The annual North American Recovery Summit (NARS) has again proven why the conference continues to be the CAN’T-MISS gathering of the year. Everything about this event was spot on!
Over 400-plus Recovery Agents, Clients and Vendors from across the country thundered into Irving, Texas to gather at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas for the 3-day event. The positive atmosphere encouraged everyone in attendance to learn, network and make new friends. The last couple of years have been the toughest I have ever seen in this industry, yet rather than run and hide, “Recovery Nation” is moving ahead with NARS helping to lead the way. Both last week’s and this week’s gatherings prove just how strong this industry is and that nothing can keep it down.
As I looked around the vendor room my mind began to wander to years past when, if we were lucky, there would have been just a handful of vendors representing just a couple of industries, usually Insurance and Locksmithing. By contrast, the current Summit’s selection of vendors is an amazing representation of everything needed to run a business from technology, to wreckers, to marketing, and now the all-important compliance industry. The lenders represented a who’s-who list from Ally Bank to Capital One, and everything in between. This event brought the marketplace to the recovery specialists, ultimately serving the full range of the needs of all.
During a break I noticed in-depth conversations among agents and lenders who were equally listening and sharing, so that both parties seemed to come away with more informed perspectives. The agents in attendance looked like a hall of fame ceremony, but there was also an impressive attendance of newcomers—young men and women signifying the future of the industry. The interaction between the wiser industry vets and those with newer perspectives was a heart-warming indication of continued growth and broadening horizons. Coming together, talking, sharing ideas and networking with each other—both old school and new school—brought something of value to each participant.
Every tradeshow in every industry offers the obligatory selection of speakers and seminars to provide their membership with opportunities to learn from experts both within the industry and outside specialists. NARS somehow takes it to a higher level, churning out a veritable Master’s Degree program over an action-packed three days. Despite my 28 years in this industry, I still found myself taking over 30 pages of notes. Among the classes taught were, “5 Key Truths to Riding the Digital Wave to Success” by Rick Gillman, “Why Smart Employees Under-Perform” by Doug Duncan, and “Navigating the Terrain of the CFPB” by Michael McCulley.
One of the best forums to facilitate strong growth was the panel discussions: “How to Evaluate the Health of Your Company and Your Clients”, “Expanding the Value of the State Associations”, and “Compliance Will Determine the Future of Your Business”. Having 4 to 5 experts on each panel, discussing these topics from their unique perspectives and industries provides some of the most well-rounded and thorough training and information offered.
A favorite moment of the weekend for this writer came by running into an old friend, Paul Kulas of Belles Camp. Paul is a pioneer and visionary of this industry, single-handedly inventing “Spoofing”, perhaps more commonly referred to today as “Trap Lines”. After passing each other in the hallway, we began what we thought would be a quick conversation, only to discover later that we were the only occupants left in the room. When we looked at our watches, we laughed as we realized that 3 ½ hours had passed and that it was almost 9:00PM. My experience is just one of many opportunistic encounters that came about as a result of this all-inclusive gathering fostered by NARS.
Waiting for my return flight at the Dallas airport, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The pro-industry efforts of the organizers of NARS 2013 allowed us to stand not only in the presence of the giants of the industry, but also to stand on those shoulders and witness the magnitude of our true potential.
Until Next Time… Follow me on the path to better skip-tracing!!! -Alex Price
Alex Price is a nationally-recognized expert on the Art of Skip Tracing and author of Skip Tracers National Certification Program with over 25+ years of experience in skip-tracing, collections and public speaking. Alex began his career with Barnett Bank as a field representative collecting past-due accounts. He then moved to World Omni Finance, where over the next ten years he worked in all aspects of collections and handling the nationwide charge-off skip portfolio.
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