Conference Review – RSIG AFA Conference San Diego 2017

It was a beautiful week in San Diego as hundreds of RSIG and AFA Member gathered for the RSIG AFA Conference in San Diego. With the combined associations all in one place, the ball rooms were packed and I knew very quickly that this was going to be a stellar event.

Socializing with old friends and new are at least half of the value in these events and this was definitely loaded with some great times! I hadn’t been to an association event in a couple of years and I definitely found the right one to attend! Within minutes of arriving I was quickly carousing in conversation with old friends and had the chance to talk with my old dear and departed friend Lee McDaniel’s son Robert, who was now at the helm of his father’s company, Eagle Adjusters as well as Luke Smith of MVTRAC and many others such as Michael and Lee from Detroit Wreckers Sales.

Wednesday started with event registration and aside from some formal board meetings, was led by a training seminar by Michele Stuart of JAG Investigations who helped teach attendees the ins and outs of social media and internet profiling, which are very important skills to sharpen for skip tracing skills and improving recovery rates.

At the end of the day, we all gathered outside the Hotel on the Bayview Lawn and enjoyed a cocktail reception overlooking beautiful downtown San Diego and Coronado Naval Station while vendors Dynamic Towing and Detroit Wrecker Sales demonstrated their equipment in the adjacent parking lot. Detroit Wrecker’s show truck lit up like a carnival ride with its numerous lights and displayed a very impressive set up of their “Hercules” slide in tow model.

Thursday was highlighted by an afternoon training session on behavioral analysis titled, “Behavioral Analysis to Keep You Safe” presented by retired FBI Special Agent Dr. John Shaffer, who now resides as an Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University. Dr. Shaffer spent a great deal of time illustrating behavioral “tells” and how they can be identified and used to keep dangerous situations from getting out of control. A skill which needless to say could be very beneficial in the driveways and parking lots of America where agents tend to meet borrowers under, needless to say, confrontational situations.

Thursday night was the Recovery Agents Benefit Fund (RABF) Fundraiser in the main ball room sponsored by Lighthouse Insurance Services and a craft beer booth featuring a great variety of local brews sponsored by Recovery Database Network (RDN). There were autographed sports memorabilia from Hall of Fame athletes like Reggie Jackson of the A’ and Yankees and Steelers Great Jack Hamm and some unique 1990 Coca Cola pin up girl photos auctioned off for the RABF.

On Friday, after adjourning from breakfast, we settled in for a presentation on actual legal claim cases filed, closed and in action presented by the go to legal advisor for the AFA and it’s members, Machelle Morris, Attorney at Law. Surprisingly, some of the litigant agencies were actually in attendance and allowed to speak up for themselves on their cases. Of considerable notice was a claim in which the lender, who forwarded the account to another company, had actually filed suit against the assignee after the forwarder assigned their account to an untrained and unqualified agent who had assaulted a borrower. While several of the cases went poorly, such as the aforementioned, there were noticeable victories by agencies whose agents used patience, logic and care to avoid confrontation, damage and legal losses.

That afternoon’s training was conducted by RSIG’s very own Michael Howk, JD, who shared with the attendees some of his 30 plus years of skills acquired in the repossession and recovery industry in their NSC Professional Truck Driver Training & Certifications course. Passing attendees were issued certificates illustrating their qualifications which they can bring back to their offices and implement in the effort to display and exemplify their proficiency and commitment to professionalism and safety. Training pays off, not always in what you do, but in what you don’t do that avoids accidents!

Amongst the training material, Michael shared some stories from the field, which many of you can relate to, regarding unprofessional lot inspectors who show up as chimney sweeps (hat and all), cowboys (with horses on trailer) and retirees with no industry or inspection experience. Such visits exemplify the shoddy hiring practices employed by some lenders to make the on paper appearance of vetting and compliance.

Immediately following Michael’s training, Machelle returned for some updates on the CFPB and their future as it pertains to changes in Dodd-Frank proposed in the “Financial Choice Act”. While not optimistic of it’s passing, Machelle illustrated some of the new separation of powers and increased congressional oversight the bill would create. Unfortunately, the lobbying powers of the affected agencies, DFI, NCUA and provisions to gut the Fed’s ability to conduct monetary policy, create strong headwinds against it.

Dinner and Awards

Friday night’s Dinner and awards ceremony was definitely a highlight of what was a great three days. During dinner, several waiters and a waitress broke out in song and serenaded the crowd with some old school songs as they weaved their way through the audience and provoked some impromptu dancing and embarrassing moments, but it was all in good fun.

After dinner, RSIG and AFA rolled out the awards! RSIG in particular, had some incredible awards for some agencies that had been with them for decades and even more impressive, some that had gone over 20 years without a single claim!

RSIG Long Term Member Awards

Company First Name Last Name State Years
Southeastern Recovery David Hughes Alabama 26
Hornes Recovery & Towing Rowland Horne Jr. North Carolina 26
Eastern Services, Inc. Edward Marshall New Jersey 26
Credit Adjustment Inc. Herbert O. (Bud) Ernst Arizona 25
Clark Recovery Jim Clark Tennessee 25
Omni Recovery Services of Alabama, Inc. George (Bud) Wilkins, Jr. Alabama 25
All Pro Recovery Ser. George Mollenberg California 23
Metropolitan Rec. Bur Herbert Dougherty New Jersey 23
With Out Pink Slip Quentin Gutierrez, Jr. California 23
Acadia Recovery Inc. E. David Wescott Maine 22
Bankers Collection Company Craig Chausse Alaska 21
SNARE Inc. Danny Campbell Massachuttes 21
Smart Choice Auto Recovery Alden Seitzer Pennsylvania 21
American Recovery Specialist of Western PA John W. Curnow Pennsylvania 21
Lone Star Recovery and Adjusters, Inc. Lisa Hird Texas 21
Talon Auto Adjusters John Heinkel California 21
James Aloi Private Investigator James Aloi Florida 21
United Recovery Bureau David Scott McLaughlin Alabama 20
All American Recovery of Jacksonville Tommy Carter Florida 20
Nationwide Recovery Service Inc. Scott D. Barker New Hampshire 20
Southwest Recovery Bureau Donna Green Texas 20
Rapid Recovery, Ltd Steve Valentine Washington 20


RSIG Claim Free Membership Awards:


With Out Pink Slip Quentin Gutierrez, Jr. 23
United Recovery Bureau David McLaughlin 20
All American Recovery of Jacksonville Tommy Carter 20
Washington State Rec Svc of Bellingham Stephen Ball 18
James Aloi Private Investigator James Aloi 16
Amer Rec & Investigations of Savannah Randy Edmondson 16
George’s Asset Recovery Services, Inc George Margelos 15
Top of Texas Recovery Edward Cantu, Jr 14
B&B Auto Recovery, Inc Bryan Bond 14
Jerry Crawford Adjusters, Inc Bernard Porter 14
Lone Star Recovery of Laredo Rosa Lugo 13
Anytime Recovery Company, Inc Jeannette Schaan 13
Victory Recovery Services Tori Talbot 13
Acadia Recovery, Inc David Wescott 11
Talon Auto Adjusters John Heinkel 11
Dayton Auto Recovery, LLC Paulette Adkins McQuerry 11
County Wide Recovery Scott Schweizer 11
Bankers Collection Company Craig Chausse 10
American Asset Rec Co of Cleveland Lewis Szanyi III 10
Fast Action Recovery Walter Huff 10
Tri State Recovery of OK, LLC Steve Rowe 10
Capital Auto Recovery Services, LLC Matthew Schreiner 10
BIDS of Lake City, Inc Jackson Berry 10
K&D Recovery Donald Kimbrough 10
Recovery and Auction Services, Inc Andrew Hooper 10
American Auto Recovery Inc Charles Midgett 10


AFA Awards

George R. Badeen Award …Barbara Scheele and Carl Purvis

Leo L. Howe Award…Chuck Cowherd

Paul J. LeLeu Achievement Award…Vinnie Payne

Behind the Scenes Award…Salvatore LoDico, Bryan Finn

Golden Achievement Award…George R. Badeen

Vendor of the Year Award….Dynamic Towing & Equipment & Mfg/Anthony Gentile

The party finished with a pair of very talented and entertaining dueling pianist who took requests and ran their own spin on them dragging audience members in to sing or dance as well. Their awkward renditions of “Baby Got Back” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” are still resonating with me in an odd way! I would be remiss not to spotlight Quentin Gutierrez, Jr. Owner of Without Pink Slip out of Downey, CA. for his Elvis-like dance moves to “Blue Suede Shoes.” Sorry Quentin, I couldn’t resist! IMG_2018

As usual, there were so many old friends there and so many new friends made. Getting back into the company of my readers and the leaders of the repossession industry always humbles me in the fact they you are all so welcoming and open. Thank you to RSIG and AFA for inviting me and I hope to see you all again very soon!

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