst Publishing Co., which was acquired by Black Knight in 2019, in conjunction with PRIA, in recognition of the late Carl R. Ernst, for his contributions to PRIA and the extended property records industry.  This year marks the sixth year the awards have been bestowed.

Brian N. Dickey, register of deeds in McNairy County, Tenn., is the government recipient of the Ernst scholarship.  He was just 26 when he was elected to his position in 1998, and the county was still handwriting receipts.  Within three months, Dickey had secured and installed a computer system to record documents.

Moving his office into the 21st century is a high priority for Dickey.  He strives to stay abreast of changes to the industry and wants to be prepared to serve his current and future customers in the best way possible.

Dickey is active in the Tennessee Registers Association and served as president of the organization, meeting with state legislators to educate them on the needs of Tennessee registers.  During his term, he worked to create uniformity to the recording practices for registers throughout the state.  Dickey currently serves as a board member for the County Officials Association of Tennessee and makes numerous trips to Nashville to work on legislative issues.

Juliana Tu, president and owner of Viva Escrow!, is the business recipient of the Ernst scholarship. She has worked in the settlement services industry for 40 years and has actively served in both regional and state escrow associations.  She currently serves as the president of the California Escrow Association and is a board member of the Escrow Institute of California (EIC), which serves owners and managers of escrow companies.

As chair of the National Affairs Committee, she has worked at the national level to heighten awareness of the industry. She also strives to educate EIC members about state and national issues. In 2012, she published “The Art of Escrow” for consumers and those who are bewildered by the process of escrow when purchasing property in California.

The Ernst Scholarship Award includes a one-year PRIA membership for each recipient, along with conference registration and travel to one of the two PRIA conferences during the membership year.  The awards are valued at $2,000, plus the complimentary membership in PRIA.

According to PRIA President Larry Burtness, “The late Carl Ernst was one of the original members of the Property Records Industry Joint Task Force, the predecessor to PRIA, and a tireless advocate for the development of both eRecording and basic standards for the property records industry. We could not be more pleased to partner with Black Knight in sponsoring this scholarship.”

The award criteria, established in 2013, require that eligible applicants have not previously been members of PRIA and have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in their chosen fields, been active in their communities and proven to provide service consistent with the mission and values of PRIA.

“PRIA continues to be the preeminent advocate for the collaboration of business and government throughout the public records industry,” states Richard Gagliano, president of Origination Technologies for Black Knight.  “Increased membership and participation will only stand to further strengthen the association.  Black Knight is proud to support these scholarships, and we congratulate this year’s award recipients.”

This year’s beneficiaries were selected by a committee that includes the PRIA officers and representatives. Scholarships are awarded annually assuming valid application submissions by qualified candidates.

About PRIA
PRIA develops and promotes national standards and best practices for the property recording industry by identifying opportunities for collaboration among industry stakeholders; developing recommendations for standards and best practices; encouraging the adoption of such standards and practices; providing a clearinghouse for property-records-related information; and educating members, stakeholders and the public about the property records industry. For more information, visit