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Tuesday
Oct312017

AINS' FOIAXpress Conference 2017 Recap

Once again AINS’ FOIAXpress User Conference did not disappoint. Our customers joined us in D.C. for the 12th year for a full day of learning, inspiration and networking.

     

Each year AINS hosts its FOIAXpress User Conference & Tech Summit, aimed at bringing together its valued FOIAXpress customers to learn, network and share information in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and this year we hit the bullseye!

 

Held in the Marriott Marquis, this year’s event marked our 12th and best-attended year, featuring the theme “Transforming the Citizen Experience through Innovation.” This topic was particularly relevant to our customers as they are on the front lines every day, tasked with meeting the increasing citizen demands of better service, transparency and efficiency in the FOIA process. They use our technology, FOIAXpress, to meet and exceed those demands, thus attending our conference to stay abreast of how it will continue to evolve to help them achieve success.

 

Hundreds of FOIA professionals from across the federal government participated in comprehensive product demonstrations, featuring new capabilities and enhancements that help relieve some of the burdens of their jobs. Speakers led various sessions, offering a wide range of FOIA-related topics presented by top experts, federal employees, and AINS technology experts including:  



Emerging FOIA Issues  | Fred Sadler, Sadler Consulting

Fred, who’s been a regular speaker for us and attendee-favorite, delivered a full dose of 2018 FOIA issues, and then some, including how to be in full compliance with 2016 amendments, budget and staffing restrictions, Capstone access, Online portal and managing requester expectations. 







Why We File: Perspectives from a FOIA Requester  | Nate Jones, National Security Archive

A first-time presenter to our FOIAXpress conference, Nate switched it up a bit, offering a fresh perspective into the "what" and the "why" the National Security Archive files FOIA requests, as well as valuable best practices from a requester's perspective.






Steps to Reduce a FOIA Request Backlog  | Dick Huff & Fred Sadler 

The dynamic duo of Dick Huff and Fred Sadler used their onstage chemistry and good humor to lighten up the serious topic of request backlog. Attendees walked away with valuable tips to help avoid backlog problems, such as checking your agency’s Capstone storage and, when appropriate, considering “still interested” inquiry.







Significant Recent FOIA Decisions  Presentation  Handout  | Dick Huff, FOIA Instructor

Always a well-attended session, attendees packed the room for the opportunity to not only learn about FOIA law and how it applies to their jobs, but to learn specific cases where requesters contended the government did not follow the law to avoid pitfalls and complications in their own agencies. 







Best Practices and Lessons Learned in Mediation  | Amy Bennett, OGIS

Another fresh face to the conference this year, Amy Bennett, Management and Program Analyst for OGIS, provided an in-depth overview of the dispute process, as well as practical tips of what agencies can do to resolve disputes faster. Attendees walked away learning how to provide as much detail as possible during a dispute and techniques for being assertive, yet helpful, to address the problem irrespective of the person’s temperament – a hard skill to learn, but critical in order to be effective.




The highlight of the day was our award ceremony, created in honor of Wayne R. Jewell, a respected AINS Vice President whose work and attitude truly embodied the statement “the customer is always right,” and lives on through our team today. This year’s winner was the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Management, Office of Management Services, Information and Records Division. 
  
          
Moe Goswami, AINS CEO, presents the award to USAID.
 
Over the past year, USAID displayed an extraordinary working relationship with AINS and was instrumental in helping us enhance and expand ADR capabilities, which have proven to be an amazing addition to the product. The organization’s hard work made an impression and we look forward to our continued partnership, as well as their continued success within their FOIA office.

This conference continues to be a huge success year after year, but wouldn’t be possible without all our customers and presenters who take time out of their busy day to attend. A special “thank you” to all who participated! We hope to see you again next year!

And speaking of next year….stay tuned for our “Save the Date” post announcing our 2018 date and location!

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