Cast Your Vote Now! NFDA Innovation Award Will Be Presented at 2016 Convention

August 1, 2016

Innovation abounds in the Expo Hall at the 2016 NFDA International Convention & Expo

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) invites funeral service professionals to select the recipient of the 2016 NFDA Innovation Award. Established in 2009, the NFDA Innovation Award recognizes and promotes creativity, innovation and excellence among funeral service suppliers and vendors. The winner will be announced on October 24 during the Opening General Session of the NFDA International Convention & Expo. The NFDA Convention will take place October 23-26 in Philadelphia, Penn.

Earlier this year, funeral service vendors and suppliers had an opportunity to submit a product or service that became commercially available after January 1, 2015, for consideration in the 2016 NFDA Innovation Award competition. A distinguished panel of funeral directors evaluated the 26 entries and selected six finalists:


1. Obelisk Ossuarium, Eickhof Columbaria, Inc.

With both traditional niches and an ossuary in one monument, the Obelisk Ossuarium has two different price points a funeral professional can offer to pre-need, at-need and post-need client families. With nearly 900 urn spaces, the Obelisk Ossuarium provides a community with an affordable and dignified place where families can lay their loved ones to rest.

2. Tribute eGuest Digital Guestbook, Frazer Consultants

Tribute eGuest is the only digital guestbook on the market that replicates the traditional feel of pen on paper. Unlike other digital registries that require guests to enter their information via keyboard input, Tribute eGuest provides a natural, intuitive sign-in experience for guests of all ages with a weighted stylus pen. Funeral homes can use the verified guest data and information to help families create personalized keepsakes, address labels, and thank you cards following a funeral event.

3. MemorialFX Live, FrontRunner

MemorialFX Live is an innovative new feature of FrontRunner’s DVD system. The first of its kind, this software provides families the ability to pull condolences directly from the online memorial website set up for the deceased, transforming the standard memorial DVD into an interactive and participatory experience for families. MemorialFX Live is a modern storytelling tool that can digitally bring people together during life’s most difficult times.

4. myHomesteaders Mobile App, Homesteaders Life Company

Homesteaders is the first pre-need funding company to create a secure way to deliver timely and accurate policy and contact information to smartphone and tablet users through a native application that works with Apple and Android mobile operating systems. Funeral directors can view pre-need policy status including in force, endangered, recent claims and all relevant contact information associated with a policy.

5. The Bridgewater, Sauder Funeral Products

The Bridgewater is the first engineered wood casket to incorporate surface texture that mimics the grain of solid wood. With its bumps, depressions and seeming imperfections, the Bridgewater’s exterior finish truly feels like reclaimed barn siding; it looks and feels like solid wood, but at half the price. It’s better for consumers’ wallets and the environment. The Bridgewater is a 96 percent combustible “crossover” casket that can be used for direct cremation, cremation preceded by a service or traditional burial.

6. Custom Tribute Video Themes, Tukios

Most tribute video programs offer a limited number of video templates, limiting a family’s creativity. Tukios’ is the only memorial video software offering Custom Theme functionality. This offers funeral directors that are using Tukios the ability to not only set themselves apart from their competition, but also allows them to provide a level of personalization unique to each family.

Funeral professionals can visit to read more about the finalists. NFDA members will be able to vote for the product or service they feel is most deserving of the Innovation Award in conjunction with the NFDA Officer Elections.

On August 1, all eligible NFDA members who have a valid, unique email address on file with NFDA received an email with their individual voting credentials and instructions on how to cast a ballot in the Officer Elections and for the Innovation Award winner. Eligible voters who do not have an email address on file with NFDA will be receiving a post card with their individual voting credentials and instructions on how to cast a ballot.

NFDA thanks the following funeral directors for serving on the panel of judges who selected the six finalists: Madison Fox of Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington, Ill.; Melissa Unfred of Austin, Texas; Joseph L. Wood of Shooks Cedar Grove Funeral Home in Roseland, N.J.; and Andrew Yaggie of Glende-Nilson Funeral Homes in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Discover More Innovative Products and Services in the NFDA Expo Hall

The Expo Hall at the 2016 NFDA International Convention & Expo is the world’s largest funeral service trade show and features the newest and most exciting products, services and innovations from around the world. The Expo Hall will be open on October 24 and 25 from noon to 5 p.m.; and on October 26 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The International Pavilion (booth 3967) is a one-stop international resource in the Expo Hall for finding answers to questions about funeral service around the world, including repatriation. Nearly a dozen countries and funeral service associations will be represented, making the International Pavilion a must-visit area for anyone who is doing business with funeral directors in other parts of the world or wants to learn more about repatriation and global funeral customs.

Visit the NFDA Business Solutions booth (booth 3957) to learn about money- and time-saving tools that will help you operate an even more successful business. Visit with representatives from Federated Insurance, TransFirst, Hunter Warfield, Messenger, PartnerShip and more.

Stop and chat with the editors of The Director and Memorial Business Journal in the NFDA Publications booth (booth 3964).

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Celebrate survivors and remember those who have lost the battle in the Think Pink! Booth (booth 4379). Share stories and memories on the writing wall. Volunteers from the American Cancer Society will also be on-hand to answer questions and share information.

NFDA will recognize the funeral service suppliers that have the best booths in the Expo Hall, as determined by attendees’ votes, in the Best of the Booths contest. Attendees will have an opportunity to vote for the booths they think are the most creative, use the best visuals, have the most enthusiastic staff and have the best giveaways. Attendees can pick up a ballot in the Expo Hall. The winners will be announced during the Closing General Session on Wednesday, October 26.

The NFDA International Convention & Expo is the world’s largest gathering of funeral directors. This must-attend event will enable attendees to revolutionize their approach to funeral service through unparalleled opportunities for learning, networking, and discovering new products and services. The latest information, including details on how to register for the Convention and reserve hotel rooms, can be found by visiting or calling 800-228-6332. Attendees can save up to $100 on the registration fee when they register on or before September 16.

NFDA thanks its 2016 International Convention & Expo sponsors:

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]Platinum: FCA US LLC, Federated Insurance, NGL Insurance Group

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]Gold: Bass-Mollett Publishers, Batesville, Frazer Consultants, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, Messenger

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]Silver: ASD – Answering Service for Directors, Carriage Services, Homesteaders Life Company, Implant Recycling, Live Oak Bank, Madelyn Company, Nomis Publications Inc., FuneralOne, Physicians Mutual Insurance Company

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]Bronze: ClearPoint Federal Bank & Trust, Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service, Doric Products Inc., Global Atlantic Financial Group, Hunter Warfield, Kelco Supply Company, LoveUrns LLC, Sich Casket Company, Wilbert, Wuxi ANA

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 49 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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