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2015 NFDA Convention Recap

Oct 27, 2015

It’s been over a week since the official commencement of this year’s NFDA Convention in Indianapolis and we are still reeling from all of the excitement and stimulation of the largest gathering of funeral directors in the world. This year’s convention encompassed the past, present and future of the funeral service work by paying tribute to the history of the profession while spotlighting the latest innovations and ideas. It was an incredibly rewarding experience for the entire ASD team, not only because we received two major awards during the convention but also because of the opportunity it provided to examine the latest issues impacting funeral homes. A big thank you to the NFDA for organizing and planning such an engaging and successful conference.

This year, ASD was excited to introduce a brand new booth that included an interactive monitor screen for live demonstrations of our mobile app tools. In addition to spending quality time with our friends and clients at our booth, we also enjoyed the opportunity to stroll through the expo hall to see all of the interesting products and services available to directors. Everyone from the ASD team also scheduled time out to attend NFDA’s workshops and seminars. Be sure to check out our blog next week to read some of the insights and tips we gathered from convention speakers.

In addition to enjoying the excitement of the Expo Hall and the informative educational sessions, we also took time to explore Indianapolis to see what makes this place the “#1 Convention City” in the country (USA Today). From the food at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse to the dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon to the on-field activities offered during “The Fifth Quarter,” Indianapolis certainly did not disappoint. The city provided the ultimate backdrop for a truly a memorable and superb convention experience.

Below are some of our highlights and photos from this year’s unforgettable NFDA Convention. (Click here to view our full album of photos on Facebook).

ASD’s MobileFH® Wins 2015 NFDA Innovation Award

During the Opening General Session, ASD was named the winner of the NFDA’s 2015 Innovation Award. The award was in recognition of MobileFH® feature, a patent-pending mobile app feature that allows our clients to call any number from their cell phone and display their funeral home’s number as the outgoing Caller ID.

Established in 2009, the NFDA Innovation Award is given annually to a funeral service vendor whose product or service was introduced during the previous year and exemplifies creativity, innovation and excellence. The award represents the pinnacle of achievement for a funeral service vendor.

In 2012, ASD received the Innovation Award for our revolutionary smartphone app, ASD Mobile and we are honored to accept this award for the second time from the NFDA. ASD Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, was on stage to accept the prestigious award from NFDA President, Robert Moore, at the Opening General Session of the NFDA’s International Convention & Expo.

Within minutes of the announcement, ASD’s social sites began to fill up with comments from funeral professionals showing their support and appreciation for this mobile tool.

ASD would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of the funeral professionals who took the time to vote for our MobileFH® feature to win the 2015 NFDA Innovation Award. It truly is an incredible honor and we would like to dedicate it to all of the hardworking funeral directors who spend so much time on-call. Knowing that we have built a solution that makes life easier for our clients is the greatest award we could receive.

ASD Debuts New Award-Winning Booth Design

At this year’s convention, ASD was excited to introduce a brand new interactive booth. We were thrilled when the NFDA announced on Wednesday that ASD’s new booth received the “Best of the Best Booth” Award by popular vote from convention attendees. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for our new booth. We’re so glad you like it as much as we do. Congratulations to our fellow “Best of the Best” booth winners, Grateful Glass and Cremation Portraits!

One of the major changes we made to our new booth was adding a large, vertical monitor for interactive mobile app demos. This provides a detailed look at our mobile app and makes it easy for our Technical Analyst, Kristine Soderland, to explain all of the different features, tools, and options available within our app. Many directors who watched Kristy’s presentation told us afterwards all of the different ways they planned to utilize what they had learned to streamline tasks and communicate more efficiently. In addition to interactive demos, our new booth also featured computers that allowed ASD team members to make changes and updates to client accounts right from the convention floor.

During the Expo, we were also excited to show directors our Funeral Service Lego Set for the first time. On social media and at conventions in the past, we see how much funeral directors enjoy our custom Lego sets and it was wonderful to watch the reactions during the expo. We wish we had enough sets to give one to everyone! Be sure to continue following our Facebook page for a chance to win one of our custom Lego sets online. As part of our Lego theme, we also brought our Lego Cemetery Set to the booth along with Lego Minfig heads as our Raffle card containers and toy Lego sets for children attending the show. Even our MobileFH® display was created using Legos!

In addition to our Lego giveaways, many directors were excited to enter for a chance to win an Apple Watch. Congratulations to all of our convention raffle winners. Thanks for stopping by to see us at the convention and we hope you enjoy your prize!

ASD’s 2015 NFDA Convention Raffle Winners: Jill Zemis of Zabka Funeral Home, Kate Patterson from Summers-Kistler Funeral Homes, John Evans of Edmonds & Evans Funeral Home, Jon Reichmuth from Reichmuth Funeral Home and Steve Patterson from Summers-Kistler Funeral Home.

Raffle winners not pictured: Richard Caliman of Caliman Funeral Services in Columbus, OH, Savannah Ligh Blundell of Light Memorial & Funeral Chapel & Adam Ciha of Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service.

The NFDA Convention Expo Hall

From a replica of Lincoln’s original funeral hearse to an interactive car-racing track, there was no shortage of interesting things to see and do in the NFDA Exhibit Hall. The special focus on the evolution of funeral vehicles throughout history inspired many conversations about the role of transportation in funeral service. We enjoyed taking time to visit with different vendors and learning about the latest funeral trends.

The last day of the convention was 10-21-2015 aka “Back to the Future” Day. In true BTTF fashion, ASD brought a Hoverboard (aka a Smart Self Scooter) with us to the convention. Check out this time-lapsed video ASD Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, took of NFDA Convention Expo Hall from the Hoverboard.

Inspiring Seminar Topics

The seminar lineup at this year’s convention offered a wide variety of interesting topics and timely themes. The entire ASD team had an opportunity to hear Chip Eichelberger’s high-energy presentation on the importance of embracing change and seizing opportunities. We also had an opportunity to listen to Brad Rex’s insights on the future of funeral service and how directors can think outside of the box to meet the unmet needs of families.

Many of the convention seminars this year centered on utilizing technology to operate more efficiently. Mike Bryan of Batesville provided an in-depth look on how technology has changed the world and why directors must adopt integrated technical solutions to meet the needs of families. We also thoroughly enjoyed the discussion led by Erin Whittaker of Foundation Partners on how directors can achieve organic growth by conveying the value of funeral service work to their community.

Be sure to check our blog later this week for a detailed review and analysis of this year’s convention seminars.

The 2016 NFDA Convention in Philly

Now that the 2015 National Funeral Directors Association Convention has come and gone, the ASD team is already looking forward to next year’s largest gathering of funeral directors in the world. We are thrilled that the 2016 convention will take place in Philadelphia—only 20 minutes from our facility.

Next year, ASD will host a cocktail party to thank everyone who helped us win this year’s Innovation Award and “Best of the Best Booth” contest. We plan to offer an open house so that attendees can tour our facility. The close proximity to the convention will also allow more of our staff to participate in next year’s show. We can’t wait to see what the NFDA has in store for the 2016 convention. Hope to see you there!

About The Author

Jess Farren (Fowler)

Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at

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