2014 National Funeral Directors Association International Convention & Expo
Recently, we had the opportunity to film at the 2014 National Funeral Directors Convention in Nashville, TN. Most of us lose sight that being a funeral director and taking care of families who are saying good-bye to a loved one is, in fact, a business.
This yearly gathering allows for our nation's, as well as worldwide professionals to come together to learn about the newest products and services that they, as funeral directors, can bring back to their community for the families they serve.
Funeral director Walker Posey from Posey Funeral Directors in North Augusta, South Carolina (www.poseycares.com), allowed us to follow him around for the day as he met with various companies. His family's business dates back to the late 1800's.
During our tour we were able to document a wide range of companies and learn about their products or services.
Darren Crouch, President of Passages International (www.passagesinternational.com), was there introducing their eco-friendly and green funeral products. The New Mexico-based company creates caskets out of everything from willow, sea grass or bamboo.
Memory Glass' Kim Price shared with us how families can keep a small amount of the remains of their loved ones in a custom orb or pendant made out of hand blown glass that can forever remind them of this person from their life. (memoryglass.com)
LoveUrns (www.loveurns.com) creates unique and touching companion urns that offer families the opportunity to keep their loved ones together in containers that compliment each other.
Live Oak Bank (www.liveoakbank.com) does not sell a burial product. As general manager Stephanie Dunn explained, they are the number one lender to funeral homes in America. This service allows funeral homes to have the financial ability to expand, renovate or pass the family business onto the next generation. This is very important for the communities that these funeral homes serve.
Kim Ryan, President of Batesville Casket Company, the largest casket builder and most respected shared with us a bit of history about Batesville, including the fact that they produce 600,000 caskets a year out of their three productions facilities.
Wayne Stellmach with Wilbert Funeral Services (www.wilbert.com), shared with us a truly touching and special way a deceased person can be memorialized through their personal image on a customized burial vault.
While walking around with our funeral director, Walker, we had an opportunity to step inside American Coach Sales 2014 Mercedes Sprinter limousine. This truly customized and private multi-passenger vehicle allows for family and friends to travel to a cemetery with the urn of their loved one. You can see how this offers the opportunity to reflect on the deceased life in a way they choose.
If they wanted to play rock and roll music and drink margaritas or listen to Beethoven and sip champagne, it can all be done privately in a setting that is designed for royalty and a unique reflection of the one who passed on. (www.americancoachsales.com)
While at the conference, we also had a chance to check in with Robert Vandenbergh, Consultant from Dignity Memorial (www.dignitymemorial.com), as well as one of the directors for Service Corporation International. "So often people may think that we are just in this business for money. We all pride ourselves in the care that we offer families in such difficult times in saying good-bye to loved ones. We know how important this is to the communities we serve."
Pat Lynch, of Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors (www.lynchfuneraldirectors.com) and past president of the National Funeral Directors Association, shared with us the importance of the conference. "We come here to check in with each other to learn about new services and share ideas." says Pat.
In the end, it all has to benefit our clients. "That is what is most important to us, that the families we help and support in some of the most difficult times understand the newest products and services that are available to them. We want to create a memorable and respectful time for them."
We are sure this filming with help us better understand the life of the funeral director.