NAPBS 2018 Annual Conference Report

2018 NAPBS Annual Conference
Baltimore, MD October 7-9, 2018

Bruce’s Snapshot

The new napbs board of directors comes into play at the fall conference. Thanks to outgoing chair, Scott Hall and congratulations to the incoming chair, Angela Preston. Here is the full team of volunteers working for you. BTW, not a member yet? Isn’t it about time you joined the 900+ companies that already see the value of their small investment in NAPBS?

Another reminder, we have an affinity program with NAPBS. We want to help them and also save yourself some money. Check out our offerings via NAPBS here.

Mike Sankey was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. So well deserved for this industry, an NAPBS pioneer and all-around good guy. Congrats Mike, it was great to see you there and great to see you get this award.

Something different this conference was the traditional Tuesday night closing party moved to Sunday – opening night. This scheduling certainly kicked off the conference with a bang and had a positive effect of keeping attendees on site throughout the night for business, socializing and dancing (I even danced to Snoop Dog – nothing stops me).

People, Places, Stuff and Changes:

  • Dawn Standerwick, VP Strategic Growth at Employment Screening Resources, was notably and deservedly recognized for her record breaking board tenure – 9 years! Dawn’s dedication and selfless contributions to NAPBS are a model for everyone.
  • Backtrack, acquired by GIS earlier in the year, is closing their operations in Mentor, OH.
  • Alicia Jones and John Lawrence moved on from to Tracers Information Specialists.
  • NAPBS is 15 years old.
  • Lots of talk about how fingerprinting checks are becoming more prevalent and the smart phone attachments that facilitate the convenience of those. See my blog.
  • More and more CRAs are adding second or third 3rd party operating platforms either for backup or for quick access to an ATS not linked on their current system.
  • Is Jonathan Patrick now an MMA fighter?
  • Brittany Bollinger, NAPBS board member (fmr Single Source, fmr Data Facts, fmr MBI Worldwide) says she is planning to open her own CRA in 2019.
  • Nice to see Bob Mather of Pre-Employ back at NAPBS with his crew.
  • Also nice to see Phil Chapman of FRS.
  • Why did Checkr with over 300 employees have only two people on the attendee list?
  • Why don’t we have more end users attending (like CarMax and Boeing)? They have attended for years and must find it valuable.
  • HireRight and GIS are merging into HireRight’s operating platform. Lots and lots of work to be done to integrate these two very large companies.
  • Merchants Information Solutions of Phoenix was acquired by Applicant Insight.
  • was acquired by GHRR.
  • Nice to see Carla Knoll solidly in charge as CRO of TazWorks and to see Barton Taylor looking so well.
  • Roi Stone, formerly of TazWorks has moved to Innovative as an Account Exec. How does Innovative pick up so many with such great industry gravitas?
  • Craig Cadell was unable to attend as his father passed; Bill Caddell, age 96 lived a full life.
  • Rebecca Weiser, formerly of Boeing, is now the Compliance Manager with Verified First.
  • Leslie Godbold of Wolfe Trusted Employer Solutions was married 1.5 weeks before the conference. Congratulations to Leslie!
  • Mari Cazares, formerly Ops manager at Imperative Information Group, has moved to TazWorks as a product manager.
  • Matthew Maldonado “MJ” was promoted to business development at RapidCourt.
  • It was kids night in the hotel on Monday as several decided that running down the up escalator looked like too much fun to pass on.  See Julie Hakman run!
  • There are currently 905 member companies in NAPBS
    • USA – 771 companies with 6200 individual members
    • Canada – 21 companies and 59 individual members
    • Europe – 35 and 83
    • APAC – 66 and 205
    • Other – 12 and 34

How many new faces did I not get to meet? Of course, people go to this conference to do more than just have fun, they are there to learn. The sessions are great for this but so many attendees never roam the exhibit floor to spend five minutes with those folks that are a treasure trove of information. The industry experts in the exhibit hall are eager to share their knowledge and this is critical to the success of the attendee. Five minutes at 53 exhibitors is a lot of time (half a day) but next time plan to make this investment and please stop by the booth so we can meet you. Why fly into Baltimore and spend half of your time on your device doing things that can really wait until after the conference? I promise I won’t bit and I promise I will solve at least one problem for you in those five minutes.

Did you get our BBBBBB? If not, reach out and we will send you a copy or visit here to view it online.

Amazing Stuff

So I learned that a trick was pulled on a fellow employee at an unmentioned data provider in our industry. They knew that person always eagerly awaited getting my conference report so they grabbed the conference report off my website, converted the HTML and inserted some nasty comments about that person (fake news!). The fellow employee was shocked but was soon let in on the joke. Should I be upset they hacked my report or should I just give kudos that they could pull it off?

Educational Session Highlights

We were so busy on the exhibit floor that I only got to go to a couple of education sessions. NAPBS members can access the conference presentations here.

  1. Jason Morris and Nick Fishman presented: Building, Scaling, Marketing and Growing your CRA. These industry veterans have also published their takeaways from the conference that you can find here.  In their session they made these important points:

a. In getting new clients. Prospects are buying you and your culture, not just that you can do background checks. People like to do business with people they like so communicating your culture (via blogs, your websites, your sales people, etc.) is very important to winning new business. Make your culture a priority and make communicating your great culture a priority before, during and after the sale.

b. Make your contracts with your clients as long a term as you can and make sure they carry wording that they are transferable should there be a change of ownership.

2. Social Media: presented by Social IntelligenceMontserrat Miller, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. Half of the CRAs in the presentation room raised their hands to indicate their CRA offers Social Media Searches. Of course, but be aware:

a. From EEOC: Personal information such as that gleaned from social media posting may not be used to make employment decisions on prohibited bases such as: race, color, age, gender, national origin, disability, veteran status, citizenship or genetic information.

b. From FTC: A party that does social media searches for sale for employment purposes is a CRA and these reports can be used in hiring decisions and are consumer reports requiring FCRA action regarding adverse information (potentially illegal activity, potentially violent conduct, sexually explicit material, demonstrations of racism/intolerance).

3. Compliance: Scott Paler presented “The Seven Biggest Questions All CRAs Should Be Asking” where he took a new approach. He provided CRAs with internal questions to review their current practices and focus on minimizing risk. While the questions were important, one of the most shocking was regarding insurance. Scott estimated that half the CRAs in the room probably had insufficient E&O insurance, which would not cover them when it really mattered. Also of note was that this session was standing room only with people standing out in the halls trying to listen in to the valuable material. This is a clear indication that CRAs all realize the importance of staying ahead of the curve on compliance and litigation risk.

4. End Users: Managing Expectations between CRAs and End Users was well-attended and offered valuable insights into the needs and wants of the end user. Susan Smith of CarMax, Don Place of Raytheon and Rebecca Weiser, Chair of the NAPBS End-User Advisory Group and formerly of Boeing offered informed recommendations based on their many years of experience.

The key takeaway here was that communication is key throughout all phases of interaction with the end user – from contract negotiation to ongoing business. Each representative at the end user has unique needs and preferences. Take the time to understand how your client wants to conduct business….via email, phone or newsletter? With what frequency should you make contact? Additional knowledge shared:

a. The RFP process: the team acknowledged this is different for different sized companies but the CRA must be able to answer the end user questions or else you are out of the running. If there are non-negotiable items, please note them up front to save both parties time and effort.

b. How end-users choose their CRA: The big companies choose their CRAs a little differently from one another. One has all stakeholders weigh in and they use a point system. Another requires NAPBS accreditation.

c. Other critical requirements for a CRA: integration with mobile technology and having an ATS you can offer.

5. Employee Engagement: “Best Place to Work: Designing an Engaging Company Culture” presented by Tammy Cohen of InfoMart. The takeaway here was the more you engage with employees, the happier they are and the longer they stay with the company. It is important to build and maintain an employee-centered, supportive culture for morale. This engagement leads to increased productivity. Tammy mentioned that 65% of new employees look for a new job within the first 3 months, so finding ways to engage and draw new hires into the company culture quickly is critical to retention.

Again, all session presentations can be found by NAPBS members at:

Five Takeaways from the Conference

  1. The industry is booming as strong performance is seen throughout the US CRAs.
  2. Seller’s market: There are many serious buyers actively looking to acquire CRAs.
  3. Class actions are the biggest risk to CRAs today
  4. So much value is gained from attending the NAPBS conference: learning about compliance, business, data sourcing and technology, strengthening supplier and team relationships, forming new connections, having fun and finding inspiration for the busy days ahead.
  5. Global is Local!


Membership continues to grow and attendance at the conference was up 7% over last year. FCRA basic certifications are at 2,068, up 21%, Advanced Certifications are at 705, up 20% and Provider certifications are up 10%. Accredited companies are at 108, up 17%. NAPBS revenues are strong, up over 73% from 2013 to 2018 ($2.6m in 2018).

Thanks to everyone who made it to this year’s annual conference. Plan to come to the mid-year conference in Arlington, VA March 24-26, 2019. We will be in booth #308. The conferences are critical to our industry because the environment is ever changing and this is one way to ensure you and your team are up to speed on everything that’s happening. We look forward to seeing you then.