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College of Land Management & Grounds Operations

      
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College of Land Management & Grounds Operations
Dean Gino Merendino

Exceptional cemetery service starts with the grounds and operations department. Without effective land management and a commitment to an attractive, well-maintained property, there will be no sales or service. You’ll learn how your grounds management team can succeed and continuously improve interments, landscaping, buildings, grounds maintenance and exceptional client experience and satisfaction.

 

Friday, July 18

2 - 4:30 p.m.
Registration and Check-in

4:30 - 5 p.m.
Orientation

5 - 6 p.m.
University Reception

6 p.m.
University Dinner


Saturday, July 19

8 - 9 a.m.
Breakfast

9 - 10:30 a.m.
Exceptional Cemetery Maintenance: Experience the Difference!
Gino Merendino
A cemetery’s maintenance operations, procedures and resulting outcomes are the defining experiences for families that enter our gates. What is exceptional cemetery maintenance and why does it matter? We’ll kick off our week together with a high energy and dynamic look at what we are doing to enable meaningful experiences at our cemeteries and share collective ideas on how to improve our efforts. 

10:30 - 11 a.m.
Break

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Creating a Committal Service That Everyone Talks About
John Gouch
Succesful cemeteries create great community events that bring visitors into the cemetery and have them leaving in awe. John Gouch’s cemetery has that experience designed into every committal service performed. He will share his step-by-step process so you can exceed customer expectations and create a buzz in your community for every funeral you service.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch

1:30 - 3 p.m.
OSHA and Graveside Safety
Mary Malotke
OSHA has regulations for digging in a narrow but deep space such as a grave. This session covers backhoes, ladders, setting vaults, adjacent grave and monument issues and witnessing liabilities. We’ll also examine the requirements for soil assessment, trench protection and air-quality issues that can become critical during opening and closing.

Students will receive a DVD on Gravesite Safety, which you can take back to train your entire maintenance staff to help fulfill your OSHA training requirements. The DVD comes with a user’s guide, instructor notes, student handouts, a quiz and completion certificates.

3 - 3:30 p.m.
Break

3:30 - 4 p.m.
The Key Steps to OSHA Compliance
Mary Malotke
Cemeterians must develop and implement an OSHA program for grounds and facility maintenance. This program covers OSHA’s expectations for compliance, documentation and training. Topics include hazard communication, chemical safety, outdoor issues such as weather and pests, equipment maintenance, flammable liquids, mowers and trimmers and record requirements.

4 - 5 p.m.
Enhancing an Organization's Safety Culture
Monica Bracho-Hernandez
Poor safety standards can negatively impact employee engagement, productivity and the bottom line. During this session we will discuss the importance of creating or enhancing a proactive safety culture, while maintaining service and quality to families.

5 p.m.
Dinner

7 - 9 p.m.
Annual Sports Tournament
Join your ICCFAU colleagues for a friendly game of volleyball.

 

Sunday, July 20

6:30 - 7:30 a.m.
Breakfast (at Holiday Inn)

7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
High Profile Funerals/Visit to Graceland and Elvis' Grave
Marsha Chance
Marsha Chance will discuss key topics to think about when conducting high profile funerals as you tour Graceland and Elvis Presley's grave.

Memorial Park Tour
Mark Pugh
Visit a local cemetery and learn firsthand many ideas and solutions you can take back to your location.

Gardens can enhance a cemetery’s curb appeal or, if too labor intensive, can detract from it. Mark Pugh will "discuss" the flowers and plants at Memphis Memorial Park where a next-to-perfect blend of low maintenance planting techniques and systems help maintain this cemetery as a state jewel.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch

1:30 - 3 p.m.
Community Outreach
Christine Toson Hentges, CCE
Christine Toson Hentges will share best practices and creative ideas for starting or growing your cemetery community outreach program, as well as the importance of having one. She will share some of the ways that Tribute Companies has found to give back to and connect with the surrounding community. A great outreach program can go a long way in better understanding the communities that we serve as well as offering unparalleled networking and opportunities to become engaged in our communities.

3 - 3:30 p.m.
Break

3:30 - 5 p.m.
Those Sales People! What Are They Thinking?
Jim Hammond
Why is it that the sales force is always making our lives difficult out here—selling products that don't exist, complaining that the property is sub-par and that's why they can't sell, scheduling services at the same time? Find out who is right and how our roles are one and the same. The course objective is to train non-sales department heads and middle managers to become "partners" with the sales department.

5 p.m.
Dinner

 

Monday, July 21

8 - 9 a.m.
Breakfast

9 - 10:30 a.m.
Healing Grief: The Essence of Our Profession
Nancy Lohman, CCFE
Lack of compassion is usually caused by a lack of understanding. Learning more about grief and bereavement allows us to be more empathetic. In this session, we will explore the journey of grief. Discover the ways in which our mourning traditions emerged, how our profession has evolved, and the ways in which we can assist our families move toward healing.

10:30 - 11 a.m.
Break

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Developing Hidden Treasures on Your Property
Christine Toson Hentges, CCE
Small spaces, V-ditches, fence lines... what are they good for? Christie Hentges will show you how to turn your neglected spots into money-making treasures.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch

1:30 - 3 p.m.
The Art of the Interview and the Science of Selection
Mike Hays
Led by one of our profession's top managers, this session will focus on crucial hiring skills, including:

  • how to ask meaningful questions
  • how to interpret resumes
  • how to identify your ideal candidate
  • how to follow up on references
  • how to conduct second interviews

3 - 3:30 p.m.
Break

3:30 - 5 p.m.
Memorialization: Definition?
Jeff Kidwiler, CCE, CSE
What is the true meaning of memorialization and how does it “fit” in at your location? Are we truly offering memorialization products and services that our families want? Thirty percent of our nation's deaths occur without memorialization. Ask yourself, “is this acceptable at my location?” Discussion topics will include:

  • looking at past practices, current applications and future trends
  • "Upright memorials only add to the cost of maintenance" and "We can't change our rules and regulations"—are these common excuses that prohibit proper memorialization for the families we serve at your location?
  • how do we increase our memorialization sales?
  • why is it important to memorialize and how do we convey this to the family?

6 p.m.
Dinner

7 p.m.
Cryptones concert

 

Tuesday, July 22

Class pictures will be taken on Tuesday

8 - 9 a.m.
Breakfast

9 - 10:30 a.m.
Heroes Serving Heroes

Jack E. Lechner Jr., CFSP
Serving our active military, veterans and their families is a unique and memorable privilege for our profession. We will share best practices regarding veteran funerals, supporting our active military/veteran communities and hiring veterans coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

10:30 - 11 a.m.
Break

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Arboretum/Cemetery Sustainability
Jack E. Lechner Jr., CFSP, and Gino Merendino
Satirist, George Carlin once said that cemeteries and golf courses are wasted space referring to their social and environmental impact. Our nation’s oldest cemeteries are in fact arboretums that lead the nation in sustainability practices that even the “George Carlin’s” of your community would approve. Lechner and Merendino will share their best practices for improving your carbon footprint, water management, plant selection, waste recycling and environmental stewardship.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch

1:30 - 3 p.m.
Cemetery Liability Issues
Poul Lemasters, Esq.
This session will address a broad range of potential liability issues related to cemeteries and land management. We'll examine risk and liability in a number of different contexts and from the perspective of various parties. The session will stress disclosures and procedures designed to prevent or mitigate liability. Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and to share their own liability problems as well as their near misses.

3 - 3:30 p.m.
Break

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Internal Relationships
Gary O'Sullivan, CCFE
How valuable is it to your organization to have all departments working in harmony? Some experts suggest it is extremely valuable, not only to customer satisfaction, internally and externally, but to your bottom-line profitability. In this session you'll learn the keys to developing effective internal relationships to help you drive a positive, productive organization.

4:30 - 6 p.m.
Graduation/Reception for Students Completing Four Years

 

Wednesday, July 23

8 - 9 a.m.
Breakfast

9 - 10 a.m.
Students' Forum: Q&A
Gino Merendino
We'll take a look at all we've covered this week, share ideas and best practices and discuss how to put the ideas we've learned to use.

10 - 10:30 a.m.
Diploma