NAPBS 2019 Annual Conference Report


2019 Professional Background Screening Association Annual Conference

San Antonio, TX September 8-10, 2019

Professional Background Screening Conference Image

Well, the BIG NEWS at this year’s professional background screening conference was the association name and branding change from NAPBS to PBSA: Professional Background Screening Association. The change was made with great fanfare, to respond to the borderless nature of the industry. Changes to the bylaws and membership structure were voted on and approved during the opening ceremony. Everyone celebrated with a balloon drop and champagne toast! Full details of this transforming change may be viewed on the new website:  Please take note of the October 1 deadline for switching out the old NAPBS logo for the new PBSA logo on all websites and materials.

Attendance was hearty with 635 attendees and 269 exhibitor personnel.  Pretty sure this is a new record. The conference is three days but the time goes so fast.  It all started with the board meeting, the advanced FCRA course and exam, and then Anna Brooks holding her ambassador training for those members who volunteered to help out during the conference. Serving as an ambassador helps the conference planners to direct people to sessions, food and services. The volunteers also support the presenters during their sessions. It’s a great way to help out and meet other members.

Registration was bustling as most attendees appeared to arrive within the same time frame. Great opportunity to connect and reconnect with colleagues while in line.

Exhibit Hall set up – fun time with everyone arriving and working to get booths set up for a 6PM opening.

Many old and new faces were seen at the 4PM networking reception. Professional background screening attendees were chatting up colleagues and first time attendees.  The borderless nature of our industry was visible in this setting as colleagues from across the globe were present.

Next it was on to the (extended) opening ceremony with Angela Preston of Sterling, completing her term as chair of the association.

Bon Idziak of Accurate Background assumed his role as the new Chairperson of the PBSA. He thanked the past board members and committee leaders for their selfless service. Bon asked attendees about their “firsts” experienced as a professional background screener with the association. He asked for example, who presented in front of a large audience for the first time at an NAPBS conference? Who met with a congressman in their office through NAPBS? etc.… It was a very cool way to show shared mission and appreciation for the association that bonds us!  Of course my ‘first’ was that I was the first employer of Mr. Idziak in our industry when I hired him as a sales rep 20 years ago!!—Congrats Bon.

Michelle Leblond of PlusOne Solutions is the chair-elect. Dustin Dahl of SJV won closest to the pin in the Sue Weaver Cause golf tournament. Heidi Patti of Innovative won the women’s longest ball.

The annual Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed the Mike Sankey Lifetime Achievement Award. This year’s winner was industry guru, NAPBS founding member and our first Chair, Mr. Les Rosen of Employment Screening Resources (ESR). Thoughtful and comical comments were made by Mike’s wife Lynn Sankey, Dawn Standerwick (ESR), Jason Morris (Morris Consulting Group) and Bob Capwell (EBI). Dawn noted that the industry at its inception needed a collective voice and established standards. She shared that Les was the catalyst who led the charge. BTW, when the association asked me who should be the second recipient of this Award, all I could say was “there is no other choice but Les”.  Congrats my friend, well-earned.

People, Places, Stuff and Changes:

  • Lots of talk about PACER, specifically the need to include DOB and other identifiers just like other court repositories, putting people to work faster. PBSA efforts continue on this front.
  • Innovative Enterprises was acquired by Appriss
  • ISS is now known as ISS World Watch Plus
  • GAPRS is rebranded as TruCordis. Tru from “true”, Cordis being “of the heart”).  Thanks for this name change so we can all be less confused.
  • Billie Lee and Lana Batts, Co-Founders of Driver-IQ (Cisive) will be stepping down at the end of year but will remain of counsel. Great run!
  • Todd Hensley, a guy with 20 years of experience in our industry takes over as President of Driver-IQ.
  • Ben Goldberg has left his CEO position at Aurico-CareerBuilder, the company his father founded.
  • Crystal Carroll has joined AccuSearch as their CFO.
  • Brad Odil is the new COO at Reference Service, Inc.
  • Appriss acquired Public Data Acquisition.
  • Strategic Information Services (SIR) sold to Datafacts.
  • Checkr acquired Themis Data Solutions, spun off from Experian.
  • Kym Kurey is passionate about her volunteer work with her new non-profit called ANEW Life International to help survivors of human trafficking clear their records, raise awareness, reduce vulnerability and recidivism, and provide a safe haven for recovery.
  • So nice to see Stacey Killingsworth (CRI) after so many years of absence.
  • Camille Gamble is now with AccioData.  Congrats Camille.
  • Dan Shoemaker has left his CEO position at PeopleFacts.
  • The Pre-Check Company (Bob Drusendahl) sold in July using our services.
  • Christian Moore was sporting a uniquely fashionable beard look. 
  • Bill Bollinger exited Innovative when they were acquired and is now semi-retired, but still in attendance at the conference.
  • Barak Zimmerman has a new kidney and is feeling better than he has felt in 12 years.  The kidney was donated by one of his obviously dedicated employees, Brittany Peters. Kudos, Brittany.
  • Angela Allen of the PBSA, was married this year and now goes by her married name Angela Estes. Congratulations Angela!
  • Dave Dickson has moved to Accurate Background as their Chief Product Officer after 12 years with Sterling.
  • Laura Trotter is the new CMO at Accurate Background.
  • Jan Essex Raquinio was promoted to supervisor at Accurate Background.
  • Robyn Barker moved from HireRight (five years) to Accurate Background as Enterprise Accounts Executive.
  • Paata Stanley is back in the industry with Career Builder.
  • Eric Rinsky moved from a seven year stint at CastleBranch to CareerBuilder.
  • Robert Keller moved over from CastleBranch to Viewpoint Screening as VP of Sales.
  • Pat Dunty just took his third promotion at CastleBranch as VP of Sales.
  • Jen Welch moved over from GIS/HireRight to Checkr.
  • Ed Crussell moved from DISA to HireRight as Business Development Manager.
  • Lauren Adams took her fifth position at HireRight into Account Management.
  • Shannon Shoemaker moved up to VP Brands and Partnerships at Cisive.
  • Alicia Egli was promoted to Compliance Supervisor at RSI.
  • Val Butler moved from the Director to Chief Operating Officer at Info Cubic.
  • Tom Kathman moved from Equifax and First Advantage to Data Facts as Senior National Account Executive.
  • David Nadell is now with Crimcheck as the National Director of Partnerships.
  • Brian Silver was promoted to Director of Client Experience at PreCheck.
  • Max Wesman celebrates his fourth promotion with GoodHire, now their Chief Operating Officer.

Educational Session Highlights

There were many informative sessions held at this background screening conference. PBSA members can access the conference presentations here. We sat in on the following:

Automation Domination – Web-Extraction and The Scalability for Driving Down Costs: delved into the various forms of automation from robotic process automation (RPA) – which uses software, not robots, to AI and machine learning. Presenters Nick Kelland of SJV and Andy Hellman of Accurate Background pointed out the obvious benefits of automation: reduced cost, reduced turnaround time, improved accuracy and compliance. However there are downsides as well, as there are with any new technology. The difficulty of scaling automation is often underestimated and right now human oversight is still required; well-trained staff involved in the design, implementation, and follow-through of a process automation will make the difference between a good RPA and a bad RPA. Going forward, the workplace will continue to evolve in the face of this changing technology; automation may replace some jobs but also create new higher-value jobs.

Pam Devata’s session is always enlightening.  Many of the takeaways come down to documentation – your policy, process, and the results. For example – matching criteria – have a policy (like one that considers middle names whenever possible), follow the policy and document the process and results.  The same can be said for disputes, particularly knowing that regulators often focus on disputes for trends to see if policies are working. Again, have a policy, follow it, document the process and results. Also consider how to prevent re-occurrence of issues through policy and documentation. Internal audits are a great tool to confirm your policies exist and are being followed.

I had the opportunity to give a presentation on Tuesday on The Current State of the Industry and What it Means for Your Business. We had a good turnout with 40% of the group being CRA owners, a couple of Tenant Screeners, another bunch of folks who work for CRAs, about 20% who worked for suppliers to the industry plus a couple of end users.  The key point that I shared is that we have had huge changes to our industry in the past 30 years since I have been involved. You need to get ready for at least as many changes in the next 20-30 years.  Do this by dedicating resources to sales, tighten up operations, stay informed, be compliant and plan for contingencies.

Five Takeaways from the Conference

  1. Our background screening industry is global. Global CRAs, global clients, global providers.
  2. Governments will continue to create laws that complicate and lawyers will continue to find fertile ground relating in our industry.
  3. The industry is still healthy due to our strong economy, but how long will that strong economy continue as it is currently in its longest expansion on record? Read here for a thought on the economy.
  4. Better sourcing of data at lower costs is a never-ending requirement.
  5. You just don’t know what you don’t know.  Get educated via PBSA, your competitors and from consultants serving our industry.


Membership continues to grow. FCRA basic certifications are at 828, up 17% over last year and accredited companies are at 114, up 5%.

The association provides a tremendous service to the industry and the members. Thanks to everyone who made it to this year’s annual conference. Plan to come to the mid-year conference in Arlington, VA April 19-21, 2019. We will be in booth #400.