In 2002, Dr. John Wallace and Dr. Jeff Tomberlin were attending the Entomological Society of America Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In between sessions, they had a conversation regarding the expense associated with such large conferences and the difficulty for students to attend it, view all presentations on forensic entomology, and meet the researchers involved. Consequently, communication was low between researchers and graduate students. This conversation inspired them to sit down at a coffee shop armed only with a pen, napkin, and lots of caffeine. From that hour long conversation, Dr. Tomberlin and Dr. Wallace outlined a conference solely focused on forensic entomology, and it would be the first of its kind in North America.
The initial goal was to develop a conference that would include national and international forensic entomologists as well as graduate students. Therefore, the start was to host a conference. This became the North American Forensic Entomology Conference, and the professional organization known as the North American Forensic Entomology Association (NAFEA) has grown from the interest and participants of the annual conference. NAFEA now hosts the annual conference and conducts its annual business meeting during the meetings. Read the entire story on the formation of NAFEA here.