ATA Adds Two to Board; Financial Survival Expected

The American Teleservices Association has elected two new board members and has begun forming priorities for servicing its members moving forward, according to Gordon McKenna, president of the new board.

The newest members of the board are Tim Searcy, newly appointed president of Optima Direct Inc., Vienna, VA; and Cliff Critchlow, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Convergys Corp., Cincinnati. They join other recently elected board members McKenna, founder and chairman of Telequest, Arlington, TX; Kent Stormberg, president of CAS Inc., Omaha, NE; and William Miklas, general manager of Sitel Corp., Baltimore, in replacing the incumbent board.

The association will fill three more positions and plans to draw from companies who are users of teleservices such as telephone or credit card companies rather than service agencies for the remaining positions.

Moving forward, the ATA will focus on providing its members with legislative training and networking opportunities and on serving as a voice for the industry, said McKenna. The association also will work on rebuilding its local chapter network, and it has had a few tentative meetings in different cities where members have expressed interest in local chapters.

“We are going to let the groundswell create new chapters,” McKenna said. “We are not going to choose different cities and begin chapters – we are going to listen to groups of members in different places who want to support a chapter in their area.”

As the association completes an assessment of its financial situation, the state of its funds appears better than original estimates.

“We are not in a deficit as we originally thought, so the question of financial survival is a moot one,” McKenna said.

To keep costs down, the staff has been trimmed to three from 10 last year. Interviews for a new CEO are in progress.

The association will have a meeting to fully develop its strategic plan for 2000 before the end of the year. A letter will be sent to members detailing the changes in the ATA, its financial situation and its direction once plans have been finalized.

“I don’t think it’s a burning issue for most of our members right now,” McKenna said. “We want to have all our people in place, finish working on our strategy and then inform everyone of our plan.” n

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