NFDA Announces 2016 Meet the Mentors Program Attendees

January 31, 2016

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is proud to announce the names of the 50 young funeral professionals who will attend the association’s eighth Meet the Mentors event. Meet the Mentors will take place March 13-15 at Emory Conference Center Hotel, which is located on the campus of Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia. Meet the Mentors is held in cooperation with the Funeral Service Foundation.

NFDA-member funeral directors and embalmers under the age of 40 had an opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to participate in this exclusive education program. The names of the 50 participants were announced last week through a series of video drawings, which were shared on the NFDA website and social media sites (e.g., FacebookTwitter, etc).

About Meet the Mentors


During Meet the Mentors, 50 licensed funeral directors and embalmers under the age of 40 will meet, learn from, and talk with three innovative and successful funeral professionals:

  • Patrick Lynch, president and co-founder of the Clawson, Michigan, location of Lynch and Sons Funeral Directors. Lynch is a past president of NFDA and currently serves on the Spokesperson Team.
  • Kristin Newman, co-owner of Panebaker Funeral Home in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Newman also serves on NFDA’s Professional Development Committee.
  • Lynn Ochiltree, owner of Ochiltree Funeral Service and Aftercare in Winterset, Iowa. Ochiltree is Iowa’s representative to the NFDA Policy Board and serves on the Pursuit of Excellence and Professional Development Committees.

There is no cost to participate in the Meet the Mentors program itself; the 50 individuals selected to attend only pay for their transportation to the program. The registration fee, exclusive access to three mentors, two nights lodging, and select meals have been generously covered through a grant from the Funeral Service Foundation.

Complete details about the NFDA Meet the Mentors program, including the videos announcing the 50 attendees, can be found on the association website,

The 2016 NFDA Meet the Mentors attendees are:

  • Melody Mitzy Arin, Greenwood Memorial Park, San Diego, California
  • Christen LeBlanc Birkholz, Croxford Funeral Home, Great Falls, Montana
  • Daniel Bitecola III, Halpin-Bitecola Brookdale Funeral Home, Bloomfield, New Jersey
  • Stephanie M. Brown, Lawrence Funeral Home, Chicago, Illinois
  • Kelly Chen, Cypress Lawn Funeral Home, Coloma, California
  • Camelia L. Clarke, Paradise Memorial Funeral Home, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Alex Cole, Mackinnon & Bowes Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Leigh Ann Dickerson-Lewis, Milward Funeral Directors, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Michael Epstein, Hodroff-Epstein Memorial Chapel, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Randy S. Gagnon, Brunswick Memorial Home, East Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Dedrick Gantt, Piedmont Technical College, Greenwood, South Carolina
  • Adam Goss, Spears Funeral Home, Enosburg Falls, Vermont
  • Sedale Jerrod Green, Marshall-March Funeral Home, Suitland, Maryland
  • Adam Guthrie, Huff Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., Franklin, Pennsylvania
  • Casey J. Hoeger, Kramer Funeral Home, Dyserville, Iowa
  • Daniel Holland, Cartmell Funeral Service, Inc., Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Curtis J. Hooverson, Hooverson Funeral Homes Inc., Sauk City, Wisconsin
  • Valerie Janusz, Prasser-Kleczka Funeral Homes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Edgar “Pete” Lee Jurgens, Shuler Funeral Home, Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • Andy Kinzley, Kinzley Funeral Home, Salem, South Dakota
  • Melissa Kloss, Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Fort Wright, Kentucky
  • Rebecca Lautenslager, Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Lyndon Leong Zhi Hao, The Life Celebrant, Singapore
  • Joseph Malcore, Malcore Funeral Homes & Crematory, Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Terrence McHugh, Collins Funeral Home, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Angjolie Mei, Life Celebrant Pte Ltd., Singapore
  • Rick Miller, Fagen-Miller Funeral Home, Highland, Indiana
  • Cheryl Demko Morello, Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, West Hartford, Connecticut
  • Joseph Murray, Green Funeral Home Danbury, Connecticut
  • Melanie Neddow, Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, Clawson, Michigan
  • Eugene S. Norton, Mt. Sinai Memorial Chapels, East Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Dennis M. O’Connor, Bryant Funeral Home East Setauket, New York
  • Anthony J. Pagano, Kamienski Funeral Home Garfield, New Jersey
  • Tonya H. Perry, Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel, Inc., Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Keri Rickett, Browne-Wynne Funeral Home, Cary, North Carolina
  • Matthew J. Roan, Henry J. O’Donnell & Sons, Salem, Massachusetts
  • Shawn Salamon, C.C. Van Emburgh, Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Craig Serfozo, Brugger Funeral Home & Crematory LLP, Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Simpson, Jr., Simpson Family Funeral Homes, Sheridan, Michigan
  • Christina Stanley, Baldwin Brothers, Ormond Beach, Florida
  • Scott Swanner, Muzyka & Son Funeral Home, Chicago, Illinois
  • Holly Underberg, Wenig Funeral Home, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
  • Melissa N. Unfred, Distinctive Life Cremations & Funerals, Austin, Texas
  • James Waggoner, Oliver Funeral Home, Winona, Minnesota
  • Sally Kate Walker, Waller Funeral Home, Oxford, Mississippi
  • Stacie Weissert, Chas. Verheyden Inc., Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan
  • April Williamson, McGilley & Hoge Chapel, Overland Park, Kansas
  • Anna Winningham, Waid Funeral Home, Merrill, Wisconsin
  • Daniel Woodfin, Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, North Chesterfield, Virginia
  • Jason Wright, Oakes & Nichols Inc., Columbia, Tennessee

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit


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