2013 Cemetery Maintenance Seminar Recap!

Wednesday, February 6th was the annual AFCCA Maintenance Seminar, where cemetery staff, supervisors, and managers gather to increase knowledge, learn new skills and hear about innovations when caring for cemetery grounds. This year’s seminar was hosted by Amie Gazda, General Manager of Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery. The grounds were beautiful and quite accommodating  We appreciate everything Amie and her staff did to make sure that the attendees and vendors were comfortable.

The day started off with breakfast sponsored by Cholla Pavement Maintenance, Handley Precast Systems, and Advantage Funeral and Cremation Services. We had bagels, muffins, danishes, fruit, coffe and juice. As you know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the group needed fuel for brain power to hold in all the information they were about to soak up.

The first speakers of the morning were Rick LaFond and Jack Dodd from Trafficade Workzone Services. Their topic was “Buried but not Buried,” which went into in depth Trench Safety Precautions. Next up was a very informative talk from Detective Ed Munoz with the Phoenix Police Department: “Stopping Criminal Minds”, tips to avoid graffiti and vandalism.

It was then break time, which was sponsored by Garcia’s Lowering Device Services, Mickelson & Ray, Aircomm and Missing in America Project. Guest snacked on candy bars, trail mix bars, sodas, fruit and fresh popped popcorn!

It was also a great time to visit our wonderful vendors:

The next speaker was Bob Franchetto with Horizon Equipment who gave a two part workshop called “Batteries not Included”, giving tips and tricks on maintenance for small equipment.

Lunch was catered by Creations in Cuisine Catering , which served up pulled barbecue sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and assorted desserts. If anyone was still hungry after all that, it was their own problem. It was all delicious and we are very appreciative of our Lunch Sponsors Dignity Memorial, Matthews International, and Cold Spring Memorial.

We also want to give a shout out to A-Z Equipment for providing all of the tables and chairs for lunch and the vendors. As well as the backhoe for the Backhoe Rodeo.

Following Bob Franchetto on the speaker line-up was Jared Jones with Cholla Pavement whose topic was “Avoiding Knicks, A Close Pave” and as you can guess, it focused on maintenance techniques for your roads and pavement.

Last, but certainly not least, Josh Remy with Cintas First Aid and Safety presented “How to Raise the Dead” and spoke on Automated External Defibrillator and other first aid and safety tips.

Throughout the day there were prize and cash drawing provided by vendors and funeral home locations. We don’t think anyone went home empty handed. There were tools, knives, gift cards and more!

Of course there was also the popular Backhoe Rodeo where contestants showed off their backhoe skills and were judged on safety, technique and several obstacle courses set up by Shawn Thompson with the City of Mesa. It was time for razzing, showing off and having a good time. The winners this year were:

  • 3rd Place: Henry Garcia with St. Francis Cemetery
  • 2nd Place: Jesus Soto with East Resthaven Park Cemetery
  • 1st Place: Daniel Valladares with Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery

Each attendee was certified with three Continuing Education Units and given a certificate of completion signed by AFCCA President Kurtis Lauffer.

Again we would like to thank all our vendors, sponsors, speakers and hosts for the hard work they put into the event. We hope all the attendees enjoyed themselves and learned something new. See you next year!

See pictures from this year’s event in our 2013 Maintenance Seminar Photo Gallery.

Banner donated by Trafficade