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Nearly 6,000 attend the 2016 NFDA International Convention & Expo

November 7, 2016

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Nearly 6,000 attend the 2016 NFDA International Convention & Expo

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) 2016 International Convention & Expo, held October 23-26 in Philadelphia, Penn., drew 5,898 total attendees (3,901 attendees and 1,997 exhibitor representatives). A total of 352 international attendees, representing 33 countries and territories, participated in the 2016 NFDA Convention. The Expo Hall featured 390 exhibiting companies which filled 98,700 square feet of space (969 10’ x 10’ booth spaces).

The NFDA convention proved to be an outstanding experience for all who were able to attend. The convention featured an exceptional slate of workshops that helped attendees think about funeral service in new ways and also offered practical ideas that could be implemented immediately. The Expo Hall was a highlight for many attendees because, in addition to connecting with their valued supplier partners, they also discovered new products and services that they can offer to families in their communities.

From the Welcome Party at the former Reading Railroad Terminal Shed to the closing celebration at the Union League, attendees had many opportunities to network and have fun experiencing the sites and sounds of Philly.

NFDA Introduces Have the Talk of A Lifetime Conversation Cards

During the Opening General Session, Pepper introduced NFDA’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards to the funeral profession.

Each of the 50 cards in the deck features a simple question a person can ask a loved one to learn more about their lives and, in turn, be better prepared to appropriately memorialize a loved one when the time comes.

While holding up a deck of cards during the Opening General Session, Pepper said, “This box has the power to transform a family gathering, reunion or car trip into an opportunity to immediately begin having the talk of a lifetime. All you have to do is open the box and start asking questions. Then the magic happens.”

This new resource to help further advance the Funeral and Memorial Information Council’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime consumer education initiative was developed by NFDA and promoted in partnership with the Funeral Service Foundation.

The cards are available for purchase at; the cost is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers. Members of the public may purchase the cards via

Honoring the Spirit of the Revolution

A highlight of the 2016 NFDA Convention was the Service of Remembrance, which commemorated the lives of the founding fathers and all who fought for independence; the service also honored the memory of colleagues and family members who died during the last year.

The service featured Ralph Archbold, who portrayed Benjamin Franklin and is the “official Benjamin Franklin” for the city of Philadelphia. Archbold spoke on colonial funeral customs as well as Franklin’s death and funeral.

Archbold and his wife Linda Wilde, who portrays Betsy Ross, made appearances throughout the convention center, pausing to take photos with and speak to attendees.

A collection taken up during the Service of Remembrance yielded $2,158 for Habitat for Humanity.

Giving Hearts

On Saturday, October 22, NFDA volunteers shared their time and talents with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.

This year, 18 volunteers worked on three Habitat homes being constructed side-by-side in Chester County, about 50 minutes west of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The three houses were in various stages of construction. The first was nearly complete and volunteers helped clear away construction debris and painted trim, doors and walls. In the second house, volunteers cut and hung drywall and, by the end of the day, most of the first floor was complete. The third house was in its early stages of development and volunteers helped install plumbing throughout the house.

Thanks, in part, to the generosity of NFDA volunteers, three families will realize the American dream of home ownership.

NFDA Honors Funeral Service All Stars

During the All Star Recognition Ceremony, NFDA recognized funeral professionals who are Certified Crematory Operators (CCO), Certified Preplanning Consultants (CPC) and Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP) Certified Funeral Service Practitioners (CFSP).

NFDA also recognized funeral homes that are Green Funeral Practice Certificate holders and 2016 Pursuit of Excellence Award recipients – including the Best of the Best Award Recipients, Hall of Excellence Inductees and firms celebrating a participation milestone.

2016 marks APFSP’s 40th anniversary; it was founded by NFDA officers and members. Of the very first group of funeral directors who qualified for the CFSP designation in 1976, 40 are still active members of the Academy. During the All Star Recognition Ceremony, APFSP offered a special salute to the original CFSPs who received their designation in 1976.

Funeral Service Suppliers Recognized for Most Innovative Product and Best Booths

NFDA presented the 2016 NFDA Innovation Award to Tukios for its new for its new custom tribute video themes. Established in 2009, the NFDA Innovation Award recognizes and promotes creativity, innovation and excellence among funeral service suppliers and vendors.

During the Wednesday General Session, NFDA recognized three funeral service suppliers for having the best booths in the Expo Hall during the 2016 Convention.

Convention attendees voted for their favorite booths in the Expo Hall in three categories; attendees were asked to judge booths based on five criteria: creativity, imagination and originality; use of product, images and visuals in booth design; booth staff’s enthusiasm, friendliness and interaction with attendees; promotional giveaways; and overall appearance and experience.

The 2016 NFDA Booth Contest winners are:

  • Booths 400 square feet or larger: Messenger
  • Booths 300 square feet or smaller: Messenger
  • New NFDA exhibitors: Life Celebrations

NFDA Convention Videos Now Available

NFDA offered free live webcasts of its general sessions to funeral professionals who were unable travel to Philadelphia. Archived video recordings of general sessions and other special events are available on the NFDA website,

Planning Underway for 2017

The 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo will take place October 29-November 1, 2017, in the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston, Mass.

Boston is the quintessential blend of colonial history and cutting-edge innovation. From the charming cobblestones of Beacon Hill and revolutionary landmarks of the Freedom Trail, to the iconic grounds of Harvard University and Fenway Park, Boston is a treasure trove of Americana. Convention attendees can explore diverse neighborhoods, enjoy an eclectic array of performing arts, shop in chic boutiques and high-end malls, fall into a foodies paradise in Boston, a cosmopolitan hub where tradition and innovation interact every day.

Information about the 2017 NFDA Convention will be available soon at

NFDA thanks its 2016 International Convention & Expo sponsors for their continued support:

  • Black Diamond: Requiem App
  • Platinum: FCA US LLC, Federated Insurance, NGL Insurance Group
  • Gold: Bass-Mollett Publishers, Batesville, Frazer Consultants, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, Messenger, Microsoft
  • 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
  • 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