Commercial Investigations LLC


CI Updates

Interview with Michelle

As the owner of Commercial Investigations LLC, which is approaching its 15 year anniversary, Michelle Pyan had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Justin Gordon of Just Go Grind.  With many passions and a wealth of knowledge, our fearless leader talks about networking, compliance, newsletters, music, and much more.

Check it out here:

Michelle Pyan
Announcing a Change in Some Employment Verifications

The Work Number, an Equifax company, has announced a change in their employment verification process. This change ultimately affects their pricing model.

Current Process
When Commercial Investigations LLC completes an employment verification with employers who use The Work Number, a specific employer code is used to get results.

Beginning September 2018
The Work Number is requiring that CI, and other members in the industry, search using the subject's social security number when an employer processes employment verifications through The Work Number. This may result in many employment verification results, and hopefully, the one you are requesting.

When the new process begins, third party add-on fees will be $22.75 for the first employer and $22.75 for the second and any additional employers. So, the total third party data access fee will be a maximum of $45.50. These fees will be passed on as incurred as normal. In some instances, we anticipate this creating an increase in costs for those who do employment verifications. 

Commercial Investigations LLC is not in favor of this change and will continue to voice concerns to Equifax along with other members of the industry. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in the meantime since there is no other option available to get the necessary information.

If you have any comments or questions,please don't hesitate to contact us at 800-284-0906.

Michelle Pyan
ICE Audits are on the rise...are you ready?

ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) has conducted 2,282 I-9 audits in 2018, up almost 1,000 from 2017. 

How can you mitigate your risk?
The team at CI offers you an integrated, electronic I-9 and E-Verify solution, to better prepare you for an audit. 

ICE audits - it's a thing; prepare now and help minimize the headache later!
Contact us today for more info:
[email protected]

CI’s Eye on Legislation

DOT Update:
It’s been several months since the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT's) revised drug-testing panel parameters went into effect, but since several clients have asked about it, we thought it would be worth another peek at the changes.

Effective January 1, 2018, the DOT changed the “opiates” category to “opioids” and added four semi-synthetic drugs (Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxymorphone, and Oxycodone) to the “opioids” group.

Brand names for the above include:  OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.

Confirmatory testing still includes Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, and MDA.  To this group, the DOT added initial testing for Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and removed testing for Methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA).

The required “5 panel” drug screen will now include confirmation testing for 14 drugs, which is part of the confusion:

Marijuana (THC)
Amphetamines (Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA)
Opioids (Codeine, Morphine, 6-AM (heroin), Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone)
Phencyclidine (PCP)

Important!  On the Chain of Custody Form (CCF), continue to check the 5-panel box:

The revisions bring the DOT panel into alignment with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revised guidelines for Federal drug-testing programs for urine testing.

The final rule amends other aspects of the DOT’s processes as well, which can be found in their entirety on the DOT’s web site:

If you have further questions or are looking for a compliant background screening solution, the CI team is ready and waiting to help and would love to hear from you!

[email protected]

Michelle Pyan
Meet the Team - Derek Masterson

We caught up with Lead Investigator and coffee fanatic, Derek Masterson, and learned some great stuff about his day to day life at Commercial Investigations!

What is your typical day like at Commercial Investigations?

Derek: I start my day by trying to be at work at least 15 minutes early so that I can catch up emails and faxes from the night before.  After our morning huddle I handle client issues, make phone calls, quality control work from my peers, and do any special projects I’m assigned to.  Being a Lead Investigator also means I help others frequently and answer any questions they may have.  Also, coffee is a MUST throughout my day!


What are some of your other duties/responsibilities with your job?

Derek: I make verification calls, as well as assist with sex offender registry searches we do.  I’m also a part of our CI Times Newsletter Committee, and the leader of our Philanthropy Committee.  In our Philanthropy Committee I help plan and coordinate various events.

Tell us what it’s like being the leader of the Philanthropy Committee.

Derek: It’s both challenging and rewarding.  I am my mother’s son, meaning I’m a control freak - No I’m just kidding.  Being a part of this committee allows me to connect to my co-workers on a personal level, specifically when we are doing planning for the company.  It’s satisfying to be there for others and make sure everyone is happy and will enjoy the events we create.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?

Derek: I enjoy helping others as well as conducting verifications and assisting with our own internal hiring.  I also like being a part of our Philanthropy Committee.  I’m a big fan of charity and donating time to others in need.  A lot of our clients are non-profit organizations and it is fulfilling to contribute and be part of that.

What do you like most about Commercial Investigations as a company?

Derek: The work we do is what I like most because background investigations are so important.  I think sometimes that importance can be over looked in the world outside of this industry.  Also, this job gives me a sense of accomplishment knowing that we are helping put the right people in the right positions.

Why do you think you are successful at your job?

Derek: I think my success comes because of my mom.  She instilled a good work ethic in me from a young age, and I have a lot of perseverance.  But I also have found passion in the work I do.  It’s not always common to find a job you are good at and enjoy.  That is something I have found with Commercial Investigations.


Sherry Kocienski
2018 CI Olympics

Commercial Investigations LLC participated in the inaugural CI Olympics last Thursday.  Each team battled for the CI Olympic Cup and bragging rights.  Split into two teams, Dazed and Confused faced off against Straight Outta Latham in intense games of badminton, can jam, corn hole, kickball, and an egg & spoon relay race!  When it was all said and done, Straight Outta Latham took the win by 30 points!  Win or lose, we all enjoyed the day in the sun.

Sherry Kocienski
Tammy Cousins - Mugshot Monday

We are pleased to introduce Tammy Cousins, one of our Investigator Trainees. Tammy has been with Commercial Investigations LLC for eight months. Tammy enjoys learning new things. Most recently she has started woodworking and playing guitar. If she could, Tammy would teach world history, which she says is the ‘ultimate background investigation’.

Tammy finds working at Commercial Investigations to be interesting, intellectually stimulating, humbling, and inspiring. Her favorite part of CI is working along side her co-workers who she says are smart, talented, and also very interesting. Thanks for being a great team member, Tammy!

Sherry Kocienski
Meet the Team - Yvette Austin

Commercial Investigations LLC presents one of our Lead Investigators and Trainer, Yvette Austin.  Yvette has been with Commercial Investigations for over three years and is a wonderful asset to our team!  Yvette trains and teaches all our new hires about verifications, customer service, and phone etiquette. However, that’s not her only role.  We got a chance to talk to Yvette and get the scoop on all that she does here.


What is your typical day like at Commercial Investigations?

Yvette: Most days I am doing a lot of quality control.  Employees who are new must have their work looked over by a Lead Investigator before it is issued to our clients.  I also handle Drug Testing. I answer client questions about Drug Testing, create new panels for our clients, and handle any issues that may arise.  I enjoy educating our clients and gathering new information for them.

Have you always been a trainer?

Yvette: No, I became a Lead Investigator first.  I started training others before I was officially promoted to a Trainer.  I had to prove that I could educate our new hires and do well with training them.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?

Yvette: I love the people I work with!  Plus, I learn something new every day and enjoy passing that knowledge along to my colleagues.  Helping others succeed is very rewarding to me!

Describe Commercial Investigations company culture.

Yvette: Team work and open communication are two things that stand out!  I would also say we are serious about our work, but in a relaxed way.  We tend not to stress too much as we are always willing to help each other.  Our President, Michelle, is kind and caring. I think we are a reflection of that and her vision for the company.

So, you are a part of the interview process, do you enjoy doing that?

Yvette: Yes, I love interviewing.

What do you look for in a new hire?

Yvette: A positive attitude is number one!  Someone who can be a team player and is determined to learn and do well is very important.  I find it is most rewarding to train someone who wants to learn and is interested in what we do!

Sherry Kocienski
This is National Volunteer Week!
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During National Volunteer Week we would like to thank all the volunteers who assist organizations with achieving their goals!  Also, we extend a big thank you to all of our non profit clients who have partnered with us to do background investigations on their volunteers.  We appreciate you! 

Sherry Kocienski
This Just In:  The Number One Reason Employers Conduct Background Investigations is Public Safety 

A full 89 percent of employers stated they conduct background investigations to protect employees, customers, and others.  Improving the quality of hires was the second most popular reason, protecting company reputation was third, and law/regulation requirements fourth. 

More from the survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Background Screeners is coming when the full results of the recent survey are released.  Stay tuned!

Background Investigations
Mugshot Monday - Rachael Raffile

This week we are happy to introduce you to Rachael Raffile.  Rachael has been with CI for about one year now.  She says she loves working here because the job is rewarding, fun and she feels appreciated.

When she's not here inspiring us with her upbeat personally and stellar performance, she can be found spending time with her two dogs.  She says her dog Marley is so funny.  He makes her hold his paw and won’t stop until her arm gets tired.  Rachael’s favorite time of year is fall because she loves the crisp air and all of the apple and pumpkin flavored goodies.  Her biggest fear in life is her boyfriend’s erratic driving.  So it’s a good thing that Marley makes her hold his hand in the car!  

Mugshot Monday Rachael 2.jpg

At Commercial Investigations LLC, Rachael helps with writing articles for the CI Times and is also on our social committee.  She is looking forward to growing her career here can't wait to see what the future holds!

Kayla Bancroft - Mugshot Monday

Kayla has been with Commercial Investigations for about seven months.  In her time here so far, she has enjoyed being able to apply her degree, especially while working on criminal inquiries.  Kayla is an outdoor enthusiast that enjoys playing basketball and kayaking at her family’s lake house. 

Kayla is looking forward to a lot of personal and professional growth in 2018, and says the best way to start her day is eating some kale and getting in a good workout.  She is very fond of the team environment CI provides.  We’re glad to have you on our team, Kayla!

Davin and CI Join Forces
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Davin Healthcare Solutions, Inc. and Commercial Investigations LLC have joined forces to help protect our vulnerable population.

An increasing number of clinical facilities are required by accrediting agencies to conduct background investigations on all individuals who provide services and patient care within the healthcare setting.  This includes students entering hospitals and healthcare organizations for clinical rotations.

The end result is providing a fully integrated platform to take place of the painstaking process of managing the many elements of credentialing and background investigations.

Sherry Kocienski
Mugshot Monday

Luy was born in Poughkeepsie NY, but his family is from Vietnam.  He has spent time in Vietnam growing up and said it has given him a great appreciation for life.  He is thankful for his parents and his younger brother and says the motto he lives by is, “Live every day like it’s your last.  Every day is an opportunity, not a guarantee.”  Luy enjoys going to electric dance music festivals, and if he could get into any hobby it would be making inspirational videos to motivate others and encourage positivity.  We’re so glad you’re with us Luy!

Mugshot Monday

Recently Commercial Investigations has been expanding our team, so we’d like to welcome Joshua Landy!

Josh says the best way to start his morning is waking up to his alarm, giving his dog Mulan some love, and eating cereal while watching ESPN (Cinnamon Toast Crunch is his favorite).  Josh is determined to be a successful working man who can provide for his family.  He also aspires to win every football fantasy league, EVER.  Eating sweet potato pie with vanilla ice cream and homemade macaroni and cheese are two good reasons why Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday.  Also enjoyable during the holiday season is picking on his younger relatives, and Black Friday shopping.  Josh says the best advice he has ever received is, “Surround yourself with successful people if you want to be successful.”  Although, he still hasn’t grown out of leaving his room a mess.

Welcome Joshua!

2017 Bowl For Kids’ Sake

We are so proud to have taken part again this year in Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl For Kids’ Sake on Friday, May 5th.  Our team had a great time while raising money for an important cause!  Take a look at the video of Derek jusssssst missing a spare (he didn’t look too bothered by it). 

Sherry Kocienski