*ATA Changes Name, Prepares for 1999

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The American Telemarketing Association renamed itself the American TeleServices Association Monday morning at its 15th Annual Conference here. The change came after a poll of the organization's members showed that the previous name was no longer representative of the industry.

"There are many companies with call centers that don't think of themselves as telemarketers. Many have call centers they use for customer service in a very professional way," said Gene Gray, the new president of the ATA. "The existing name was no longer inclusive."

The name change takes effect immediately.

As the new name was announced, the association's new executive vice president/CEO J. Scott Thornton outlined plans to make a more proactive effort to improve the image of the industry in mainstream media and to provide more training and education programs for members. The conference has drawn 900 attendees from 16 countries.

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