Bruce’s Mid-Year 2021 PBSA Conference Report

Monday, April 19: PBSA Legislative Conference Day 1

Thanks to the continued presence of Covid-19 in our lives, the mid-year 2021 PBSA legislative conference was held once again on a virtual platform. We are grateful to the PBSA team, the tech team and the many volunteers for their hard work on creating a forum where we could gather.

What we hope was the final fully VIRTUAL conference kicked off with the opening ceremony. Current PBSA board chair Michelle LeBlond (PlusOne Solutions) & Melissa Sorenson (PBSA Executive Director) cheerfully opened up to welcome everyone and were met with some audio challenges. While it was difficult to understand the first few minutes, tech gurus in the background straightened out the issues and we were able to get the main points.  PBSA work continues to push forward on global efforts, government issues, monitoring laws that impact our industry and release of the 5th annual end user survey. Thank you to Michelle for her strong leadership and exhaustive effort to keep our association moving forward during this unprecedented time. Attendance numbers were excellent for this year’s conference given the state of affairs with 455 registered attendees – similar to what we would see for an in-person Mid-Year conference. 

Background Screening Educational Session Highlights

All of the educational sessions we attended were pre-recorded. Both presenters and audience members appreciated this set-up as this allowed for active and live chat during the sessions where the presenter was able to answer real-time questions.

As always, the sessions offered struck a nice balance across the familiar categories of legal/compliance, business, drug-testing, FCRA, general interest, international and tenant screening.

Kelly Uebel (Asurint and PBSA chair-elect) deftly hosted the keynote session. The one hour conversational style address was a fun way to kick off the conference and drew in a large percentage of registered attendees.

Pamela Devata (Seyfarth Shaw LLP) presented a masterclass and as always received record numbers of attentive audience viewers!


The new virtual platform for this conference arranged for “networking tables”. This novel experience was made fun by displaying pictures of the attendees “seated” at the table. As you looked through the various table options (criminal reporting, verifications, the Beatles, 80’s music etc..) you could choose to join an ongoing conversation or start anew. There were scheduled times when the networking tables were accessible – during the day and during happy hours. We enjoyed touching base with friends, colleagues, first time conference goers and some pet zoom crashers!

Attendees engaged with one another through the online PBSA contest. Points were earned for completing various actions such as: visiting a sponsor profile, setting up a meeting, adding to the chat, listening to a live session and more. Many attendees and sponsors were active in the contest which included some self-proclaimed uber competitive folks (Esther Slater McDonald Seyfarth Shaw LLP) fighting to reach the #1 position which earned them a free future conference registration and the glory of the win.


Tuesday, April 20: PBSA Legislative Conference Day 2

Day two of the PBSA legislative conference opened with “Meet the PBSA Board of Directors”. Board members shared one noteworthy piece of their involvement with PBSA, and one food they could not live without. This quick rotation around the zoom gave the audience a quick snapshot of the positive work that volunteers do for our industry and delivered a little levity by telling us their favorite foods. 

Fair Chance Screening was a timely and thoughtful discussion topic held between Barry Nixon (, Krisy Bucher (Appriss Insights), Lester Rosen (Employment Screening Resources) and Rachel Theisen (InCheck, Inc.).

Closing out the conference at the end of day two was veteran PBSA conference presenter Scott Paler (Dewitt LLP) who evaluated continuous monitoring and social media searches for conference attendees.


News around the industry: is exiting the NatCrim wholesale business. Owens Online has a new website. SJV is creating a marketplace for instant verifications data exchange to avoid manual repeats. TazWorks was sold in December 2020 to Meridien.

Many businesses reported closing offices, letting office lease space lapse and expect to continue remote work for the foreseeable future – even post COVID19. On a good note, employees have risen to the occasion and people are working harder than ever. With this in mind, many expect to work from home for a while. In time some employers expect to offer the option to be in the office. The upcoming fall season appears to be an inflection point when businesses will make decisions on whether staff will be in the office, continue to work-from-home or execute a hybrid of each.  

Key Takeaways:

  1. 2021 sales are growing and the year is off to a notable better start than that of 2020.
  2. Optimism prevails as seen and heard at the PBSA legislative conference.
  3. The PBSA continues to do important work. Join the many talented people who work to strengthen our industry and volunteer with PBSA.
  4. M&A is starting to heat up again. If you’re looking to sell don’t sign a deal without first talking to our M&A team to ensure you’re getting the best offer for your business.


Wishing you good health and I will hope to see everyone in person at the annual conference September 12-14 in Anaheim, CA.



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