Business Elevated Podcast (Episode 45)
This podcast series features business and government leaders discussing what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. This episode includes a conversation between Jim Grover, the compliance director at GOED, and Todd Jorgensen, chief revenue officer of Ident Solutions.
Welcome to the Business Elevated Podcast, where we discuss what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. Did you know Utah is frequently ranked the best state for business by Forbes? This podcast is a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Thanks for joining the conversation.
Jim Grover: (0:22) Welcome to the Business Elevated podcast. I am Jim Grover, the compliance director at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Also known as GOED. My guest today is Todd Jorgensen, who is the chief revenue officer of Ident Solutions. Todd, welcome. How’s it going?
Todd Jorgensen: (0:38) Going great, grateful to be here. Thank you.
Jim Grover: (0:42) Great. So will you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from, what your career path has been like?
Todd Jorgensen: (0:47) I’m from Cache Valley and a Utah native. I spent my entire life until recently in Logan and loved it there. My career path brought me to Farmington now, which is where the business is headquartered. I’ve been here for exactly a year. Still in Utah and thankful to continue to live in the state and to be with this awesome company.
Jim Grover: (1:13) Tell us a little bit more Ident Solutions. How did you connect with them? How did the company begin?
Todd Jorgensen: (1:19) Truthfully, for the longest time, I wanted to be pre-med and kind of went along that path for a long time and realized quickly that I loved the interaction with people and fell into sales and it started as a simple sales job. I landed a real cool gig at a large health and fitness company. I was loving what I was doing and selling and finding success and kind of grew addicted to the road and sales. It’s interesting because, on a flight out East, I sat next to an individual that was selling software. He opened my eyes to software sales and where software sales were headed, specifically SaaS. Back then, it was a newer concept. So for me, I caught the vision. I understood what he was saying. I stepped away from the hard goods, which was an industry I’m very passionate about. I enjoy fitness very much. And I took a roll on software. I ended up with Spillman Technologies, a long-term company here in Utah, out of Salt Lake City, who for 30 years served law enforcement through their products. I started there and loved it. I got to know the leadership very well and had a lot of success there. Ident Solutions was born through a concept through Spillman Technologies, and it sold in 2016 to Motorola Solutions.
Part of that acquisition is we got to keep this concept of FedCheck. The owner, Richard Spillman, and the president, Lance Clark, who was the president of Spillman Technologies, departed from the company after some time and started getting FedCheck to the marketplace. And luckily, I was brought on, about a year after that.
Jim Grover :(3:14) That’s exciting. It’s kind of like everyone rallied around the idea of a new product called FedCheck.
Todd Jorgensen: (3:20) Correct.
Jim Grover: (3:21) Tell us a little bit more about that. What is it, and how does it work?
Todd Jorgensen: (3:24) FedCheck, in its simplest explanation, is an instant comprehensive, and customizable background check. If you think about a standard hiring process, Jim, almost always, you would never consider not doing a background check on an individual. Background checks are just standard. It’s what the industry does. I don’t know of any organization that wouldn’t conduct a background check on an individual. We take that same concept and apply it to visitors, to contract workers, to temp workers, so on and so forth—anyone who was trying to gain access to a facility or an organization. Instantly we are able to give individuals an identity. We were really founded with one objective in mind. That was to provide instant data to people and companies to help them make more informed and less biased decisions, which is a topic that I think deserves a conversation. Through that mission statement, FedCheck was essentially born.
Jim Grover: (4:31) Exciting. So it appears that it’s like a litmus test and it sounds like it’s a fairly fast process.
Todd Jorgensen: (4:39) Correct. It’s customizable. It goes beyond just the name. The proprietary technology that we’ve been working on since that time was built to help you make more informed decisions that protect your reputation, obviously, intellectual property, and people by giving you a level of situational awareness that had never been available before. We pull from about 2,200 open source databases, including local, county, state, national and even international, such as Interpol. If you’re familiar with international data, we’re able to deliver a result within a second, giving you that actionable intelligence while keeping your organizational processes smooth, efficient, and functional. We don’t disrupt your current process by introducing something that would pull away from a visitor check-in or someone trying to gain access. We can do it very quickly. We do that through a scan of a driver’s license, or you can manually enter a name.
Jim Grover: (5:41) That sounds like it’s really exciting. It’s something that is not very disruptive to a check-in process; it’s something that’s already occurring daily. It sounds like this is something that is catching on a little bit more. What are some examples of some clients that you’re currently working with?
Todd Jorgensen: (6:02) Here in the state, we have all the major universities using FedCheck. Major energy and power companies, major sports arenas, the Boys and Girls Club. It is catching on. Like any other business, COVID has made people shift, but we’ve had some incredible stories and stories that we’re very proud of.
For example, a university back East does a youth camp where they invite youth to do different activities. As part of that, you have to have volunteers who manage the youth and participate with the youth. In the screening process immediately and onsite, we were able to identify a sex offender who crossed state lines, who got on a plane, flew from another state to get to their state to participate in these youth camps. We caught him onsite and were able to take care of that where they wouldn’t have had that ability unless they ran a traditional background check. So for us, we’re very proud of that. We are very proud that we offer protection to the university by way of liability and ultimately to the children.
Another one we’re very excited about is the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah, who will use our technology to screen all those who are coming in. They shut down campus to only allow access through certain entryways and other access points. They use FedCheck to do that. We’re very proud of that. And then, the upcoming World Series. We’re in conversations with Major League Baseball. It’s always great to see sports and get the world to get back to normalcy. The World Series uses our technology to screen what limited vendors and people are trying to gain access to the facility. So there are a few examples for you.
Jim Grover (7:56) That’s phenomenal. Getting back to normalcy, right? I mean, our last six months, our world has been rocked by COVID, it’s taken over our day-to-day work, our business operations and definitely, people are trying to protect themselves and have a procedure to follow.
I heard that there’s an additional product out there that Ident Solutions is working on. Is it called COVID Waiver?
Todd Jorgensen: (8:27) Yeah, that’s correct.
Jim Grover: (8:29) That’s great. What is that?
Todd Jorgensen: (8:31) I think any time businesses are faced with challenges like we are, whether they’re local, state, national or global, they try to innovate, and challenges bring out the best in us, I believe. We tried to take a look at who we were, what our core competencies were and how we apply it to help our customers or help those that need something to track people.
We have three main objectives with the COVID Waiver. First and foremost, we protect the company from liability. A waiver pops up in the screening process that an individual signs that has CDC guidelines and regulations that they commit and state that they’re not, or don’t have those things that would allow them to pass that point. Secondly, we track visitors from coming and going and we can alert others if someone maybe unknowingly arrived at a facility, went through the waiver, then had COVID. We can go back and kind of circle back and see who they were around and who was there at that time. And then employees are coming back to work as well. It’s hard because they’ve been out for a long time, and we’ve got lots of companies that have hundreds, if not thousands of employees, and it’s very hard to keep track of. You can use this product also on employees who are coming back to work. Maybe they’re coming back twice, twice a week versus all week, once a week, once a month, whatever that looks like. We adopt whatever those principles are as far as getting back to work and how the companies are managing that.
Jim Grover: (10:11) That sounds great. Your company is very nimble, and you see there are opportunities and problems to solve. That’s fantastic. It sounds like it’s ingrained. Is it something to do with doing business in Utah? What are your thoughts on being here in Utah? Some of its advantages?
Todd Jorgensen: (10:29) I have always been amazed at how many startups start and succeed here. I think it’s just in the air; there’s just an innovation bug that people understand how to innovate and what it means. Obviously, we do not hear about the ones that start innovation and maybe fall off. For the most part, we have some of the most incredible innovators as you drive from Ogden through Lehi, past Draper. You see how many people took a risk on innovation and are solving some pretty large problems that the world has. I’d like to believe that we’re one of those. I’d like to believe that the product that we have is solid. I think it solves some significant issues. One of those that I’d like to get back to is bias. One of our core mission statements is that we reduce bias in this process of screening visitors. Maybe just an example; first and foremost, have you ever seen a raw return that comes back through a background check?
Jim Grover: (11:40) I haven’t. I can imagine it’s probably just several lines of information that maybe doesn’t give many contexts.
Todd Jorgensen: (11:49) It completely looks like code. If you’re familiar with code, it’s heavy text, basically a book with no pictures. It’s hard to read.
For example, there are about 3,000 different police source codes that the average civilian wouldn’t know how to interpret. FedCheck takes those into something clear and simple as DUI or aggravated assault. We rapidly absorb that information through our technology that we’ve been developing and interpret that into something very meaningful. What I’m getting at with bias is, we wanted to create a tool that helped remove the bias and not add more. Part of that is if an organization understands and knows beforehand what would act as a disqualifier, they would only turn on those things within the system. Things that would stop someone from coming in.
For example, a DUI necessarily isn’t going to stop someone from being dangerous, right? However, being on a terrorist watch list or having a violent background is. FedCheck allows you to turn off everything except those types of records and calls out all of the demographic information, only pushing through facts, data, and actionable intel that could protect your business, your people, and overall provides an additional level of safety. We have an example of this. A university, again back East, received their red flag on an individual that they were positive was safe to work directly with the youths in their program. I think they were the ones that put him up and recommended he come. Without FedCheck, they would have felt comfortable assuming the individual had nothing that would prevent them from participating in the program. Still, they took an unbiased approach with all individuals screening everyone, regardless of what they thought of them. And in this case, they found a red flag. So the individual wasn’t able to participate. That’s an interesting topic I bring up to the forefront of this conversation because it’s a very difficult thing to do. And then a traditional background check, everything returns. Regardless of the position or the title, if I see everything about that individual inherently I’m more prone to bias. Where companies can now, as far as their visitors are concerned or temporary workers, whoever they might be, they can set the parameters of what would be a disqualifier and not see anything else. We don’t have any of those things that would come back, even though they wouldn’t disqualify them, that aren’t seen. Does that make sense, Jim?
Jim Grover: (14:36) Yeah, I think that’s fantastic. Potentially, everyone’s drowning in data. And you’re sending a tuning fork that says, okay, here are the essential items that are important for my business. You’re allowing the customer to then tune that and say, okay, let’s, let’s use the product in a way that keeps the company themselves the safest. I think that’s just incredible. I think that’s a great algorithm that’s being developed right now.
Todd Jorgensen: (15:16) Yeah, a hundred percent.
Jim Grover: (15:17) I love that. It sounds like there’s a product website, but there’s some more information for those interested in FedCheck or COVID Waiver, is there a place that we could find more information?
Todd Jorgensen: (15:30) It’s just ident.solutions. If you go there, you’ll be able to click on everything and see everything. Our team has done a really good job of helping an organization navigate their way for what fits them best. We’ve got our monthly, subscription-based pricing and you sign up and set the product up in seconds. One of the biggest differentiators with us is that we don’t have any third-party hardware. This is 100% cloud-based. It’s an app. You download an app on a device you already own. As long as that device has connectivity, whether it be through cellular or WiFi, you go! We set it up the same day, and there’s no hidden outside costs or burdens of extra hardware that you have to bring on. From the time you sign up on the website, I can literally turn you on that day and allow you to start scanning. It’s that simple.
Jim Grover: (16:24) That’s phenomenal. Hardware shipping back and forth and hardware failure, I’m sure that is probably the way that was done in the past. That’s phenomenal that you can be turnkey and have an app and ready to go. Any parting thoughts or any other ideas that you’d like to share?
Todd Jorgensen: (16:41) Just a couple. I got a question for you. A good salesman is always selling. So, Jim, I know you’re in a compliance world, with what you know of us is there a fit here for you?
Jim Grover: (16:52) Yeah, that’s a really good question. When I think of compliance and what we do is we’re looking to see, is an applicant for a grant, someone that’s looking for an incentive from the state, are they who they say they are? In many cases, that’s gone through a vetting process, but sometimes it’s an open application. I think that there’s a possibility. We should continue to talk.
Todd Jorgensen: (17:21) There you go. I like it. We have some opportunities that we get out about compliance, especially anyone in the manufacturing side or chemical facilities and access, but some industries such as defense contractors and those engaging in international trade. When it comes to ensuring that they are not engaging in business with individuals or entities that appear on certain sanctions or banned lists, they encounter compliance requirements. I don’t know if that’s the same for you. That’s often referred to as the denied party screening.
Jim Grover: (17:55) Right. And we recognize too, anytime that we deny someone, it’s like a moment of like, okay, this could come back. We feel comfortable that we denied someone.
Todd Jorgensen: (18:04) Yeah, exactly. For example, the international trade administration maintains the requirements under a consolidated screening list of those restrictions. On the list are specific databases like the department of commerce, department of state and treasury department. We query those databases and help those entities remain compliant. So they’re there as a compliance part, you know, FedCheck as a whole and identity to people. You have to know who that person is to remain compliant. There are different ways to look at what FedCheck is, even on the compliance side.
Jim Grover: (18:40) I think that’s great. It sounds like you’re currently on a state contract for FedCheck.
Todd Jorgensen: (18:49) Correct. We were just recently awarded an RFP through the state. What that does for us is it allows that purchase process to happen without going through traditional procurement processes. That was the call. It’s called the facilities access and monitoring solution. It took us a long while to get through there. As you know, RFPs can be super long and have a lot of information. We were very proud and thankful to have won that, which again, allows organizations in Utah to purchase off that state contract and surpass some of those lengthy procurement processes.
Jim Grover: (19:26) Thank you for going through that process. We know that it is a little bit of a gauntlet to run and win, and you know, those like myself that are in the world of state, the state’s system has to go through the contracts. It’s nice to know that.
Okay, you are already there and are awarded, we can meet you halfway; there’s already a solution out there. There are so many touchpoints, right. Especially with contractors, you know, site security. I think you can go a long way with that.
Todd Jorgensen: (19:59) Maybe as a parting thought on my end, unless you have more questions, we recognize you could have selected a number of different companies to be your guests. We are very thankful and recognize the opportunity as part of that. We want to offer your listeners and yourself a discount code for those that end up going on as part of that purchase process within our website. There’s a code you could put in a discount code. We’ve set up a 50% off for your first month with the code ‘UtahBizPodcast’; and we want to award your listeners for being loyal to you and hope that they’ll take advantage of the offer.
Jim Grover: (20:44) That’s phenomenal. Thank you. On behalf of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, thank you for your participation in today’s podcast. We’re excited to see the growth and the products and services of Ident Solutions. We wish you your continued success and remember to stay safe and stay open.
Todd Jorgensen: (21:03) Thanks, Jim.
Thanks for listening to the Business Elevated podcast, a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Listen to other episodes where you get your podcasts or at business.utah.gov.