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Funeral Director Continuing Education

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About Us

Todd W. Van Beck, B.A., M.A., D.H.L.
Steve Martin, FDIC
Jerry Keller, Ph.D
Joe Sehee
Cynthia Adkins
Elaine Canning, R.N.
Dee A. Mrovka, Ph.D, M.S.S.M., M.S., M.A., B.A., CIS
Remo Portelli, B.A., MSW, LMSW, LCSW, SIFI

 

Todd W. Van Beck, B.A., M.A., D.H.L.

Mr. Van Beck has written over 200 articles and 65 books and manuals covering every possible topic of interest to funeral directors, cemeterians and clergy. His extensive training and experience spans over 35 years at every level of the funeral and cemetery profession and the church. He holds a Diploma in Mortuary Science from the New England Institute of Anatomy, Sanitary Science, Embalming and Funeral Directing; a Master of Arts in Religion from Mount St. Mary's Seminary; and is a certified Funeral Director and Embalmer in five states. Furthermore, he is a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice; a Certified Death Educator by the Association for Death Education and Counseling; and a Certified Disaster Coordinator by the Federal Emergency Management Academy.

Todd Van Beck is one of the funeral profession's most prolific authors and sought-after presenters. Currently the Director of Family Funeral Care and Public Relations for A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home in Decatur, Georgia, his distinguished career includes: President and CEO of Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston, Texas; School Director at the New England Institute of Funeral Service; Dean of the College of Funeral Home Management (IFCA) in Memphis; Adjunct Faculty Member at the Foundation of Thanatology, Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York; Dean and Executive Vice President of The Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse; and Chairman of the Social Sciences Department at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

Along with his diverse professional responsibilities, Todd has maintained extensive community involvement as a volunteer. His service includes: the Board of Trustees for the APFSP; the Board of Directors for the International Cemetery and Funeral Association; Advisory Council Member for the Federal Emergency Management Academy; and Chairman of the Curriculum Committee for the American Board of Funeral Service Education, which has honored him with a Special Recognition Award.

Mr. Van Beck is also a member of many professional associations, including the ICFA, NFDA, TFDA, FEA, and APFSP.

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Steve Martin, FDIC

Steve M. Martin is the owner and president of Stone Mortuary Services, Inc. in Dallas, Texas. Stone Mortuary specializes in the removal, embalming and shipping of human remains within the United States, as well as internationally. Steve has 26 years of experience in mortuary and funeral home embalming, restoration and shipping. With a keen focus on quality and professionalism, he prides himself on having a firm that operates as ‘Funeral Directors for Your Families, Embalmers for Your Reputation’.

Steve is a licensed embalmer and funeral director in the State of Texas. He has embalmed over 20,000 remains and has been presented as an expert in the field of embalming through varies forms, i.e., testifying as an expert witness, serving as proctor for students through Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, and serving as an approved sponsor and supervisor by the Texas Funeral Service Commission for numerous embalmer apprentices, as well as being a continuing education (CEU) presenter.

Before acquiring Stone Mortuary in 2002, Steve was the chief embalmer for Stone Mortuary, LLC, in Dallas, Texas; chief embalmer and funeral director for Sullivan Funeral Home in Marshall, Texas; and embalmer for Laurel Land Funeral Home in Dallas, Texas.

Steve is very active in the funeral service community in the state of Texas, as well as serving on various committees at the national level. He has served as the 2011-12 President of the Texas Funeral Directors Association (TFDA). Steve also served as PAC chairman, Secretary-Treasurer and President-Elect of TFDA, as well as serving on various other state association committees.

Steve recently served on the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) President’s National-State Relations Committee and the Governance Committee. Currently, Steve serves on NFDA’s Organ and Tissue Task Force, outlining the standards to be set forth by NFDA and American Association of Tissue Banks.

In 2009, Steve consulted Southwest Airlines in their effort to launch a pilot program for shipping human remains. By January 2010, this program was in service throughout the United States. Along with other funeral industry leaders, Steve worked with executives at Southwest Airlines to help them understand the needs of the funeral industry.

In September 2011, Steve was named as a member of The American Society of Embalmers and in 2012, was inducted into the NFDA Heritage Club.

Steve is a native of Kansas. He is a 1988 graduate of Dallas Institute of Funeral Service where he also served as Tyler for the PI SIGMA ETA chapter of the fraternity.

Steve and his wife live in Cedar Hill, Texas, and have three adult sons and one daughter-in-law.

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Jerry Keller, Ph.D

Dr. Jerry L. Keller graduated from the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science, in Louisville, in 1964, and became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1967.

After being hired by the IBM Corporation, Jerry was selected to participate in an IBM program that allowed him to continue his education. During this time he attended Ohio University, Franklin University, Georgetown University, and Southwestern University, culminating in a Ph.D in Business Administration.

Throughout his career with IBM, Jerry stayed involved in the funeral industry and started a continuing education business, providing courses and training for funeral directors and embalmers across the United States. Business grew very rapidly and blazed a trail in excellent practices and procedures associated with continuing education.

In 2001 Jerry retired from IBM and, subsequently, he and his wife moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where he had a 10 year stint at Robert Morris University. During this time, Jerry was elected as a Township Commissioner and still serves in that position. He also serves on the Military Affairs Coalition of Western PA, The Western PA Police Benevolent Foundation, and works part-time for a U.S. Congressman. With all this on his plate, he still finds time to do research into current practices of the funeral industry and writes new courses as time permits.

Jerry was approved as a Certified Bereavement Facilitator in 1997 and has been a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist for many years.

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Joe Sehee

Joe Sehee is the founder and Executive Director of the Green Burial Council; a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmental sustainability in the funeral service industry and the use of burial as new means of protecting acquiring, restoring and stewarding natural areas. He is also a consultant to conservation entities and cemetery operators.

A former Jesuit lay minister and Peabody Award-winning journalist, Joe was a Property Environment Research Center (PERC) Enviro-preneur and an Aspen Environment Forum Scholar. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program and a Commissioner on the City of Santa Fe Sustainability Commission.

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Cynthia Adkins

Cynthia Adkins is the National Donor Development Manager for LifeLegacy Foundation, a non-profit organ and tissue bank that recovers for non-transplant medical research. She started with LifeLegacy Foundation in 2005 in Tucson, and travels extensively throughout the United States educating medical professionals working in hospitals, hospices and medical centers, as well as funeral directors, on the opportunities for whole body donation for their patients that desire to contribute in this area.

She has been actively involved in Texas Funeral Service Commission meetings to put in place rules and regulations regarding tissue bank allowances in Texas, and American Association of Tissue Bank oversight. She is an associate member of the Texas Funeral Directors Association.

Prior to working within the organ and tissue banking area, Cynthia was the Director of Research and Development for Women’s Wellness and Fitness, an Arizona company servicing over 30,000 women in Phoenix and Tucson. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Food Science, with a Dietetics Specialty and a Chemistry Minor. She is currently working on her Masters degree in Public Administration through Troy State University.

Ms. Adkins has been involved with many philanthropic groups, such as the Arizona Osteoporosis Coalition; the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and the Arizona Governor’s Commission for Women’s Health, to name just a few.

Cynthia resides in Katy, Texas, and is married to Mike Adkins, a US Army, 82nd Airborne Ranger (retired). They have four children and four grandchildren living in Arizona and North Carolina.

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Elaine Canning, R.N.

Ms. Canning has been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years. During that time she has worked in a wide range of medical areas, and holds numerous certifications including, among others, in Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, Endoscopy, and Intravenous procedures. Her experience in these areas involved working with hazardous substances such as formalin, the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, and the use of Personal Protective Equipment. For the past three years she has been serving in the Interventional Radiology Unit.

Ms. Canning has worked with OSHA officials in her administrative capacities as Charge Nurse of the Dialysis Unit for five years and as Charge Nurse of the Endoscopy Unit for three years. She has also taught many other professionals in these areas. Despite extensive administrative qualifications and experience, her greatest joy comes from continuing to work directly with patients. Thus she provides care both in a hospital setting, as well as teaching patients how to properly and safely use medical equipment at home. Ms. Canning earned her degree at Passaic County College and is employed at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, where she has practiced for virtually her entire career.

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Dee A. Mrovka, Ph.D, M.S.S.M., M.S., M.A., B.A., CIS

Dr. Mrovka holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Administration/Management from Walden University in Minnesota, with a concentration in Organizational and Ethical Behavior and Development. She received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Lewis University in Illinois, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Morals and Theology from Mt. St. Mary's College in Maryland, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Augusta College in Georgia, and a Master of Science in Systems Management (M.S.S.M.) from the Institute of Safety and Systems Management of the University of Southern California, from which she also holds a Certificate in Information Systems (CIS).

Dr. Mrovka has over 25 years experience as a professional manager of small, medium and large organizations in the health industry, computer services, non-profit membership associations, and information services. She has been a professional researcher and author of over 60 publications in various professional journals. She has also helped to develop and implement equal opportunity, anti-discrimination, and occupational health and safety programs.

Dr. Mrovka lived and worked in Europe for 6 years. She enjoys relating socially and professionally with people from diverse cultural backgrounds in a wide variety of service industries. She continues to do research and consultation on behavioral, ergonomic, ethical, diversity, harassment, and women's issues.

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Remo Portelli, B.A., MSW, LMSW, LCSW, SIFI

Mr. Portelli earned his Master's degree in social work (MSW) from Fordham University in New York City, and his Bachelor's degree from Upsala College. He is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Texas, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York. He was also trained as a mediator at the Mediation Institute in Manhattan, where he facilitated conflict resolution among community members and with local businesses. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Mr. Portelli has worked as a therapist and counselor through Maria Droste Services in New York, as well as a program coordinator and administrator for various social service agencies (Selfhelp Community Services; Hudson Guild Settlement House). He is also a certified Supervisor in Field Instruction (SIFI), and has provided trainings to diverse professionals, including those in social services and the funeral industry, on such topics as grief counseling, supervision, program coordination, ethics, and mediation.

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