Who We Are
615-347-4407 | Bill started in the industry in 1986 as a sales counselor and quickly became a million dollar producer. He managed an extensive pre-need program for SCI in Illinois and Michigan for 2 years. In 1989, Bill saw a need for an active pre-need program for independently owned funeral homes and made the decision to found IFPA. Having a passion for the pre-need funeral business he saw the importance of being a licensed funeral director and obtained and has held his license since 1993. Bill and his wife, Elva married in 1975. They have three children and six grandchildren. Bill enjoys time spent with his grandchildren and every once in a while a round of golf.
615-202-4603 | Matt started working with Forethought in 1988. He was a Regional Coordinator, Tennessee Account Executive, and National Accounts Representative. In 1997 he became a partner in IFPA. He is responsible for strategic planning, marketing plans, and funeral home recruiting for the Southeast and Mid-West region. He has been a speaker and trainer for ICFA over the years and enjoys working with firms on Seminar programs. Matt and his wife Pam married in 1993 and have three sons, Kyle, Nathan and Matthew. They enjoy sports and many outdoor activities together such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and skiing.
317-502-9043 | Doug, a funeral industry veteran (beginning in 1993), worked for Forethought Financial Services in numerous roles including sales territories from California to Indiana and working with Forethought Federal Savings Bank. He also managed the sales force for Memory Gardens Management of Indianapolis, IN. He joined IFPA in 2004 as a regional partner and became full partner in 2008. His focus is Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky expansion. Doug works closely with strategic planning for training, the IFPA database development, and the marketing strategies that funeral homes use when working with IFPA. Doug and his wife, Angie, married in 1996 and have three sons, Colton, Corey, and Cooper. In his spare time Doug enjoys sporting activities and taking care of his animals.
931-691-4125 |Fayna joined IFPA in January 2012. She is responsible for overseeing all IFPA sales support systems. Maintaining the IFPA Database Marketing program, organizing seminars for counselors, creating custom mailers and surveys, are just a few of her many responsibilities. She now host live webinar training on the database several times a month. She is a key team player in all the support that IFPA offers funeral homes and counselors. Fayna was born in Winchester, TN where the home office is located. Fayna has two children, Joseph and Emily and four grandsons, Christian, Max, Ethan, and Jett Rylan. In her spare time Fayna enjoys cooking, playing with the grandsons and spending time with her extended family and friends. She loves working with the counselors knowing that in some small way she is assisting families at one of their greatest times of need.
931-801-5322 | Jeff began his career in advertising and marketing in 1988. Since that time he has produced award-winning campaigns for clients large and small. More important than the awards are the results his clients have achieved. Jeff’s attention to detail is surpassed only by his desire for the success of the firms he represents. In 2012, Jeff joined with IFPA to create IFPA Total Solutions — a full-service, in-house advertising and marketing agency providing services to IFPA members only. IFPA Total Solutions has been able to successfully guide and direct the marketing efforts for many of our funeral homes. Jeff and his wife, Lori, reside in Middle Tennessee near Nashville. When not working with clients, you will most likely find Jeff working on his golf game.
513-543-4396 | Kurt is a 5th generation funeral director from Cincinnati, OH, where his family owns two funeral homes. He is married to his wife, April and has two sons, Jack and Finn. He is a 2005 graduate of Oakland University where he played baseball and majored in History. After graduation he pursued a career in coaching and took his first job as an assistant baseball coach at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN. He met April in Cookeville and they decided to move back to Cincinnati. That’s when Kurt decided to enter the family business and go to mortuary school. He graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 2012 Magna Cum Laude. Upon graduation, Kurt found his niche in funeral preplanning. He is a $million producer who enjoys helping other pre-need counselors find success in the business. When Kurt is not working he enjoys wrestling with his boys and going to Cincinnati Reds games.
256-510-2070 | Gary started in the funeral business in 1977 at Ward Wilson funeral Home in Dothan, AL. In 1980 Gary became the first pre-need sales person in the Dothan area. Gary attended Mortuary school in Birmingham at Jefferson State and worked at Leak Memory Chapel. In 1991 Gary became the pre-need sales manager at Prattville Memorial Chapel and later moved to Alexander City, AL as manager of Radney's Funeral Home. Gary currently owns Radney-Smith Funeral Home in Sylacauga, AL where he lives with his wife, Judy. They have a son Matthew and a daughter Alison both of whom are in college.
260-403-8889 | Dianna has been an Advance Planning Advisor for over 26 years. Prior to persuing her career in the funeral industry, Dianna taught school and coached for 10 years. Being among the first individuals to find great satisfaction and success in assisting families take care of their prearrangement plans, she also realized that as part of her success came the responsibilities to assist others enter this very unique career path. During the past 26 years, Dianna has coached and mentored many individuals. She continues to use her professional education, training and experience as a Trainer for IFPA. Along with Phil Fought and the IFPA administrative team, Dianna was instrumental in developing a training program that helps new advisors obtain the skills and direction they need to be successful and become the "Best in the Business." Dianna also works individually with firms and advisors who need weekly marketing, program development and supervision. Helping others is a true passion.
574-518-0999 | Phil started as a preneed counselor with IFPA in 2000. During his sales career he has been awarded the “Top Gun” award 7 times, topping $1,000,000 in annual sales numerous times. Along with his busy sales schedule, Phil works as a field trainer for IFPA to help new counselors become familiar with the database system, and is eager to share his knowledge and expertise with new counselors. Before coming to IFPA, Phil was a Corporate Personnel Director for a local marshmallow manufacturing company for 18 years. He is very involved with his community and has served on his Church Board as a Deacon, McCray Hospital Board, United Way Co-Chair for Noble County, and also on the West Noble School Board for 8 years as Vice President and President. Phil and his wife, Kathy, reside near Wolcottville Indiana on Dallas Lake. They have 3 grown children with 10 grandchildren. Therefore, balancing family and career is very important. Phil enjoys family time, golf, lake living, and following college sports, specifically the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
931-691-0629 | Jayson is a co-founder of Jang Consulting, he is proud to be part of the IFPA team through a strategic marketing partnership with Jang Consulting. Jayson brings 10 years of social media experience and 8 years of Funeral Industry experience to the table for Jang Consulting and the new Mediapath program. Serving families through removals, preneeds, at-needs and officiating life celebrations allows Jayson the perfect avenue for effective communication with people from all walks of life. He takes great pride in helping professionals enhance their online presence for the families served. He spent most of his professional career in leadership roles where he learned the importance of excellent customer service and reputation management. He has been instrumental in creating sales strategy for the funeral industry and promotions for non-profit organizations. Jayson attended Motlow State Community College (Communications major) and Middle Tennessee State University (Public Relations major) and is Social Media Marketing Certified. He enjoys life in Tennessee with his wife Teresa and their five children and 1 grandchild. He is actively involved in community service and plays a vital role in the fundraising efforts for area causes.
931-841-1923| Tina is a Live Stream Specialist, Social Media Consultant, Speaker, Educator, and Co-owner of Jang Consulting. She is proud to be part of the IFPA team through a strategic marketing partnership with Jang Consulting. Tina is known as a digital pioneer in her field with 20 years of experience, she knows how to leverage new and emerging technology to establish clients as industry leaders. She thrives in the ever-changing digital landscape and has a deep love for developing social business strategies to help small business owners flourish in a digital world. Tina is an avid learner who values education, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communication with a focus in New Media. Tina occasionally serves as guest lecturer at Motlow State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University. She loves life in Tennessee with her husband Mark, their five children, four grandchildren and two spoiled cats.
865-748-0582 | Dr. Jason Troyer earned his doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Kansas and is an Associate Professor of Psychology. He is an engaging speaker and published author on grief and has provided counseling for bereaved individuals. Dr. Troyer is the founder of Mt Hope Grief Services which provides aftercare products, training seminars, and consulting services. His goal is to help funeral professionals serve their grieving families with accurate, comforting information. He is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling and is certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters in his free time.
513-518-5008 | I have been in the death care profession since 1990. I started as production coordinator at Franklin Casket Company in Brookville, IN. When the casket company was sold I was offered a position selling caskets throughout the tri-state area. From there I was offered a position selling prearranged funeral plans with Carriage Services in Cincinnati, OH. I worked my way up as a regional manager for Carriage Services. After 6 years the preneed program changed and the position was eliminated. In 2001, the opportunity arose to purchase a funeral home. I owned and operated this funeral home for 5 years. Then sold the business but remained with the company for several years. In 2007 Homesteaders Life Company offered me the opportunity to return to the prearrangement arena full time with their HSMP program. I am now in 5 states, successfully growing my customer’s individual preneed programs. I am committed to help build your business on the history of your success. I will build long term beneficial relationships that will increase your preneed sales. I offer personal attention, knowledge, integrity and have a strong work ethic. I will become a trusted advisor through my experience in casket manufacturing, casket sales, preneed sales, preneed sales management, funeral home ownership, management of a high volume funeral home and preneed marketing
704-516-3925 | Fred is a 2nd generation funeral insurance agency owner of Beeson Consulting. He and his wife Rachel live on High Rock Lake in Lexington NC and have 5 children and 2 grandchildren. He graduated from the Elon University School of Business in 1973, earning two degrees in Economics and Business Administration. He was a member of the Elon football team all four years. He began his career in the funeral industry in 1973 working for Ridge Funeral Home in Asheboro NC. During his tenure he served as an apprentice funeral director, mortician and final expense representative. In 1975 he returned to his family firm and served as an assistant to his father Joe Beeson for 5 years. In 1980 he joined Ketchum Inc., an international advertising and promotion firm in Pittsburg Pa. In 1985 he was promoted to senior vice president and managing partner of southeast operations headquartered in Charlotte NC and was later named to the executive committee. In 2005 after a 25 year career in advertising, he returned to the family insurance agency and become managing partner in 2007. He transformed the agency into an innovative funeral support consulting firm utilizing tools learned while at Ketchum Inc. Today, Beeson Consulting provides consulting services throughout the Carolina’s and has merged their family consulting firm with Independent Funeral Planning Alliance, (IFPA) out of Tennessee to offer greater marketing opportunities in social media management, data based marketing and agent recruitment.
Sean became involved in funeral service in 1988 and has devoted her career to working with families before and after a death. At 17, the sudden death of her 46-year old father was a turning point in her life. Upon learning the benefits of preplanning – Sean knew she had a story to tell. Her 30-year background includes work as a field representative for 2 preneed funding companies, a family service counselor at several funeral homes and cemeteries and a cremation society. In 2014, Sean accepted a position with Austin & Bell Funeral Home (Tennessee’s oldest funeral home established in 1842) as a Family Service Counselor. She is a licensed funeral director and is an NFDA Certified Preplanning Counselor. Sean grew up in Middle Tennessee – graduating from Battle Ground Academy and attended MTSU. She has been a life-long member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin. Sean is a charter member of the IFPA "$Million Dollar" Club. She is passionate about helping other counselors reach their potential and serves as an IFPA Regional Director and Trainer for firms in the TN/KY area.
706-289-3123 | Ron Lee started in the sales side of the funeral industry in 1990 as a sales counselor. He quickly moved into management with SCI over their St Louis and western Chicago region. After achieving Century Club status and being inducted into the hall of fame with SCI, Ron felt the need to move back to Georgia to be closer to his family. He joined IFPA in 2016 using his funeral director and sales experience of 36 years to serve independent funeral homes and the families they serve. He loves sharing his passion to serve others by protecting families and business partners through education, training and speaking engagements. After his education at Texas A&M he married Rebecca in 1981. they have four children and 5 grandchildren, and hope for more grands! They enjoy spending time with their family as well as traveling, home projects, hunting, fishing and many other outdoor activities.
540-470-0611 | James began his career as a Virginia Funeral Service Licensee and Insurance Agent in 1998, and then began specializing in Advance Planning in 2000. As Director of Advance Planning, he was responsible for daily sales production and assisted with marketing, advertising, recruitment and training of new agents. Over the next several years he served in the role of sales agent, area sales manager, regional sales director and following a company merger was sales manager. In 2012, he joined a large preneed insurance company as Director of Business Development. It was during this time he determined the years spent assisting families and agents while running many different sales programs had prepared him to start a third party marketing company. In 2016 Lakeland Preneed Planning llc. was formed to assist with the following: 1. Protecting and growing your place in the market 2. Minimizing the “maybe” families 3. Provide programs that align with the culture of your funeral home and meet your goals. As a marketing partner with IFPA and Homesteaders Life Co., Lakeland Preneed Planning llc.is licensed in VA, TN, NC, SC and Fl. James is married to Melissa, has four daughters and 4 grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys bass fishing and building custom fishing rods.
Sheryl Zuker began her career in the funeral industry in 1991 first working with Service Corporation International as a Sales Manager in Mcalester, Oklahoma and Sales Manager and General Manager in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, then going on to become a Funeral Account Sales Manager with Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company. Over her career, she has won Numerous Regional and National awards for Sales, Family Service and Administrative Excellence including Both Sales Manager and General Manager of the Year Awards. Sheryl has worked in several funeral homes with pre-need sales, assisting funeral directors from the first call all the way through the funeral and assisting the families with aftercare, giving her a great understanding of the inner working of the funeral home. Sheryl became a certified funeral celebrant to further aid funeral homes with new ideas for personalized services Sheryl has served as Vice-President, President and is the current Secretary/Treasurer for the Oklahoma Funeral Sales Supply Club. Sheryl joined the management team of Thomas and Associates in 2008 and in 2012 became the Senior Sales Territory Manager.
Background: • Education- received a B.A. In Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma, • Received additional hours beyond undergraduate work in the area of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. • Earned FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) designation through LOMA (Life Office Management Association). Employment: • Special Projects Director and Counselor with Community Council of Central Oklahoma • Special Projects Director for Community Action Programs of Oklahoma City and County • Insurance Sales with Mid Continent Life Insurance Co., Globe Life, United American Life. • Director of Marketing and Sales with Directors Life Assurance Co. • Consultant/Sales & Marketing with Thomas & Associates since 2007. • Consultant/Sales & Marketing with Zuker Group/IFPA-2018 Over 30 years in the preneed industry with experience in assisting funeral homes in all aspects of preneed Sales and marketing, aftercare, counselor training, training in product utilization and lead development (to include social media (Facebook) advertising for name recognition and lead conversion. Experienced in community presentations and seminar development. My main goal (with the assistance of our very capable Zuker Group Team) is to design and help implement those programs and activities that will assist the funeral home directors and leaders in retaining current clients and growing their current market share.
310-866-0066 | Ron started his career in 1983 and has 35 years in the industry. He worked with Restland of Dallas as a top salesperson and became a top sales manager winning many awards for top volume. Ron became VP of sales Tex Division and then moved to California in 1996 and worked with SCI, handling 11 mortuaries and 16 agents. He became top group(pod) for preneed sales in California. In 2005, Ron opened his own group, RPA Associates. The group represents 54 mortuaries in California with 33 active agents and 7-8 Million in Insurance sales per year.
814-450-9460 | Bob is a 4th generation funeral director from Pittsburgh, PA and currently resides in Erie, PA where he is the certified advance funeral planner for Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, LLP, producing over a $1,000,000 since joining the IFPA team. A 1983 University of Pittsburgh graduate with a B.S. in psychology and an emphasis in grief counseling. He attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Since 1990, he has specialized and worked specifically in the pre-need market, working with over 30 Pennsylvania funeral homes developing and growing their pre-need programs. He is the proud father of four children, Katie, Sean, Kara and Abby, and a new grampa to Graham. When not on the job, Bob is a Masters Swimming All-American and swim coach, an avid amateur actor and a karaoke enthusiast! Erie is the perfect home for him in the summer months, often being found lounging at his beach “office”.
864-362-4020 | Chester Henderson is a second-generation funeral director who has worked with a variety of funeral homes. From small to large including corporate firms, his varied experiences as a preneed funeral director have prepared and uniquely positioned him to assist and develop preneed programs for all. This enables him to understand the complexities of a large firm and the needs of a smaller firm, while implementing a preneed program to ensure market growth. Chester’s career has centered around service. He is a United States Air Force veteran, a high school track coach for over twenty years, a licensed funeral director and has served on the Greenville County Medical Examiner Commission. Chester was born in Tampa, Florida where his father and uncle founded and co-owned Wilson Funeral Home but has lived and worked in upstate South Carolina since 1982. He is married to Orchid and they have three sons; Tristan, Vyron and Nikolus, and five grandchildren; Talan, Eliyana, Vayden, Valynn and Vyanna.