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Top 13 Things to Check Out During the 2013 NFDA Convention

Oct 10, 2013

For more than seven years, the ASD team has had the opportunity to attend the largest gathering of funeral professionals in the world at the NFDA convention. Every year, we look forward to meeting funeral directors from all corners of the country and learning about the latest trends, products and ideas affecting the profession. Without a doubt, the NFDA convention is the highlight of our year. We enjoy spending time with funeral directors and are grateful to our clients for taking time to stop by and talk to us about the importance of telecommunications to their business.

This year, we want to thank you by providing a fun and informative guide of the seminars, events and attractions that you won’t want to miss this year. We researched the most popular sites in Austin along with NFDA’s full lineup of workshops and convention activities. So please enjoy this outline as a special Thank You from ASD.

Here is our list of the Top 13 Things to Check Out During the 2013 NFDA Convention

1. WORKSHOP: Hot Technologies 2014: It’s #mobilesociallocal

During the New Jersey Funeral Directors Convention, James Spellos, CMP, spoke to directors about the latest technological advancements in the funeral industry. James discussed how the latest developments in mobile technology and social media can help funeral homes keep pace in today’s high-speed world. The presentation included several examples of apps, including ASD Mobile, that help funeral directors streamline tasks and improve efficiencies. If you weren’t at the New Jersey convention, you’ll have another opportunity to hear James’s tips during his workshop. (1 CE hour)

  • Presented by James Spellos, Meeting You
  • Sunday, Oct 20, 2:15-3:15p

2. NFDA Welcome Party

Catch up with old friends and meet new ones at the NFDA Welcome Party in Texas Memorial Stadium. Explore the home field of the University of Texas Longhorns while you sip cocktails and enjoy game day food. Don’t forget to pack your favorite college team apparel for the party. The stadium is approximately 10 minutes from the Hilton Austin and the NFDA will provide free shuttles to and from the Touchdown Club.

  • Sunday, Oct 20, 6:30-8:30p at the Touchdown Club in Texas Memorial Stadium

3. ASD’s Client Cocktail Party

ASD clients are cordially invited to attend the Innovation Appreciation Celebration, a special cocktail party to thank our clients for their support. Relax and enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and networking in the Governor’s ballroom at the Hilton Austin (host hotel for the convention). While you’re there, be sure to try out signature cocktail—“The ASD BLUE MORTINI!” To learn more about ASD’s Client Cocktail Party, click here.

  • Monday, October 21st, 5:30-7:30p

4. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Ghostbusters Quote-Along

Dubbed the #1 Theater in America by Entertainment Weekly, The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema became Austin’s most famous and popular theater by raising the expectations of moviegoers. Just a short walk from the hotel, the theater boosts exceptional film presentation, comfortable and clean seating, a wide selection of craft beers and spirits, and fresh-prepared food. However, one of the main reasons the theater is so beloved is because of its special engagements such as their weekly quote-along and sing-along features. On Monday the 21st, Ghostbusters fans are invited to shout out their favorite movie lines during the film.

  • Monday, October 21st, 9:00pm
  • Located at 320 E 6th Street

5. WORKSHOP: How the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association and Its Members Faced the Challenges of Newtown

The Newtown school shooting was a tragedy that shook the nation and shattered a community. In the aftermath of this devastating event, more than 150 funeral directors stepped up to provide comfort and assistance to victims in their time of need. This workshop will explain how the planning and collaboration of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association and funeral homes near Newtown initiated action and an organized response from the entire funeral service community. (2 CE hours)

  • Presented by John F. Cascio,
 CFDA Executive Director, Pasquale S. Folino, CFDA 2012-2013 President and 
Laura R. Soll, CFDA Media and Public Relations
  • Tuesday, October 22nd, 7:30-9:30a

6. Franklin Barbecue

Grab a bite to eat for lunch at Austin’s famous Franklin Barbecue. Just a five-minute ride or 15 minute walk from the convention, you’ll find some of the “finest brisket in the entire state of Texas” along with pulled pork and other tasty smoked meats. The restaurant has sold out of brisket every day of its existence, so be sure to head over before it gets too late.

  • Located at 900 E. 11th Street, Austin TX 78702, ph# 512-653-1187
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11a until Sold Out

7. WORSHOP: The Art of Cremation Phone Inquiries: 3 Steps to Better Client Decisions

During the Cremation Association of North America’s 95th Annual Convention, Lacy Robinson, CFSP, spoke to directors about the importance of educating cremation consumers about the different options available to them. Lacy, who has experience mystery shopping for multiple funeral homes, explained that many directors do not convey value to families who call asking about prices for cremation. Her presentation included several tips on the dialogue funeral home staff should use when handling cremation phone inquiries. If you weren’t at CANA’s Annual Convention, you’ll have another opportunity to hear Lacy’s suggestions during her workshop at the NFDA convention. (1 CE hour)

  • Presented by Lacy Robinson, CFSP, Aurora Casket Company
  • Tuesday, October 22nd, 11:15a-12:15p

8. Zilker Park

If you want to get back to nature during your trip, Austin’s “most loved park” is only 3 miles from the hotel. More than 350 acres, Zilker Park is an oasis for outdoors enthusiasts. From hiking and biking trails, to swimming and botanical gardens, its no wonder they call the park “Austin’s Jewel.”

  • Located at 2201 Barton Springs Rd

9. Sixth Street Night Life

Set aside some time to explore Sixth Street, the heart of Austin’s entertainment district. With multiple restaurants, bars, casual cafes, art galleries and live music venues, you won’t have to walk far before finding something for you. For great happy hour specials, try The Library Bar (407 E 6th St.), a popular sports pub adorned with rows of books. If you’re looking for a scenic atmosphere, Easy Tiger’s (709 E 6th St.) indoor/outdoor beer garden is located next to Waller Creek, providing you with views of both city life and nature. Looking for music? The sing-along, clap-along, drink-along vibe at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar (421 E. 6th St.) might be for you. The NFDA will host this year’s Funeral Directors Under 40 Party there on Tuesday night at 7:45pm.

It’s worth it to check out Sixth Street during the day as well to see some of Austin’s Victorian architecture such as the Driskill Hotel (1886), Walter Tips Building (1876) and Robinson-Rosner Building (1856). If you walk too far, just hail one of the many pedicabs that pedal up and down Sixth street for a quick ride back to the hotel.

10. WORKSHOP: Battling Burnout: Management Techniques for Caregivers

A funeral home operates on a continuous, 24-hour rotation. On a daily basis, funeral directors must deal with economic, operational and emotional stress, as well as the demands of providing compassion to the bereaved. In this workshop, John Canine, Ph.D., will explain how burnout affects caregivers and how funeral directors can recognize the different stages. His workshop will provide tips on ways to manage feelings of burnout. (1 CE hour)

  • Presented by: Dr. John D. Canine, Maximum Living Consultants
  • Wednesday, October 23rd, 8:00-9:00a

11. NFDA Brew and Food Tour

Register online for the NFDA’s Brew and Food Tour to check out Austin’s famous food trailers. With thousands of trailers located in every part of the city as well as a website and mobile app to help you choose where to eat, you won’t have to look too hard for a cuisine for you. After lunch, the NFDA will shuttle you to some of Austin’s local breweries for a private tour and VIP tastings. For more information on the tour, click here.

  • Wednesday, October 23rd, 1:45-4:45p


What better way to earn your final CE credits of the convention than to hear insights from experts, Dr. Thomas Long and Thomas Lynch, about the value of funeral service work? By combining their expertise as a preacher and a funeral director, respectively, this special engagement will shed light on the different ways caregivers from all industries can work together to care for the dying and the bereaved. (Up to 1.5 CE hours).

  • Presented by: Dr. Thomas G Long, Bandy Process of Preaching at Candler School of Theology and Thomas Lynch, Writer and Funeral Director
  • Wednesday, October 23rd, 2:00-3:30p

13. Enjoy Waterfront Dining at Abels on the Lake or the Hula Hut

As vibrant and fun as Austin’s downtown area is, you might regret it if you don’t take some time to see beautiful Lake Austin. A water reservoir on the Colorado River, Lake Austin cuts through the heart of the city. Just 15 minutes from the hotel, Abels on the Lake (3825 Lake Austin Blvd) and the Hula Hut (3826 Lake Austin Blvd) both offer spectacular views of Lake Austin. Boasting “the best view of Lake Austin sunset”, Abels on the Lake serves up fresh seafood and American fare and has over sixty bears on tap. Just next door, the Hula Hut specializes in traditional Tex-Mex style food with a Polynesian twist. The atmosphere created by the restaurant’s tiki torches, bamboo walks and grass-thatched bars are meant to make you feel as though you have entered a “tropical Texas paradise.”

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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