September 2020

Page B6 SEPTEMBER 2020 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS S ec t i on B DESIGN l PRODUCTS l VENTILATION 7 2 0 . 5 8 3 . 1 8 8 6 l V I S I T OU R I D E A G A L L E RY l D U N C A N S T UA R T TOD D . COM By Mike Jamar Current Inventory at 260 Hearses 181 Limousines 9 Flower cars, First Calls and an Edsel (?) 3 Parts 2020 NFDA Convention Like many of you, I was so looking forward to the NFDA convention. If you are like me, the convention is my only opportunity of seeing old friends and now that opportunity is gone for this year. I was also excit- ed at the prospect of visiting New Orleans. I have been to a lot of cities in the continental United States, but never New Orleans. I hear both good and bad things about it, but I wanted to draw my own conclusions. I am always drawn to the music venues when visiting a city and was especially excited about experiencing the New Orleans scene. I guess that will have to wait. Last year, during the NFDA convention in Chicago, I went to Buddy Guy’s bar, where there is always music play- Mike Jamar is founder and co-owner of Advanced Integration Technology. Mike has been working with computers since the early 80s and started Advanced Integration in 1994. Advanced Integration specializes in Internet inventories designed for specialty vehicles and equipment. HearseHub was created through a collaboration between Advanced Integration and Nomis Publications, and is now in its fifth year of service. HearseHub brings together funeral vehicles from a number of dealerships that specialize in high quality funeral vehicles. HearseHub offers funeral directors a large, and easy to shop inventory, of funeral vehicles. You can reach him at FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Monthly Columns online at Your Source for High Quality Funeral Vehicles ing. I was blown away by the quality of the music. How- ever, all is not lost if you like music as the convention is in Nashville next year. Talk about music venues. I love coun- try music and have been to Nashville several times, so I am extremely excited about the prospects next year. I understand that the convention is going to be held virtually. Now I am not in the funeral business, so I only get to attend the vendor showcase, which I love. However, this will not allow me to experience the vir- tual convention. I would like to know what you think of it. If you would be so kind please email me your thoughts at Along those same lines, I just found out my 6-year- old grandson is going to be virtually schooled, at least for the first semester. He is expected to be interacting with an iPad for six hours a day. For most kids, of any age, this would be a big challenge, knowing my grand- son it will be even more so. I am not trying to compare the virtual convention with the virtual education of children. The conven- tion is being held for adults and has value for those adults. I expect it to work for the vast majority. For me, maybe not, as I have been writing this column, I have spent most of my time staring out the win- dow daydreaming. Some kids never grow up. Funeral Directors Life Certified as a Great Place to Work ® Nick Gerhart Appointed Executive Vice President Chief Innovation Officer for Homesteaders Life ABILENE,TX— Funeral Directors Life  has been cert i- fied as a “Great Place to Work” for the fifth consecutive year, earning certification for July 2020-July 2021. Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace cul- ture, employee experience, and the leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue and increased innovation. “We are honored to once again be named as a ‘Great Place to Work,’” said Kris Seale, president and CEO of Funeral Directors Life. “We try to create a culture of car- ing for one another, a sense of family, really. This year, we have expanded our facilities to add bright, open work areas, meeting rooms, and a courtyard where employees can gather to relax and enjoy their break times. It’s all part of creating an atmosphere where we can focus, collabo- rate, and have fun at work.” For Funeral Directors Life to acquire certification, em- ployees were asked to anonymously participate in a sur- vey in which they ranked the workplace culture, leader- ship, and other factors within the company. Using validated employee feedback gathered with Great Place to Work’s rigorous, data-driven methodology, this cer- tification confirms 94 percent of surveyed employees said Funeral Directors Life was a Great Place toWork, compared to 59 percent at a typical United States based company. At Funeral Directors Life, 98 percent of surveyed employees said that people care about each other, and 99 percent of participants said that customers would rate the service de- livered as “excellent,” indicating a strong sense of pride and ownership in the service offered by the company. “We congratulate Funeral Directors Life on their Certi- fication,” said Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vice president of Best Workplace List Research at Great Place to Work. “Organi- zations that earn their employees’ trust create great work- place cultures that deliver outstanding business results.” “Every time we have visitors come to our offices, they ask me: ‘How are your people so happy? What do you put in the water?’” added Kris. “It’s not a magic bullet. It’s a sense of purpose and common goals. We really believe in what we do, and we believe what we do matters.” Funeral Directors Life, rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company, is a legal reserve life insurance company which specializes in the sale of insurance-funded preneed funerals. Funeral Directors Life is a wholly-owned sub- sidiary of Directors Investment Group (DIG). For more information, visit WEST DES MOINES,IA— Steve Shaffer, Homesteaders chairman, president and CEO, announced the appointment of Nick Gerhart as ex- ecutive vice president and chief in- novation officer, effective August 3, 2020. “Acknowledging the innovation imperative Homesteaders has adopt- ed over the past few years, the success we have accomplished to date and the need to maintain a strong com- mitment to the framework we have established for achieving our longer- term goals, I am pleased to announce that Nick Gerhart will join our com- pany’s executive leadership team,” Shaffer said. Gerhart will be responsible for pro- actively seeking out and developing opportunities to optimize company growth through innovation that is consistent with Homesteaders’ core values, purpose and vision. A proven change agent, strategist and execu- tive leader, Gerhart previously served as commissioner of the Iowa Insur- ance Division, where he transformed that department and increased the state of Iowa’s international promi- nence through his thought leader- ship and the creation of the Global Insurance Symposium held annually in Des Moines. Most recently, he was chief administrative officer for FBL Financial. “This important addition to our team is consistent with our ongoing commitment to attract and retain the best talent at all levels of the organiza- tion to help us continue to promote the value of funeral service and enable us to reach more people interested in funeral prearrangement and funding,” Shaffer commented. “We are excited that Nick will bring his varied expe- riences and exceptional talent to our Homesteaders team, to amplify our commitment to connect consumers with funeral professionals, helping them to plan a better farewell.” Gerhart expressed his excitement about this opportunity based on Homesteaders’ culture of innovation and commitment to long-term suc- cess for the benefit of its key stake- holders. “Homesteaders’ has a tre- mendous management team that has taken decisive steps to embrace inno- vation and position the company for future success. Ventures such as eFu- neral and Benekiva demonstrate a clear commitment to taking the steps necessary to meet the needs of con- sumers and compete in the future. I look forward to further driving inno- vation that helps the company grow, remain passionate about its mission and compete in an ever changing marketplace.” A resident of Johnston, IA, Gerhart and his wife, Jessica, have four chil- dren. He is heavily involved in com- munity and philanthropic organiza- tions including ChildServe, Variety the Children’s Charity and JDRF. HomesteadersLifeCompany,amutual company owned by its policy holders, is a national leader providing products and services to promote and support the funding of advance funeral plan- ning and end-of-life expenses. Visit to learn more. L ike Us On Facebook!