The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards
Contact: Allie Sparkman,


The Conference Hosts 119th Annual Meeting

CHANDLER, AZ (March, 2023) – Members of the funeral service regulatory community from throughout the United States and Canada convened for the 119th Annual Meeting of The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, Inc., March 1-2, 2023, to discuss regulation in the death care profession. The meeting was held at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix Chandler Resort in Chandler, AZ.


The event began with a Tuesday evening session on Compassion Fatigue presented by Conference board member Karen Carruthers. The formal business of the organization was conducted Wednesday morning at the opening session where the delegate assembly unanimously approved the adoption of Model Disposition Standards for Funeral Service.


Wednesday’s featured session was an in-depth guide to the examination process from initial development through maintenance, delivery, scoring, and reporting. James Ingrisone, Manager of Psychometric Services, and Dan Holthus, Senior Content Developer, were on hand to provide an overview of The Conference’s exam management program through our partnership with Pearson VUE. To share a participant perspective, we were pleased to have John Runsvold (Job/Task Analysis Committee), Michael Grandi (Standard Setting Committee), Stephanie Gilman (National Board Exam Committee), and Jolena Grande (Item Writing Committee).


The annual meeting provides a forum for breakout sessions of the Conference’s nine districts to discuss regulatory concerns on regional and national levels. Topics this year centered on pressure points for regulators and emerging trends toward split licensure, alternative licenses, and advancing the public protection mandates of the boards. District directors were elected to the board for a three-year term; Lacyn Barton (VA) District 2, Jon Rettig, Sr. (OH) District 4, and Rodney McFarland (LA) District 7.


Day two began with Conference Legal Counsel, Dale Atkinson, leading a discussion with attendees on litigation in the regulatory arena with a focus on practical applications for the lessons learned. He also presented on emerging methods of disposition and the importance of using your regulatory resources effectively. An in-depth case study of funeral home violations that resulted from improper handling and storage of fetuses, infants, and other decedents followed. Ben Parker, Licensing Manager of the Michigan Board of Mortuary Science, stressed the importance and relevance of funeral service regulation through the lens of their handling of this case.


Another featured session focused on funeral service education programs sharing their “recipe for success” from admittance through graduation which ultimately leads to a high number of their students passing the National Board Exam and becoming licensed practitioners. Mark Evely (Wayne
State University), Steve Spann (John A. Gupton College), Tony Moore (Northampton Community College), and Jolena Grande (Cypress College) spoke about their shared expectation of student excellence across all facets of their respective programs.


Thursday’s awards luncheon provided an opportunity to emphasize the contributions of volunteers and staff. Exam Committee member, Brevin Clifford, received the prestigious President’s Distinguished Service Award for his continuous level of dedication to the profession through his volunteerism. Conference Executive Director, Dalene Paull, was also recognized for 25 years of service to The Conference. Outgoing President Jennifer Kandt was celebrated for her leadership and service preceding the installation of the 2023-2024 Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Incoming President Jon Rettig, Sr. was presented with the ceremonial gavel and welcomed Karen Carruthers as the newest officer on the board.


The meeting concluded with concurrent sessions. Funeral board/agency administrators met to discuss areas of common concern and the deregulation movement while Conference staff shared an overview of organization initiatives. In the coming months, candidates will register through an online portal and have access to digital study material for the NBE. The staff also previewed how to find exam statistics separated by institution that are available on the website.


The Conference Annual Meeting provides a unique opportunity to connect funeral service regulators from across the country. The 120th Annual Meeting will be February 28–29, 2024, in Myrtle Beach, SC. For more information on The Conference’s programs and initiatives please visit


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