Following the NEAA Winter 2014 Seminar & Outing in late January, one of the Northeast Acquirers Association's original founding members, Jacques Breton, gave notice of resignation as Treasurer of the NEAA, effective March 1. A letter posted on his Facebook page read, "After 29 years being one of the original founders, it is time to move on. It is time for new faces and new ideas. Please continue to support the NEAA as you have in the past. I look forward to seeing many of you at the other regional meetings and future NEAA events."
Under his direction, the Northeast Bankcard Association, founded in 1985, became the Northeast Acquirers Association in 1997, making it the first regional trade association to serve the burgeoning ISO and merchant level salesperson (MLS) community. Over the years, Breton has guided countless ISOs and MLSs, as well as helped inspire the creation of regional acquiring associations in the Southeast, Midwest and West.
"Jacques' contribution to the NEAA and to other regional shows that exist because of the NEAA has been incredible right from the start," said Nancy Austin, Senior Sales Executive at VeriFone Inc. and NEAA Vice President. "He remains one of my closest friends, and I know that whenever we need his guidance it will be forthcoming without question."
NEAA Board Member Ruth Gorski, Senior Relationship Manager at American Express Co., stated, "As one of the founding members, Jacques Breton was the driving force of NEAA's success, and other regional associations that followed his lead – SEAA, MWAA and the WSAA. These shows have become valuable educational and networking events for sales agents, product providers and industry experts. Jacques should be proud of what he has built, and his legacy will live on through the continuing success of the NEAA."
John McCormick, of General Credit Forms, who spearheaded formation of the Southeast Acquirers Association in 2000, is a longtime Breton colleague. McCormick was struck by how sociable the first NEAA meeting he attended was. "People were talking in the aisles," he noted. "It had a great community aspect. Taking people under his wing, Jacques always seemed to get the most satisfaction when he was able to make his friends happy and successful."
In looking back over his 29 years of service, Breton said. "The thing behind it all, if you go back to the original meaning of why NEAA was formed, was to provide an opportunity for people to network, meet with their peers, discuss their problems and get information about what is going on in the industry. Over the years we've accomplished all of that."
As the payments industry evolves, the regional association tradeshows continue to focus on presenting relevant vendors and training sessions to keep pace. "Registration for the NEAA is free if you are pre-registered," Breton said. "If you look at airfare, rooms, etc., the regionals are much more economical for the MLSs and small ISOs. And, yes, they won't get 400 vendors. They'll get 100. But they get 100 of the best, I think. We're seeing a whole new breed of vendors coming in."
Breton said he expects to remain busy as Vice President ISO Sales for My Clear Reports; an adviser to his son Joel, who operates MJM Associates Inc., an ISO that serves an estimated 800 merchants; and a devoted member of his extended family.
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