Oct 27, 2016
Every year, we sit down to write our annual wrap-up of the NFDA Convention and summarize our time at the world’s largest gathering of funeral professionals. Every year, we find the phrase “best convention ever” creeping into our review. This is because the NFDA Convention grows bigger every year. While the size of the expo hall and different exhibits gets larger, the breadth of information shared also expands as fresh ideas and sparks of inspiration circulate among colleagues.
For the ASD team, it is always exciting to watch old friends coming together while new trends are debated and analyzed. However, this was a truly extraordinary year for our team. Our office’s proximity to Philadelphia gave us the opportunity to include even more of our staff in convention activities, which, for us, really did make NFDA 2016 the best convention ever. While 2016 was a special year for ASD, we also heard many directors tell us how much enjoyment and enrichment they gained from this year’s convention.
From the unbelievably elegant Rosewood Classic Hearse exhibit, to the multitude of election-themed booth displays, to ASD’s interactive demonstrations, there was so much to see on the Expo Hall Floor this year. We especially loved seeing the newly designed booth from our friends at Life Celebration, who were awarded the “Best of the Best” Booth Award. We also love seeing all the new things in the works from our friends at Tukios – this year’s winner of the NFDA Innovation Award. The NFDA offered a great lineup of social events that really brought everyone together to experience the greatest aspects of Philadelphia. In addition, more than 400 funeral professionals attended ASD’s Client Cocktail Party, which gave directors a chance to see stunning, incomparable views of the city while catching up with friends. Convention sessions and seminars also did not disappoint, with many new and interesting topics addressed.
Below are some of our highlights and photos from this year’s largest gathering of funeral professionals in the world. (Click here to view our full album of photos on Facebook).
ASD’s Client Cocktail Party at the Pyramid Club
More than 400 funeral directors came out for our Client Cocktail Party on Monday night. Those in attendance were treated to unparalleled views of the city at sunset, flavorful cocktails (including our signature “ASD Blue Mortini”), and delicious food. It was so wonderful to see so many of our clients and to introduce them to the ASD employees they have been speaking with so many years. Special thanks to the staff at the Pyramid Club for going above and beyond to help us host an unforgettable evening.
ASD’s Client Cocktail Party was thrown to thank all of our clients for voting for us to win the 2015 Innovation Award for our MobileFH® feature. We truly appreciate your support of ASD and hope that you had a wonderful time celebrating with us. So much of ASD’s interaction with directors is over the phone, so events like this are very special to us because they give us a chance to really get to know our clients and their families. If you attended, be sure to visit our Facebook album to look at all of the pictures and tag yourself.
Scenes From Our Booth
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to visit with the ASD team at the 2016 NFDA Convention. It was wonderful to have so many of our employees at the booth, giving them a chance to put a face with a name. 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. We appreciate everyone who took the time to talk to us.
ASD Family-Member Owners, Kevin Czachor, Kathy Kelley, and Marty Czachor, Jr. in front of the ASD Booth at the 2016 NFDA Convention
ASD’s Interactive Booth Demonstrations
At ASD, we invite our clients to contact us 24/7 if they need ever need a demo of our technical features or an explanation of a specific mobile tool. However, we understand how helpful it is to have visual aids when learning. This is why ASD’s booth includes a large television monitor that can be connected to an iPhone. Funeral Directors in attendance were shown how to use the app’s new advanced features and could see these tools in action on ASD’s interactive screen. Having this in place allows our Technical Analyst, Kristine Soderland, to fully explain and review all of the many features available to our clients through our mobile app.
This is an example of ASD’s commitment to making our mobile features as accessible and user-friendly as possible. Throughout the convention, we heard many directors tell us, “I didn’t know your app could do that.” We understand that mobile technology is very unfamiliar to a lot of people and it can be a challenge for many to understand the different benefits of it. Our large display and Kristine’s helpful tips allow directors to visualize exactly how our ASD Mobile can make life easier for them.
Congratulations to our ASD Lego Hearse Winners!
Hundreds of funeral professionals entered our raffle drawing to be one of the first to win our new ASD Lego Hearse. Congratulations to our winners, Ken Caulder of Leavitt Funeral Home in Wadesboro, NC (pictured above, left), Kevin Clark of Lady’s Funeral & Crematory (pictured above, right). Congrats also to our Day 3 winners, Emilie Martin (daughter of funeral director, Adam Martin) of Martin Funeral, Cremation and Tribute Services in Mt Morris, MI, and Dick Davis of Federated. If you weren’t one of our lucky winners, be sure to follow our Facebook page where we do giveaways of our Lego sets periodically throughout the year.
Insightful Convention Speakers and Topics
At this year’s convention, everyone from the ASD team scheduled time out to attend NFDA workshops and seminars to learn about the latest issues impacting the profession. We couldn’t have imagined a better way to kick off the convention than to hear Rev. Matthew Binkewicz’s presentation on the importance of funeral rituals for helping the bereaved heal. Matthew provided some great insights on how to convey the value of funeral service to families.
We also really enjoyed the entertaining session offered by Kristine Newman and Henry Johnston on how to support and train younger funeral professionals as well as the dynamic presentation offered by James Cummings of Life Celebration on providing meaningful experiences to families. These sessions both offered practical tips that funeral professionals could immediately implement when they return to the office. Finally, we had an opportunity to see “The Yearly Show” – NFDA’s presentation on the Consumer Preferences Survey Results. Presenters Ed Defort, Lacy Robinson and David Nixon did a fantastic job of analyzing the survey results for directors in attendance.
Be sure to check our blog later this week for tips and insights from the NFDA Convention Seminars.
Habitat for Humanity
ASD Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, and Operations Manager, Linda Haas, joined funeral professional volunteers last Saturday for the National Funeral Directors Association Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Day. What better way to get energized before the convention than to help home ownership become a reality for a family in need? Kevin and Linda enjoyed being a part of this fulfilling volunteer experience and working with other funeral professionals to help build a better future.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth and attended our cocktail party at the 2016 NFDA convention in Philadelphia. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing everyone again next year in Boston!
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 Jess@myASD.com