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NFDA International Convention & Expo to Feature Wide Variety of New, Unique Workshops

For Immediate Release: August 10, 2011

Brookfield, Wis. – Funeral professionals will gain valuable new insights from the more than 40 engaging and interactive educational workshops that will be offered during the National Funeral Directors Association's (NFDA) International Convention & Expo. The convention, which is being hosted in conjunction with the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), will feature the widest variety of workshops anywhere, covering the issues that matter most: technical skills, cremation, business operations, profitability, cemetery management, technology, marketing and more. The NFDA Convention will be held October 23-26 in Chicago, Ill.

Not-to-be-missed Workshops

Convention attendees will be inspired during workshops led by the most knowledgeable and creative minds in the profession. They will gain rich knowledge and deepen their understanding of funeral service. Workshop participants are sure to take innovative approaches to challenging situations back to their funeral homes.

Not-to-be-missed workshops include:

  • Sunday, October 23
    • Canadians Do Cremation Right. Top funeral and cremation providers from Canada will share information about how they are flourishing in one of North America's highest cremation markets. Presented by John Chasca, East-West Kootenay Crematorium, Cranbrook, BC; Rick Golke, Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services and Crematorium, Vancouver, BC; Lawrence Little, Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services, Vancouver, BC; and Jeremy May, Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services and Crematorium, Vancouver, BC.
    • Marketing Your Cemetery: Connecting With Your Community. Discover creative direct and indirect marketing techniques to maximize the value of your cemetery and make connections with people in the community. Presented by Linda Darby-Sempsrott, Trigard, Danville, Ill.
  • Monday, October 24
    • Google's Changes, Facebook Obits and Smartphone Shoppers: Consumer Shift. Learn how to leverage major technology trends to increase shopper calls, improve customer service and strengthen your funeral home's brand. Presented by Michael Turkiewicz, FuneralNet, Portland, Ore.
    • Demystifying Succession Planning: How to Protect and Preserve the Family Business. Learn common estate planning practices and prepare for a worry-free transfer of business to a family member or outside interest. Presented by Marcus Loden, von Briesen & Roper, Madison, Wis.
  • Tuesday, October 25
    • Developing Customer Loyalty in the Digital Age. Learn about the most effective online tools and social media outlets, and how they can be used to build and maintain meaningful relationships and drive more revenue. Presented by Jim McCann, founder and CEO of, Carle Place, N.Y.
    • Difficult-case Embalming and Creating the Smile. See a never-before-presented workshop on severe trauma with massive restoration and surgery to the face and body, including rebuilding the skull, skin restoration, cosmetology and airbrushing. Presented by Matt Smith, Oxford, Mich.
  • Wednesday, October 26
    • Upping Your Game: What to Do When the Competition Levels the Playing Field. Learn about new opportunities for funeral home owners and managers to up their game and do more with the opportunities available in their market. Presented by Douglas Gober, Carriage Services Inc., Kenner, La.
    • Anatomy of a Cremation Machine. Funeral professionals who are considering purchasing cremation equipment can get expert information from representatives of various manufacturers about what to look for and available features. Presented by Don Collins, B&L Cremation Systems, Largo, Fla.; John Raggett, American Crematory Equipment, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.; Steve Schaal, Matthews International, Pittsburgh, Penn.; and Larry Stuart Jr., Crematory Manufacturing & Service, Tulsa, Okla.

Preconvention Seminars

NFDA will offer four preconvention seminars on Saturday, October 22.

  • Introduction to Alkaline Hydrolysis: Understanding the Process and Procedures. This seminar will provide critical information, including a history of alkaline hydrolysis, an overview of the process and chemicals used, safety considerations, processing of bone remains and more. Presented by Dean Fisher, director of the UCLA Donated Body Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Reconstructive Techniques for Facial Repair Resulting From Trauma. Learn a wide variety of techniques to transform the most severe trauma cases into an acceptable and identifiable condition. Presented by Vernie Fountain, Fountain National Academy, Springfield, Mo.
  • NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant Program. Promote exceptional standards in the field of advance planning by becoming an NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC). You must be eligible to participate in this program; please call an NFDA member services representative at 800-228-6332 to apply. Presented by Colleen Murphy Klein, NFDA, Brookfield, Wis.
  • CANA Crematory Operators Certification Program. With increased cremation-related litigation, a simple mistake could cost a firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. Crematory owners, managers and operators all must understand proper operating procedures to ensure quality and protect their firm. Presented by: Michael Nicodemus, COCP chair; Chris Farmer, CANA legal counsel; Steven Schaal, Matthews Cremation; and Tony Lombardi, Matthews Cremation.

Up-to-date information about the 2011 NFDA International Convention & Expo can be obtained by visiting Information about workshops and preconvention seminars can be found by clicking on the "Education" tab.

NFDA is generously supported by Federated Insurance Company, Batesville Casket Company, Facultatieve Technologies, Frazer Consultants, Madelyn Company, Matthews International, Memories by Design, Nomis Publications, American Crematory Equipment, American Funeral Financial, Deaton-Kennedy Company, Director's Select Retirement Plan (DSRP), Doric Products Inc., Funeral Call, Homesteaders Life Company and Messenger.

NFDA is the world's leading funeral service association, serving 18,500 individual members who represent more than 9,900 funeral homes in the United States and 43 countries around the world. From its headquarters in Brookfield, Wis., and its Advocacy Division office in Washington, D.C., NFDA is the worldwide source of expertise and professional resources for all facets of funeral service. Through education, information and advocacy, NFDA is dedicated to supporting members in their mission to provide families with meaningful end-of-life services at the highest levels of excellence and integrity. For more information, visit


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Media Contact: Jessica Koth, 262-814-1536,