NAPBS 2006 Annual Conference
NAPBS 2006 Annual Conference Nashville, Tennessee April 2006
Wow. All I can say is Wow! This can only be described as a super conference. Can you believe the attendance was about 500 people? 500! This is simply amazing when you consider NAPBS is only 3+ years old. NAPBS now has 548 member companies and the membership committee has committed to bringing this to 700 by next year.
While the Doubletree hotel did not live up to anyone’s standards: check-ins delayed for up to 4 hours, restaurant closed on Sunday, AC in room would not cool below 75 degrees and an exhibit floor that never went above 65 degrees, a wake-up call an hour earlier than asked for, the time on the TV being one hour ahead and, well, Lisa Gallagher can report even more problems. I think we just overwhelmed the hotel and they just were not prepared—something about poor management??
Regardless, the conference was a huge success and next year it will be in a much bigger venue where all attendees can stay in the same hotel and there will be better exhibit space and much more of it. In spite of NAPBS filling every nook, cranny and dead-end corridor of the hotel with exhibit space, there were still 12exhibitors for whom there was no space available.
If you are part of this industry, I cannot stress how important it is to attend these conferences. Good information from the sessions, good information from the exhibitors, good food, good drink, good times and, if you have not been to a screeners conference, you cannot understand the overall feeling of cooperativeness and spirit amongst everyone. One person termed it co-opitition. We heard very, very little bemoaning of other companies. But what we did hear is growth. 10%, 20% 30% 50% 100% growth numbers. This growth from not only adding new clients, but from adding new services and expanding the breadth of services clients are ordering. And with automation driving down labor costs while improving turnaround time, even with a little price pressure from on the selling price, the margins in our industry remain strong.
The committees all had a chance to meet and in every case, the volunteers were overflowing the capacity of the meeting rooms. Everyone was eager to get involved. The new incoming Co-Chair, Bob Capwell said that when he came to the first NAPBS conference two years ago, he knew no one and he volunteered to help and now he is co-chair. The opportunity for you too is unlimited and I can personally attest that I got much more out of my time as a committee co-chair than I put in, particularly through the valued exchange of ideas and business contacts with committee members.
The key topics of the conference were Best Practices and Ethics/Accreditation. There is a 20+ page document on accreditation and standards that was professionally put together by a very hard working committee headed by Noelle Harling (Noelle must be the hardest working person in the business). This was explained and very much discussed and debated during a 3-hour general session. A final draft proposal will be forthcoming and you need to take out an hour of your time to understand it. This will become what you will have to do for you company to earn an Accreditation status.
One background checking company said that the last six RFPs they bid on, five asked if the bidder was a member of NAPBS. NAPBS is advertising in HR magazine and will have a booth at SHRM and continues to promote the organization.
- The inclusion of identifiers in court records. The impetus for redaction, the impact on our industry and how to prevent and reverse such decisions.
- The trade off between privacy and a right to know.
- Security in the age of technology and the internet. The criticality of sensitive data flowing around the internet/email without encryption and how to secure the data.
- The ins and outs of using “National” databases. The emphasis here is their value and limitations and the importance of educating your customers properly about this being most valuable when used in conjunction with the traditional county/statewide/federal criminal search.
- International criminal searches. The complexity of accomplishing this and the growing demand.
- A fun/educational mock trial put on by the attorney members.
- An update from the NAPBS Lobbyist. One of the most critical efforts of NAPBS.
- Criminal records basics.
- Reference basics.
One comment I heard was that there was as much or more to learn by visiting with the exhibitors as there was in the sessions. Although, there were a few exhibitors who signed up late and were located in the less desirable spots, all were pleased with the opportunity they had to talk in depth with prospective customers. Included were
- Industry Consultants-2
- Software vendors-9
- Law Firm-1
- Insurance Brokers-2
- Information resellers-19, including criminal, criminal databases, credit reports, employment databases.
- Drug Screening Wholesaler.
- Others-9, and even a booth from SHRM.
- In the above there were two companies exhibiting from India and one company reselling international searches.
Good times extended past the sessions into the Exhibit Halls with their cocktails and food, on to the sit-wherever-you-like buffet lunches, to the Wild Horse Saloon for a Monday night buffet and on to B.B. Kings, Coyote Ugly and countless other watering holes, juke joints and entertainment venues in Nashville.
It was (un)officially announced that for this conference, we were following the Las Vegas rule. What happens in Nashville, stays in Nashville. Of course, we all heard or saw the scandal that “you know who”…. (well, I guess I will stop here and follow the rule too). All I can say is we all left with a smile on our faces and a craving for a straight 8-10 hours of sleep. And we are happy to say that when we are background checked in the future, in spite of a couple of close calls, no one will have a “record found” in Davidson County. Hard work with hard play made for a very fruitful conference.
Berg Consulting Group introduced two new services at the conference:
- www.backgroundscreeningjobs.com our new job board for the industry.
- SILC. Our acronym for Source Improvement and Lower Costs. This is an improvement on our pay-for-performance program to save you money
Special thanks to Jason Morris of BIS-OH and Mary Poquette of Verifications, Inc., the 2005-2006 co-chairs of NAPBS for their efforts and success in the past year and to Phil Smith (Kroll-InfoLink) and Tracy Seabrook (NAPBS) for putting this great conference together.
If you are reading this and you didn’t attend, you should be there next year too. And if your company is not a NAPBS member, go and sign up!
Bruce and Don Berg