The New York State Funeral Directors Association (NYSFDA) will host its annual statewide convention in Rochester, August 14 - 17, 2016. The event is expected to bring 600 funeral directors, guests and exhibitors to the region. The Convention will be held at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center and The Hyatt Regency Rochester.

Walter J. Kent, owner of Walter J. Kent Funeral Home in Elmira will be installed President of the Association while in town. A New York State licensed funeral director since 1981, Kent will serve for the 2016-2017 term.

"It is a great honor to be installed president of NYSFDA," Kent said. "I will do everything I can to further the values of the funeral and memorial process in today's society."

"The 2016 Convention is also important to me and my wife Diane because our son, Tyler, will be graduating from the NYSFDA Leadership Academy (LA) while in Rochester," said Kent.

The one-year LA program required NYSFDA member funeral directors (who took part in a competitive application process) to attend a series of development workshops; take part in periodic web-based trainings; and complete a group capstone project which includes research findings that will be shared during the Convention.

Says NYSFDA Executive Director Michael A. Lanotte, "This Convention provides an excellent opportunity for funeral professionals to gain additional skills to better serve families and their communities, develop a stronger understanding of funeral service laws and best practices, as well as build closer relationships with the caregiver colleagues they work with every day."

The Convention will offer a variety of programs for attendees and a trade show for licensed funeral directors and their guests. More than 50 exhibiting companies have secured booth space to showcase caskets, hearses, and other funeral-related items.

Educational opportunities include topics relating to creating meaningful memorials; NYS funeral law; technology; ethics; grief; and business management. Funeral directors will also learn the latest information about the soon-to-be implemented NYS Electronic Death Registration System.

“Visit Rochester is thrilled to welcome the New York State Funeral Directors Association back to Rochester for the first time since 1989,” said Don Jeffries, president & CEO, Visit Rochester. "We trust that the more than 600 attendees will enjoy both a productive convention and time well spent exploring and discovering some of Rochester's cultural gems."

While in the area, funeral directors and their guests will have the opportunity to participate in a shopping excursion to Pittsford; visit the George Eastman Museum and Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, and attend their annual awards banquet and reception at The Hyatt Regency Rochester.

Founded in 1889, NYSFDA's mission is to promote the highest standards of funeral service to the public and to enhance the environment in which its members operate. More than 900 member firms and 3300 licensed funeral directors who operate across the state belong to the New York State Funeral Directors Association. In addition to maintaining a website at, NYSFDA also publishes brochures and information which educate and inform consumers about end-of-life issues.