AFCCA Convention 2014 – Recap

(For pictures of the event, please visit Convention 2014 Pictures)

Another Annual Convention is in the books and we feel that this year’s in Tucson was a great success. The Omni Tucson National was a very gracious host, with an unbelievably friendly and helpful staff. The Chef kept our bellies full with delicious foods and we slept comfortably in our beautiful Mountain Vista Suites. Both Session Days were filled with informative and engaging speakers, allowing for every attendee to walk away with learning new information.

The three day convention started off on Wednesday, June 4th, with our annual golf tournament for firms and suppliers. Golfers teed off on the Catalina Course, which has been used in PGA Tours numerous times.

Wednesday evening was our first ever Bunco Tournament benefitting the AFCCA Foundation for Children. After everyone caught on to the rules of the game, it was a fun night full of raffle prizes and getting to know new people. The grand prize winner took home $250 in cash and no one left empty handed thanks to raffle prizes provided by PBF Manufacturing, Messinger Mortuaries and Handley Precast Systems. Thanks to everyone that attended and bought tickets, we raised over $1000 for the Foundation!

Thursday, June 5th was the kick off of Seminars starting with our opening ceremonies. As June 2014 marks the one year anniversary of the Yarnell Tragedy, our opening ceremonies was dedicated to fallen heroes. The Last Alarm Foundation in Tucson parked their beautiful Firetruck Funeral Coach out in front of the hotel, including their fire dog. Tucson Fire Department Honor Guard did a beautiful job posting colors along with their bagpiper, it was an honor to have them represent Fire Fighters throughout Arizona.

The Funeral Director of the Year and Funeral Home of the Year awards were presented during the opening ceremonies to Butch Hampton and Hampton Funeral Homes due to their quick action, dedication and leadership at putting the Yarnell 19 to rest. It was an extremely difficult time for the Prescott Community, and families looked to the Hampton to help them know what to do. Speaker Andy Tobin joined us to give commendations not only to the Hamptons, but to all the individuals, firms and suppliers alike, that banned together to make sure these heroes received the honor they deserved. It was a beautiful opening ceremony and our Association is grateful to all who helped us put together this dedication.

As tradition, we also honored our own that were lost throughout the past year. If you missed the memorial video, you may view it below:

As mentioned above, we had wonderful speakers both Thursday and Friday. Thank you to all who came from near and far to speak during this year’s sessions. During one of Thursday’s speakers, we were able to announce a special surprise:

Thursday’s Speakers:

  • Rudy Thomas, Gary Hendrix, John Munden – Arizona State Board
  • Mike Nicodemus – VP of Cremation Services, NFDA
  • Linda Darby – CEO, Triguard Burial Vaults
  • Robby Bates – President, NFDA
  • Melinda Ellsworth – Director of Donor Services, ScienceCare
  • Christopher Farmer – General Counsel, CANA
  • John K. Mangum and Trisha Hart – Law Offices of John K. Mangum, AFCCA Lobbyist

Friday’s Speakers:

  • Eric Espinosa – Director of Sales Development, FDLIC
  • George Owens – Managing Director of Shopper Engagement, SCI
  • Bradley S. Marcus, Esq. – Baker and Marcus, L.L.P.
  • Robby Bates – President, NFDA
  • Fred Lappin – President, ICCFA
  • Michelle Neitch – Program Coordinator Crime Victim Services, Arizona Criminal Justice Commission
  • Movie Screening of “Who is Dayani Cristal”

Friday Evening wrapped up three days of events with a luau dinner banquet and awards ceremony. Everyone donned their brightest Hawaiian shirt and we feasted on a menu of tropical concoctions put together special for our group. Each guest was greeted with a traditional Mai Tai welcome, sponsored by Dignity Memorial, and of course colorful leis.

During the event we were able to honor several individuals. Lifetime achievement awards went to both Gary Brown of Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Cemeteries for his dedication to the funeral industry in Arizona the past 25 years, as well as David Eaton of Matthews International for his support of the Arizona Association and the firms in our community.

We also finished awarding the “Of the Year Awards”. Cemetery of the Year went to James Gibson and the entire team at South Lawn Cemetery in Tucson. Supplier of the Year went to Liz Zeig with PBF Manufacturing.

It truly was a great three days. We would like to thank all of our recent MCC Graduate Volunteers that assisted the Executive Director throughout the three days and of course all of our fantastic sponsors:

PBF MFG – Golf Tournament Prize and Breakfast Sponsor

Milne Construction Company – Thursday Morning Break Sponsor

Batesville Casket – Thursday Lunch Sponsor

Coldspring – Thursday Afternoon and Friday Afternoon Break Sponsor

Matthew’s Casket Division – Friday Morning Break Sponsor

FDLIC – Badge Sponsor

Aurora Casket – Tote Bag Sponsor

Throop Florist – Convention Banquet Flowers and Opening Ceremony Bouquets

Hepburn-Superior-US Chemical – Awards Sponsor

Judicial Real Estate – Photographer Sponsor

Dignity Memorial – Luau Banquet Mai Tai Reception

American Tissue Services Foundation (ATSF) – Friday Afternoon Break Sponsor

AFCCA Convention Golf Tournament Hole Sponsors

PBF Manufacturing

Miller & Sons Hearse & Limo

John K. Mangum and Trisha K. Hart

Bring’s Funeral Home

Sunset Vista Funeral Home, Cemetery & Crematory 

Hepburn-Superior-US Chemical Co’s

Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries

Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery and Crematory