The Conference Holds 117th Annual Meeting Virtually

The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards
Contact: Dustin Wardlow


FAYETTEVILLE, AR (February, 2021) – Members of the funeral service regulatory community from the United States and Canada gathered virtually for the 117th Annual Meeting of The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, Inc., February 24 – 25, 2021. We were pleased to welcome over 135 attendees from 41 states and provinces to discuss current issues facing the group as well as hear updates on funeral service legislation, legal issues, and how to handle the complaint process virtually. Participants were able to share specific experiences on the challenges they faced last year and hear about innovative ways to continue fulfilling their public protection mandates during a pandemic. 


Attended by senior staff members, the Administrator’s Forum offers an opportunity to discuss the administrative roles for boards and staff on current challenges. This year, topics included alkaline hydrolysis, regulation of transporters, background check restrictions, and conducting inspections during the pandemic. A concurrent session for board members and affiliated funeral service colleagues, Board Member Training 101, offered a cursory overview of the roles and responsibilities of board members. Licensing Exams Demystified provided details on the exam creation and development process as well as an overview of item writing, question validation, scoring, and an outline of the test taker experience.


Regulators and colleagues benefitted from an exchange of ideas regarding stakeholder communication efforts, adaptations, and what the new normal may be for funeral service licensing and regulation post COVID-19 during panel discussions. Pending legislation, universal licensure, disclosure of criminal convictions on licensing applications, alkaline hydrolysis regulations, and the viability of a collective practitioner database were robust topics for the group as well.


The Conference is divided into nine districts and attendees were able to discuss key issues in a small group setting to help drive regulatory initiatives for the future. Elections were held for The Conference Board of Directors for Districts 1, 6, and 8. Robert Barnes (Maine) was re-elected as District 1 Director, Martin Rieken (Iowa) was elected as District 6 Director, and Karen Carruthers (Alberta) was elected District 8 Director.


For the conclusion of the two-day meeting District 2 Director Blair Nelsen was elected as President of The Conference, District 9 Director Jennifer Kandt was elected as Vice President, and District 4 Director Jon Rettig was elected as Secretary-Treasurer. District 3 Directory Charles Perine will serve as Past President. We look forward to the coming year under their very capable leadership. 


The Conference would like to thank all of our presenters: Cheryl Grossman, Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors; Nicole McClendon, District of Columbia Board of Funeral Directors; Ellen Simon, Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services; Dale Atkinson, Atkinson Firm; Eric D’Astolfo, Pearson VUE; Glenn Bower, Texas Funeral Service Commission; Thomas Fuller, New York Bureau of Funeral Directing; and Gina Sanchez, California Funeral and Cemetery Bureau.  Their contributions were immeasurable to the success of our program.


The Conference Annual Meeting provides a valuable opportunity for those interested in furthering funeral service regulation to exchange information, problem-solving strategies, and goals for the future of the profession. The 118th Annual Meeting is set for February 23-24, 2022, in Houston, Texas.  For more information on the Annual Meeting or The Conference, please visit


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