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Volunteer effort to thwart child abuse leads to possible multimillion dollar business

A volunteer effort to help prevent child abuse was the starting point for a what could become a multi-million dollar business for David Allburn.

A retired Air Force engineer, Allburn, 70, worked in counter intelligence during the Vietnam War era, and founded the Safe Harbor Foundation to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse about 10 years ago in Glouster.  The organization required its volunteers to be fingerprinted, but reliable, affordable, convenient methods of fingerprinting were not readily available.

That led Allburn to invent one.  Originally set up as part of his non-profit group, the fingerprinting was identified as a commercially viable idea, and he received $10,000 in grant money from the state of Ohio Third Frontier and help from Ohio University’s business school to get the venture rolling in 2009.

Today, National Fingerprint, uses “self capture packs” that are administered in the field by a network of contracted civilians, often notaries, who collect dozens of fingerprints that are mailed overnight to National Fingerprint’s lab in Glouster, which then selects the highest quality prints to forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab for cross checking. 

The whole process takes just a couple of days, and costs an organization less than $300 per individual.  Previously, fingerprinting meant trips to a police station or similar official office.  It could then take weeks to get results.

“Our niche market is really VIPs who need quick, accurate fingerprinting,” says Allburn.  “We offer concierge service, so these executives don’t ever have to leave their office.  They can have results in just a couple of days.”

Many types of businesses that work with financial or government transactions require fingerprinting of each executive in the chain of command, says Allburn.  His fingerprint product is one of the only easy-to-use options for these applications.

Background check companies also distribute the packs so businesses can use them to help screen new hires or other workers.

Allburn says he expects $1 million in revenue in the next year, and foresees it as a $10 million business in the next five years in the fast growing security sector.  He has four employees now, but anticipates hiring a dozen more by the end of 2012.  These will be primarily lab technicians and will all be disabled veterans, he says.

Source: David Allburn, National Fingerprint
Writer: Val Prevish

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