About Us

When Ken Dawson, Bill White, and Robert Vale left a large corporation in 1994, they decided their next endeavor should be a hiring solution that could change the world. They wanted to do it better than anyone else by combining technology with a company culture that puts its people, and applicants, first. The rest is history.

What began as Compass, a web-based data provider geared towards addressing the emerging information needs of the security industry in 1995, is now ClearStar, the premier choice for background and drug screening solutions that provide critical data on applicants across many industries and businesses around the globe.


We didn’t become industry leaders in background screening overnight. In fact, our leadership team were accomplished professionals with decades of relevant experience under their belts before ClearStar was ever formed. Today, collectively, they represent the best in the business, not only leading the background screening industry but also shaping it.

Robert J. Vale, Jr., CEO

Robert J. Vale, Jr., CEO

Robert “Bob” Vale, Chief Executive Officer, founded ClearStar in partnership with Ken Dawson and William White. He is actively involved in developing business strategy and meeting with clients and business partners to discuss the direction of the background screening industry.

Before forming ClearStar, Bob was the Manager of Loss Prevention Technical Support for United Parcel Service (UPS).

As a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), Bob is often called upon to deliver keynote presentations on the subject of large-scale systems management, technology trends, and personal information security.

Kenneth W. Dawson, Jr., CIO/CISO, CISSP®

Kenneth W. Dawson, Jr., CIO/CISO, CISSP®

Kenneth “Ken” Dawson is a founding member of ClearStar and currently serves as its Chief Information Officer. Ken is responsible for evaluating, designing, and implementing background check technology solutions that combine information from disparate information sources in varied data formats.

Before forming ClearStar, Ken developed enterprise systems for United Parcel Service (UPS) and Kaiser Permanente. Ken began his career in software development and content delivery in 1990 while working as an intern for Conatec, Inc., an aerospace engineering firm.

David Pattillo, CFO

David Pattillo, CFO

David Pattillo leads all areas of finance and accounting for the company including financial planning, forecasting, and accessing capital to fund growth. Additionally, he is responsible for establishing and maintaining the accounting controls and processes to mitigate financial risk and ensure timely financial reporting.

David has an accomplished career in helping guide companies through high-growth expansion. Before joining ClearStar, David was CFO of MyCelx Technologies, which he led through an IPO on AIM market (London Stock Exchange). Before that, he was CFO of Harry’s Farmers Market, a company he helped guide from start-up to an IPO on NASDAQ. David is currently a non-executive director of Endava Limited, an UK-based, privately-owned IT services company.

David holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University and an MBA from the University of Georgia.

Traci Ivester,  COO

Traci Ivester, COO

Traci Ivester directs the daily operations of ClearStar with oversight of the compliance and order fulfillment teams. Traci has significant experience with the product and service needs of major employers, and large and small consumer reporting agencies. She led the ClearStar team to achieve National Association of Professional Background Screener’s (NAPBS) Accreditation in 2013, and is also a founding member of NAPBS.

Before joining the ClearStar team, Traci was a founding partner and served as Vice President of global employment screening firm Vereda, Inc., a firm she took from start-up to a successful industry leader. Traci holds a BA in Justice Studies.

Nicolas Dufour, EVP and General Counsel, Corporate Secretary

Nicolas Dufour, EVP and General Counsel, Corporate Secretary

Nicolas Dufour advises ClearStar’s management team on all legal matters, issues, and risks impacting the organization. He provides legal guidance, legal management, and operating standards related to business; state and federal laws; regulatory; and legal strategic matters.

Nicolas has more than two decades of legal practice experience and twelve years of experience in the background check industry. Before joining ClearStar, he was Chief Regulatory Counsel at First Advantage Corporation, where he oversaw litigation matters and regulatory enforcement investigations related to privacy and data security issues.

Todd Shoulberg, EVP, Medical Information Services

Todd Shoulberg, EVP, Medical Information Services

Todd Shoulberg provides direction and leadership to the daily operations of ClearStar’s Medical Review Office. He is responsible for keeping all drug testing clients in compliance with state, federal, and local regulations, and identifies new testing methods and products for clients to utilize in their drug testing programs.

Before joining ClearStar, Todd served as Vice President of Florida Drug Screening, Inc., where he oversaw operations of the Medical Review Office, including Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service.

Andy Hellman, Managing Director, International and Strategic Initiatives

Andy Hellman, Managing Director, International and Strategic Initiatives

Andy Hellman drives the growth of ClearStar’s global (non-U.S.) business segment as well as specific strategic initiatives. This includes leading platform and product development as well as operational and compliance support.

Andy brings over two decades of experience to this role in organizations ranging from venture-backed startups to Fortune 100s, including over a decade in background screening. Prior roles include running the business analytics team for ChoicePoint and the global screening business for LexisNexis. Andy has a BA in International Economics and Leadership Studies and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship. He also holds CIPP/E and CIPM certifications, as well as the Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP).



Our ClearID/ClearContact solution was named ‘Top HR Product of 2017’ by Human Resource Magazine. Selected by the editors of the magazine, supported by a panel of industry experts and analysts, the award recognizes the newest HR products based on their level of innovation, value added to the HR function, intuitiveness for the user, and ability to deliver what they promise.


In 2016, we secured a place on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech companies in North America. Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth over a three-year period. ClearStar grew 127 percent during this period.


Since ClearStar’s founding in 1995, we have strived to grow and deliver the best results to our customers. For seven years in a row, we were recognized on the Inc. 500|5000 List of the Nation’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.


In 2012, our CEO and co-founder, Robert Vale, Jr., was selected as one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs and Ones to Watch by Business to Business Magazine and accounting partner Gifford, Hillegass & Ingwersen.


The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) exists to promote ethical business practices, promote compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, and foster awareness of issues related to consumer protection and privacy rights within the background screening industry. The Association provides relevant programs and training aimed at empowering members to serve clients better and to maintain standards of excellence in the background screening industry.

The Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association’s (DATIA) mission is to promote the highest possible standards of professionalism and quality control in the drug and alcohol testing industry, and develop and oversee education, certification, and accreditation programs for the drug and alcohol testing industry, as well as serve as the coordinated voice for the industry on regulatory and legislative matters of drug and alcohol testing and collection issues as well as drug free workplace regulatory issues.

The Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association mission is to establish, promote, and communicate the highest standards of quality, integrity, and professionalism in the administration of workplace substance abuse prevention programs through education, training, and the exchange of ideas.

ClearStar is integrated with SAP SuccessFactors® Recruiting to deliver accredited, award-winning, mobile background and medical screening capabilities to clients. ClearStar is a partner in the SAP PartnerEdge® program. As such, it is empowered to build, market, and sell software applications on top of market-leading technology platforms from SAP.

Many of ClearStar’s executive team members are IAPP-Certified. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is a resource for professionals who want to develop and advance their careers by helping their organizations successfully manage these risks and protect their data. It is the world’s largest and most comprehensive global information privacy community.

NCRA is a national trade organization of consumer reporting agencies and associated professionals that provide products and services to hundreds of thousands of credit grantors, employers, landlords, and all types of general business. NCRA members must agree to comply with all applicable federal and state laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair and comprehensive Credit Transactions Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. These laws define the appropriate procedures for obtaining consumer and credit information, establishing the responsibilities and privacy protocols of the users and furnishers of consumer information.

Accreditations & Certifications

ClearStar has received accreditation by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners’ (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). To become accredited, consumer reporting agencies must pass a rigorous onsite audit, conducted by an independent auditing firm, of its policies and procedures as they relate to six critical areas: Consumer Protection, Legal Compliance, Client Education, Product Standards, Service Standards and General Business Practices.

ClearStar complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information transferred from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States.

SecureWorks provides security auditing and scanning services to ClearStar as part of its ongoing security commitment. ClearStar is PCI Compliant and an Experian Level One Technical Provider that has met the requirements outlined in the EI3PA assessment framework. As such, we are an approved Experian Level One reseller.

A BBB Accredited Business since 07/13/2012. BBB has determined that ClearStar, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

The NAADATP accreditation certifies that the ClearStar Medical Review Office facility, operations, and personnel meet the highest standards in areas such as regulatory compliance, client confidentiality, accountability, company service standards, operational practices, business ethics and professional competency for drug and alcohol testing program management.

The American Association of Medical Review Officers, Inc. (AAMRO) is a medical society dedicated to establishing national standards and certification of medical practitioners and other professionals in the field of drug and alcohol testing. AAMRO has established standard practices and procedures, and training programs and administration of certification examinations. AAMRO is independent of existing medical membership groups and is designed to provide training and certification for physicians in different specialties.


Our mission is to help make the world a safer place through background screening. However, we believe that keeping people safe should extend beyond our clients to those who live and work around us. To expand our company mission, we created the ClearStar Community Program with the purpose of donating background screening services to local, non-profit organizations that serve young people. We hope that by doing what we do best—background screening—we can play an integral part in serving our communities.

The Drake House
The Drake House provides short-term crisis housing, education, and empowerment programs for homeless mothers and their children in north metro Atlanta designed to assist the family in working toward self-sufficiency. Since opening the doors, The Drake House has served over 350 families with over 600 children.
Jesse’s House
Jesse’s House provides emergency and long-term care to young women, ages 7 to 17, who have suffered abuse or delinquency. Since its inception in 1998, Jesse’s House has taken in more than 555 young women from 21 counties across the greater Atlanta area.
Junior Achievement of Georgia
Through the time, talent, and resources of corporate, education, and community partners, Junior Achievement of Georgia inspires and prepares young people, K-12th grade, to succeed in a global economy. All programs align with Georgia’s Common Core Performance Standards to teach students about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness.
Monique Burr Foundation for Children
Monique Burr Foundation for Children is a non-profit organization started by Edward E. Burr in 1997 to continue his late wife’s legacy of child advocacy and protection. The Foundation provides elementary, middle, and after-school programs to educate and empower students and faculty with information and strategies to recognize, respond to, and prevent bullying, cyberbullying, all types of child abuse, digital abuse, and other digital dangers.
My Sister’s Place
My Sister’s Place is a non-profit homeless shelter that provides a nurturing home, transportation assistance, nutritious meals, and other necessities to single women and mothers with children. They also provide life skills workshops, case management, counseling, and tools to help their residents to be in a better position when they leave than when they arrived.
StandUp for Kids
StandUp For Kids provides life-saving and outreach services to homeless, street kids, and at-risk youth. The Atlanta-based program also teaches youth “life skills” so that they can survive off the streets, helping to build a foundation away from the streets and street life.
These organizations perform vital work in our community and we are honored to assist them in the important process of providing a safe environment for their young people.