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Trade Association News:
Make Time for Education and Networking

The year has been busy, but it's far from over. If your schedule isn't already booked from now through the holidays, join an industry trade association and take a few days to attend an upcoming event. Several are still on the calendar.

Trade associations provide educational and networking opportunities to learn about the latest industry trends while building relationships with peers. Following are the latest news and updates from each organization. More information on the conferences, such as agendas and direct links for registration and hotels, is available on each association's Web site.


ATM Industry Assoc. (ATMIA)

ATMIA, the only international, independent forum for the ATM industry, is gearing up for Conference West 2005, "North American ATM Debit Summit." The event will take place Sept. 14 - 16 at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz. Workshops and speakers will cover hot topics such as identity theft, fraud and ATM security; ISO training; marketing and branding; stored value cards; and compliance issues. The event will also include Global ATM Security Alliance (GASA) and ATMIA committee updates.

ATMIA recently launched several new initiatives, including a global fraud alert service called Fraud Alert Services Team (FAST). Focused on multichannel security alerts for financial services, FAST will collate and distribute fraud alerts from a variety of sources such as GASA. GASA is made up of law enforcement and fraud prevention agencies, card schemes like Visa and MasterCard, ATM networks, industry associations, manufacturers, cash-in-transit groups and security consultancies from around the world.

"There is growing interest in multichannel integration and in holistic lifecycle security in our industry, and the two go hand in hand for business and fraud-prevention reasons," said Mike Lee, ATMIA Chief Executive Officer. "The future is looking bright for the industry, but there is still a lot of education needed in the public relations field about the industry."

In other news, GASA established the Multichannel Security Forum for the self-service industry. The Forum's purpose is to create intelligence for tracking migration patterns across channels; develop vertically integrated strategies for countering cross-channel fraud migration; and reach cross-business consensus on the security of all card-accepting devices. For more information about ATMIA, contact Lana Harmelink, ATMIA's International Director of Operations at .

Electronic Transactions Assoc. (ETA)

Calling all payments executives. The 2005 ETA Strategic Leadership and Networking Forum (SLNF) will take place Sept. 27 - 29 in Charleston, S.C. "The focus of the program is all about key issues that are shaping the future of our industry," said Carla Balakgie, ETA's Executive Director. "This year we really worked hard to create a balance between cutting edge, future-issue-oriented programming and a lot of time for people to do business with each other."

The opening session, featuring Michael Treacy, a corporate strategy and business process transformation expert, begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, followed by an evening reception. Wednesday offers a networking breakfast and three back-to-back, two-hour-plus presentations, including a macro view of payments trends.

Thursday will include a special session that focuses on key legislative and regulatory issues affecting the payments industry, followed by a closing presentation and a special executive session with highly energetic motivational speaker, Tom Peters.

ETA Busy in Washington

Balakgie said ETA has been especially active with work in the area of government relations. She said this is "both out of design and out of necessity ... because there is a whole lot of scrutiny on high profile data security breaches and other things, which are leading to a sort of frenzy around pending legislation."

Preceding the July 21 hearings by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services, Balakgie, ETA's President Dan Neistadt, and several ETA Board members met with members of the committee and staff in preparation for the hearings. "That happened because we are a trade association located in Washington," Balakgie said. "They recognize who we represent and they engaged us for discussion and opinion. We also prepared a statement for the Congressional Record ... of things we think are important in terms of what should be in potential legislation and as a way of representing our constituents' interests.

"We're also being pretty active with regard to trying to work with the card Associations on our own forms of regulation, if you will, because if you self-regulate well, the government doesn't need to regulate you."

Improving Communication and Education

As part of plans to improve its publication and communications services, ETA hired Rob Drozdowski to serve as Senior Director, Information Resources and "subject-matter expert." Drozdowski will be responsible for the identification, collection and dissemination of informational resources on the electronic payments industry.

He will also aid in the execution of ETA's industry relations activities with regard to relationship management and issues advocacy with the card companies. He most recently worked with the American Community Bankers Association. ETA also has plans to improve the ETA University program. The organization is looking to provide content: 1) through classes provided exclusively by ETA and 2) through partnerships with member companies.

ETA Expo Networks TBD

The final ETA Expo Network for 2005 took place June 23 - 24 in downtown Los Angeles. These events offered back-to-back presentations, a networking lunch, and vendor exhibits. Will ETA hold the Expo Networks in 2006? "We haven't scheduled any yet, but we're still formulating our plans," Balakgie said. "We will be doing something. We are looking at everything we did, and we're taking the time to figure out what worked and what didn't. We had very good evaluations [from attendees] on ... the educational programs, the quality, the level of professionalism and the people who came. The core group of exhibitors that stuck with it really liked the event. It was a wonderful learning experience, and we really gave something of quality. Our challenge was ... we would have liked to have more people."

Coming Soon to Las Vegas

The 2006 ETA Annual Meeting & Expo will take place April 18 - 20, 2006 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. ETA is accepting presentation ideas for this event through Aug. 31. For more information on ETA, call 800-695-5509 or visit .

National Assoc. of Payment Professionals (NAOPP)

NAOPP, a nonprofit organization working to bridge the gap between merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and other segments of the payment processing industry, appointed Ernie Crews, an MLS based in Marina Del Rey, Calif. to the position of NAOPP Vice President.

The Vice President position opened up when former NAOPP President Matthew Swinnerton resigned in order to pursue a new career opportunity outside the payment processing industry, and Kathy Harper, former NAOPP Vice President, took over as President. Crews has more than three years' experience in the payment processing industry. He most recently served as a member of NAOPP's Board of Directors.

He will also serve as NAOPP's Benefits Committee Chairman. In this role, he will evaluate the current member benefits available and will survey members quarterly to learn of any additional benefits that they'd like to receive. He is currently seeking committee members to help with this task. To volunteer to work on the Benefits Committee, call Crews at 310-822-2851 or e-mail him at .

NAOPP Invited to BPS Sales Meeting

In other news, Business Payment Systems (BPS) extended an invitation to NAOPP to attend its annual sales conference, held in Las Vegas, Aug. 17 - 19. BPS, a registered ISO/MSP of Bank of America, NA, representing National Processing Co., holds a meeting each year for its sales reps and those providing services to or interested in working with the company. About 200 people attend. BPS President Steven Feldshuh said it was "an ideal opportunity for NAOPP to present its benefits to its target audience, the feet on the street. At BPS, we pride ourselves on dedication to our sales reps, and we see it as a win-win for our agents to be exposed to NAOPP."

Kathy Harper called the sales meeting "the perfect forum" for NAOPP. "One of our greatest challenges as an organization is getting in front of the MLS, and presenting to an ISO conference audience is the ideal scenario," she said. "We are excited to have the ISO community taking note of our association, and we are particularly grateful to BPS for being the first to offer us this fantastic opportunity." For more information on NAOPP, visit .


Midwest Acquirers' Assoc. (MWAA)

More than 500 people attended MWAA's third annual conference in Chicago, held July 27 - 29 at The Renaissance Chicago hotel. "This was truly our best show ever," said Mark Dunn, MWAA President. "The MWAA Board members did a remarkable job. We are very pleased with the attendance numbers because this group represents a wide sampling of Midwestern and national players.

"The last two years, Heartland Payment Systems coordinated a major sales meeting with the show that brought us 50 - 80 attendees just from that one company. We didn't have that this year and still had a great conference," he said.

On Thursday, July 28, the MWAA conference offered the opening presentation "Maximizing Your Merchant Point-of-sale Strategy With Debit Acceptance" by Teri Koenke of First Data Corp.

Two panel discussions included "Sales Opportunities and POS Cardholder Security" with Mike Petitti of AmbironTrustWave serving as panel moderator, and "Industry Trends' Impact on Your Business," with Marc Gardner of North American Bancard and Mike Ponder of Integrity Bankcard Services.

Afternoon keynote speaker, Blair Singer, a nationally acclaimed sales speaker and creator of, presented "Reprogram Your Brain." In an hour-and-a-half talk, Singer explained the basic requirements for selling in a complex environment like merchant acquiring.

More than 65 vendors participated in the conference, and attendees were offered quality time with them in the exhibit hall during the opening and closing receptions. MWAA also continued its tradition of thanking MLS attendees by giving away 20 $500 American Express Co. gift cards to randomly selected agents. A charity poker tournament sponsored by United Bank Card Inc. was held from 8:00 p.m. to midnight on the night of July 28.

MWAA Recognizes a Lifetime of Achievement

MWAA presented its third annual Lifetime Achievement Award to John Rante, President of Online Data Corp. Rante accepted the award from MWAA Board members Caroline Marino and Mark Dunn. He made a brief acceptance speech and extended a heartfelt thank you to his staff and his wife for their support.

Field Guide for ISOs

Preceding the MWAA conference on July 27, Mark Dunn of Field Guide Enterprises LLC, held a Field Guide for ISOs seminar (an event independent of MWAA) entitled, "Achieving Success in Merchant Level Sales." Fifty-three people attended.

From 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with a short break for lunch), eight industry leaders shared what they have learned in their years of selling.

Some of the Field Guide presentations included: "Developing a Sticky, Profitable Market Niche" by Greg Cohen of Global Payments Inc.; "Hiring and Training Inside Sales Reps to Sell for You," by Alan Gitles of Landmark Merchant Solutions; and "Training and Monitoring a Field Sales Organization," by Matt Clyne of Optimal Payments Corp.

New MWAA Advisory Board

MWAA announced appointments to its newly created Advisory Board. The MWAA Advisory Board will provide the MWAA Board with assistance in guiding, planning and executing MWAA's strategic direction and activities for the association's annual conference. The new members of the MWAA Advisory Board are:

  • Donna Ayres, NAFG Marketing Manager, VeriFone
  • Brent Barg, Principal, SolutionFinders Inc.
  • Rod Katzfey, Senior Vice President General Manager, ABN AMRO Merchant Services
  • Juan Ortiz, Business Development Manager, Online Data Corp.
  • Mike Petitti, Senior Vice President of Marketing, AmbironTrustWave
  • Mistee Spry, Operations Manager, Terminal Services, General Credit Forms

"The Advisory Board is critical to the continued improvement of our organization and our annual conference," Dunn said. "We highly value their input ... from securing additional sponsorships to developing the agenda. We are very happy to have such an intelligent and energetic group working with us."

For more information about MWAA, visit or e-mail Jim McCormick at .

Northeast Acquirers' Assoc. (NEAA)

Although NEAA Board members are still shining from the association's 20th anniversary party, the Summer Meeting and Seminar held June 7 - 9 in Wilmington, Del. (429 attendees overall and 85 vendors), the Board is already preparing for NEAA's 2006 events.

The Winter Meeting is set for Jan. 31 - Feb. 2, 2006 in Mt. Snow, Vt., and plans for next year's Summer Meeting are in the works. For more information about NEAA, visit NEAA's Web site, or e-mail Jacques Breton at or call him at 603-692-2408.

Southeast Acquirers' Assoc. (SEAA)

Coming up in October is SEAA's Fifth Annual Information and Educational Conference. SEAA will hold the event October 19 - 21, at the Wyndham Canal Place Hotel in New Orleans. To reserve a room and lock in the reduced room rate of $145, call 504-566-7006 (be sure to say you're with SEAA). The regional acquirers' events offer an excellent and affordable opportunity for ISOs and MLSs to network and learn about the latest news, and offerings in the industry. Audrey Blackmon, SEAA's Vice President, said SEAA's focus this year is on "how to sell."

The conference kicks off with an evening reception, followed by a charity poker tournament. Day two includes breakfast, time with vendors, a networking lunch, and an afternoon of educational seminars. A cocktail reception and a Ghost and French Quarter Tour will close out the day. Day three offers a networking breakfast.

"The agenda will be filled with successful salespeople sharing their success stories," Blackmon said. A highlight is the "panel of peers," a group of successful ISOs discussing how they grew their business. Nominate a panelist on SEAA's Web site.

For more information about SEAA, visit SEAA's Web site or e-mail Blackmon at .

Western States Acquirers' Assoc. (WSAA)

November is just around the corner, and WSAA is preparing for its second annual meeting. The event will take place Nov. 2 - 3 at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla hotel.

The early bird registration deadline is Oct. 15, and people who register early will receive $50 off the registration fee. WSAA will charge those registering after Oct. 15 $125. Attendees may register online or by fax or mail. Visit WSAA's Web site for registration information.

The Marriott is offering all WSAA participants a discounted room rate of $139, which is also available three days prior to and after the event.

You may make hotel reservations on the Marriott's Web site, through WSAA's Web site, or by calling the Marriott at 800-228-9290 (be sure to reference group code Weswesa).

Highlights of the meeting include two keynote speakers, an NAOPP meeting, a Field Guide for ISOs seminar, multiple educational breakout sessions covering hot industry topics and door prizes worth more than $1,000. For more information about WSAA, call Steve Eazell at 866-300-3376 or e-mail him at .

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
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