2024 AFCCA 14th Annual Conference Recap

In the ever-evolving field of funeral services, coming together as professionals is more essential than ever. The myriad changes we’ve faced—whether technological advancements, shifts in societal attitudes, or new regulatory landscapes—have profoundly impacted our profession. By uniting and sharing our experiences, insights, and innovations, we create a resilient community that thrives on collective wisdom. This spirit of collaboration not only helps us navigate these changes more effectively but also fosters an environment where we can learn from one another’s successes and challenges. Together, we can grow and elevate our standards, ensuring that we provide the highest level of care and compassion to those we serve. That’s why we chose this year’s Conference theme to be “Thriving Together.” As one unified force, we can better ourselves and our profession, transforming challenges into opportunities for growth and excellence.

We would like to take a moment to thank everyone who attended and made our conference the success that it was.

During the opening ceremonies, we were honored to have a Presentation of Colors by the Phoenix Fire Department Honor Guard. We also honored those we lost this past year in the Annual Memorial Video.

Speakers That Encouraged us to Grow and Thrive:

  • “Grief Affirming Practice: Understanding and Supporting the Traumatically Bereaved” – Terri Waibel – The Center for Compassion
  • “Advancements in Tissue Donation” – Ryan Nelson- Tissue Recovery Supervisor & OME Liaison
  • “Leveraging AI to Enhance, Optimize, and Grow Your Business” – Micah Spicer – VP of Channel Development from Tukios
  • “From Friction to Function: Resolving Workplace Conflict Effectively” – Christopher Robinson – NFDA President Elect
  • “The Relevance of Restorative Art“ & “Practical Restorative Art” –Dominick Astorino – Adjunct Professor, Embalming, Restorative Art, Pathology Worsham College

During our Annual Members Meeting, we heard updates from:

  • Donna Backhaus & Chris Hadder gave us updates at CGCC Mortuary Science Program
  • Courtney Levinus with Arizona Capitol Consulting provided  us Legislative Updates
  • Natasha Culbertson & Megan McMinn provided a State Report from AZDHS Special Licensing

We also elected and installed our 2024-2025 Board of Directors – welcome newest members Elisa Krcilek and William Paterson, and are so happy to have Chris Hopkins and Cathy Fiorelli for a second term renewal.

We hope everyone that attended felt their passion for the profession reignited and left gaining something new to use in their day-to-day operations. We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event.

AFCCA Annual Conference Expo Hall Vendors

We had 27 supplier partner and service providers exhibiting in our Expo Hall, thank you to each of you for teaching us about your innovative new products and services:

  1. PBF Manufacturing
  2. Joe’s AZ BIO Cleaning
  3. Dodge
  4. ASCO Pacific Supply Company
  5. Great Western Insurance
  6. Mortuary Lift Company
  7. Batesville
  8. Aire-Master
  9. PlotBox
  10. Foresight
  11. Matthews International
  12. Handley Precast Systems
  13. United Heritage Life Insurance
  14. American Crematory Equipment
  15. Mickelson & Ray
  16. Starmark
  17. Funeral Directors Life Insurance
  18. The Davis Whitehall Co.
  19. Security National Life Insurance
  20. Homecoming Columbarium
  21. Nunez & Associates
  22. Coldspring
  23. Life Expressions
  24. T.A.C.T. 48
  25. Hepburn Superior Chemicals
  26. The Messenger Co
  27. Valor Technical Cleaning

AFCCA Annual Award Ceremony


Sadie Richardson

Chad L. Johnson, A.L. Moore Grimshaw Mortuary
Terri Flowers, Dignity Memorial Phoenix Market

Nadine E. F. Gottsponer, Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel

Janet & Jerry Warren, J. Warren Funeral Services

Stan Stobierski, Heritage Funeral Chapels

Thank you 2024 Conference Sponsors!

Without the support of our amazing supplier and service partners, as well as AFCCA Members, we could not continue to offer the high quality conferences we host each year. Thank you to each and every one of you!

PBF MFG – Title Sponsor of our Golf Tournament at TPC Golf Course

Evergreen Mortuary Cemetery & Crematory – Conference Tote Bags

National Funeral Directors Association – Lanyards and Name Badges

Dignity Memorial Phoenix Market – Tuesday Welcome Reception Appetizers and Wednesday President’s Reception Hosted Bar

Express Funeral Funding  – Wednesday Breakfast

Matthews Memorialization – Wednesday President’s Reception Appetizers

Viewlogies – AFCCA Memorial Video

Golf Hole Sponsors: Handley Precast Systems, Whitney & Murphy, PBF Mfg, Batesville, Cholla Pavement Maintenance, Coldspring, Dignity Memorial Phoenix Market, Disrupt Media, Hepburn Superior US Chemical, Menke Funeral Home

AFCCA Annual Conference Photo Albums

If you would like the original of any photos, please email director@azfcca.org.