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Monday, December 31, 2018

NEAA 2019 to celebrate acquiring veterans, newcomers

The Northeast Acquirers Association will host its 34th annual conference Jan. 16 to 17, 2019, at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. The payments industry's longest-running regional conference has focused on providing a diverse mix of exhibits, keynote presentations, breakout sessions and panel discussions aimed at educating merchant acquiring professionals. Event organizers said NEAA 2019 will continue that tradition while showcasing emerging talent, technologies and payments industry trends.

NEAA president Alan Forgione attributed the show's year-over-year growth to the nonprofit association's board of directors and hardworking volunteers. These payments insiders understand industry issues, concerns and challenges, he noted, adding, "We are committed to making the Northeast Acquirers Association the go-to organization for payments industry thought leaders, innovators, MLS veterans and MLS newcomers."

Catapult to stardom

In recent years, the NEAA has strengthened its ties with the Electronic Transactions Association while providing a platform for startup companies to compete for recognition and prizes. Now in its fourth year, the Catapult competition has showcased payments industry startups. Presiding judge Stephen Kane, principal at Stephen D. Kane Enterprises, pointed out that Catapult finalists are selected from a larger pool of applicants.

Catapult 2018's first place winner, Apptizer, a mobile order-ahead restaurant app, received $1,000 and exhibit space at the Payments Next Zone, a part of ETA Transact 18 held in Las Vegas last April. TotEats, Pop Codes and Protocol won second, third and fourth prizes, respectively.

Catapult 2019 finalists will appear before a judging panel and conference attendees at NEAA's General Session on Jan 16. Each finalist will have 10 minutes to present his or her innovation and will be rated on originality, revenue opportunity, presentation quality and market impact.

Contestants will compete for the following prizes:

  • First Place: Catapult 2019 Innovation Award Winner: $1,000 and exhibit space in the ETA's Transact19 Payments Next Zone from April 30 to May 2, 2019, at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
  • Second Place: Catapult 2019 Runner-up: $500

  • Third Place: Catapult 2019 third place: $300

  • Fourth Place: Catapult 2019 fourth place: $200

Bountiful agenda

The NEAA exhibit hall traditionally remains closed while sessions are in progress, enabling attendees, sponsors and exhibitors to experience the venue's full value, Forgione stated. The show's mix of education, entertainment and discussions will include the following:

  • Merger and acquisition panel: Moderated by Greg Cohen, president at Paya, panelists will include Jared Isaacman, CEO at Shift4; Stephen Kane, principal, Stephen D. Kane Enterprises; and Bruce Urbanek, managing director at Piper Jaffray & Co.

  • Wine tasting: This event, hosted by National Merchants Association, is destined to be a crowd pleaser.

  • Charity poker night: Back by popular demand and hosted by Harbortouch, a Shift4 company, this event will direct proceeds to charitable causes.

  • New players in the ecosystem: Amy Zirkle, ETA's vice president, industry affairs, will explore the latest in the evolving payments sphere.

  • Impact of Visa's Chargeback Reduction to CNP processing: Suresh Dakshina, president at Chargeback Gurus Inc., will explain Visa's new guidelines and how they affect ecommerce merchants.

  • Blockchain and cryptocurrency processing: Eric Brown, president at Aliant Payments, will reveal features and benefits of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

  • Spotlight on surcharging: Scott Talbott, senior vice president, government relations at ETA, will moderate a discussion on cash discounting and surcharging with panelists David Leppek, executive payment consultant; Evan Minsberg, counsel for fintech, financial services at Venable LLP; and Jonathan Razi, CEO at CardX.

  • Beyond payment processing: helping SMBs grow: Cecilia Leung, head of product, sales effectiveness and customer experience at TD Bank, will share insights on changing requirements in the small and midsize merchant space.

  • Value-add: what really adds value?: Jennifer Reichenbacher, senior vice president, Paysafe marketing at Paysafe Group, will moderate a panel that explores the changing definition of value. Slated panelists are Lori Griboski, vice president sales at Petroleum Card Services; Mark Cerminaro, chief revenue officer at RapidAdvance; Peter Shenk, director of partnerships at Womply; and Todd Whiton, executive vice president, channel and business development at Company.com.

  • Update from Washington: The ETA's Scott Talbott will offer an insider's perspective on trending regulatory, legislative and compliance issues at Capitol Hill.

  • 2019 NEAA Payments Bowl: Officiated by Donna L. Embry, senior vice president, global payment strategies at Evolve Bank & Trust, this event will be a friendly competition on trending payments industry topics. Team One's Patti Murphy, senior editor at The Green Sheet and John Stewart, editor at Digital Transactions will spar against Team Two's Vidur Datt, vice president, emerging solution sales at Mastercard and Tom Sheridan, senior account executive at Visa.

NEAA 2019 organizers said the conference includes a free mobile app to enhance networking in one-on-one and group settings. As of Dec. 28, 2018, registration is still open for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors at northeastacquirers.com/. end of article

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