ASIS 2009 Conference

ASIS 2009 Conference


We did not attend the conference this year, so the information you will see here has come from our very generous “on site” reporters, who have chosen to remain anonymous. We thank them very much for their valuable input. The attendance at this conference was off again this year. The reported number of attendees was about 18,000, although it is interesting that the paid attendance was only 3,600. The remaining thousands of“attendees” were exhibitors and people with free day passes to the exhibit floor.

Industry exhibitors decreased again this year, off about 40%:


 2009 2008 2007 2006
Background Screeners 10 18 21 18
Database 2 2 4 4
Drug Testing 1 3 1 1
Fingerprint technology 1 1
Assessments 1 1
Other 1 1 3
Total 14 24 31 25


Notables absent included First Advantage, ABSO, A-Check, Crossmatch, IntegraScreen, Intelius, Kroll-Background Checks(one small division of Kroll was there), TracersInfo, TransUnion, Accurate Background, Acxiom,, GIS, National Diagnostics, Sterling, Rapidscreen, InfoMart (who was listed as exhibiting but did not have a booth) and Verified Person.

What is going on? It’s the economy! Plus, fewer and fewer end users rely on their security function vs. HR to do backgrounds. However, the reports on the value of the show from CRAs exhibiting were mixed all the way from one end of the spectrum “not a lot of real buyers” to the other end “the quality of attendee was much better.” Also reported were comments like “Those people we did talk to were ‘wanting to do business’” and “the lower attendance allowed us to spend more time in the booth with prospects.” One person commented that there seemed to be a subtle shift to bringing company security departments back into the decision matrix for backgrounds with HR looking for guidance. Another reported “all in all, a good conference,” but they too were unsure of attending next year. For those attendees that did stop in the booths, there seemed to be a genuine interest about background checks.

The mix of attendees was estimated by one background screener as one-third foreign (Canadian, Mexico,Thailand/Southeast Asia) where in the past it was about half that percentage. The government buyers were there in force too, as many as 50%.

One CRA wasn’t waiting to get back to the office to make their follow up calls; they were doing it directly from the exhibit floor. Another reported closing an account right there on the floor. When I asked if they would return next year, the responses were mixed, but thought they would not. While the bad news is the attendance is down, the good news is the number of background checking companies was also dramatically reduced, thereby creating the opportunity to get a lead that might not have to be shared with 30 competitors.

Some reported people happenings:

  • Jerry Hatton is back at Verifications, Inc.
  • Kimmarie Messer has left OrangeTree and has returned to Verifications, Inc.
  • Phil McVey, former CEO of Commercial Services at USIS has moved and is heading up Kroll ScreeningServices (Background America).
  • HireRight CEO is now Mike Petrullo, replacing Glen Shrank who was appointed when Eric Boden retired this past spring. Glen is helping with the transition and leaving HireRight to go on sabbatical.
  • Jim Collins has not landed in an industry job.
  • Bill Hill and Ed Delise (formerly with Wackenhut) formed WT Hilland Associates, which was reported asrecently acquired by Yale.
  • Les Rosen put on a mock trial and was assisted by several in the background screening industry including Fred Giles (Carco), Perry Morgan (NBD) and Beth Fortune (NBD).
  • USIS/HireRight/Altegrity was using all three names in their booth as they transition to Altegrity.
  • Alan Lasky and David Nadell (formerly Kroll) are now with Universal Background Screening.

New Products? Not much new this year.

Overall, I think most of the exhibitors had mixed emotions as to the value of this show vs. all the other venues at which to exhibit. We will see what happens next year.

Remember, you can take advantage of the combined volumes from all our clients to get quality criminal searches while reducing your TAT and your costs at least 25%.

Berg Consulting Group, Inc.