ATA 2008 Washington Summit

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

The ATA 2008 Washington Summit was held on April 27-30 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

After an opening reception on Sunday evening, Phil Grudzinski (chair, ATA board of directors) welcomed attendees to the Summit’s first full day. Tim Searcy (ATA, CEO) followed with an overview of the ATA SRO (Self-Regulatory Organization), with Rick Stauffer (COO, PossibleNow) and Ken Sponsler (general manager, CompliancePoint) providing details about the program’s Web interface. The first certified SRO auditors are expected in early fall, with accredited call centers to be announced at the ATA Convention & Expo in San Antonio, October 5-8, 2008.

Steve Ligouri (CMO, GE Money Americas) then discussed regulatory positions and the impact on customer touchpoints. A working SRO lunch was led by Joe Sanscrainte (attorney for Bryan Cave).

After lunch, Tim Searcy and Jerry Cerasale (SVP, Government Affairs, DMA), shared a vision for ongoing cooperative legislative advocacy between the ATA and DMA. Next, Lois Greisman (director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Marketing Practices) made a positive and encouraging presentation, including topics such as DNC privacy issues and telemarketing fraud.  Monday’s sessions concluded with Jerry Kilgore (former Virginia attorney general) offering his perspective of consumer protection at the state level. The day was capped off with an ATA-PAC dinner cruise.

Tuesday began with Tim Searcy’s vision of how ATA and its members can make a difference, introducing its new initiative, Call Centers Care.  After that, a panel of Allan Hile (assistant director, Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection) and John Krebs (FTC attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection) discussed regulatory priorities at the FTC. Then, keynote speaker Paul Begala mesmerized all with his political acumen and commentary on the U.S. presidential election.

After another working lunch, Howard Nusbaum (president and CEO, American Resort Development Association – ARDA) shared his organization’s success in growing its PAC to become one of the largest trade association PACs in the nation.

This was followed by a panel discussion on compliance issues. The panel consisted of Dean Garfinkel (chairman/CEO, Call Compliance), Reid Houser (VP/compliance officer, Sitel), Noreen Kaminski (VP, Government Affairs and Legislative Compliance, Dial America), Michele Shuster (managing partner, MacMurray, Cook, Peterson, and Shuster), and Ryan Thurman (director of sales and marketing, Contact Compliance).

The regulatory update by the team of Mitch Roth (ATA council) and Joe Sanscrainte was equally interesting, especially regarding state issues, as there are some misguided bills pending that need attention. The day concluded with a Capital Hill networking reception; Wednesday was reserved for legislative appointments.

[From Connection Magazine June 2008]