Educational Seminars

Optional Bus Tours

Friday, February 23rd
See Schedule for Times

The old saying “Everything is BIGGER in Texas”, could not be more true than with the MBNA 2018 MBUniversity Conference. Not only are we bringing you unbelievable educational seminars and an immense vendor presence; but, we are offering you the opportunity to choose between two optional activities taking place on Friday, February 23.

The first option will have you loading a bus heading to the beautiful city of Waco. While there, we will be visiting Magnolia Market from the famed HGTV show, “The Fixer Uppers” starring Chip and Joanna Gaines. This is the location where they sell many of the same and similar items they use in decorating the homes on their show. Upon leaving the Market, we will take a short ride to the City of Woodway for lunch at the city’s Arboretum and enjoy a visit from some very special guests. Before returning to Irving, we will take a driving tour of the neighborhoods that are full of the “Fixer Upper” homes.

The second option will take you back to school, the School of Hard Rocks. Those of you that work day in and day out with stone will want to join us us as we take a bus from Irving to Waxahachie, home of Giles Monument Co., where we will have a self-guided tour of the showroom and grounds before viewing professionally lead, live demonstrations featuring four of the most respected men in our industry. Join us as we go through four (4) different stages. We will stop for lunch and networking before continuing with some more demonstrations. After the dust has settled, you will have had the opportunity to watch our four (4) masters at work. Charlie Hunt will take on shell rock and broken texture, while Troy Caldwell will be working with torch/thermo finishing, Jim Gast will be showing why he is known for break out and sun burst and John Scott will be putting his touch on bluing and whitening. We will once again board the bus and return to the hotel.

Seating is limited. Pre-Registration for activities are required and will be based on a first come first serve basis. We guarantee that both of these optional activities will be filling up fast so don’t wait to sign up.

Software Shoot Out

Saturday, February 24th
8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Moderated by Troy Caldwell, CM, AICA, Caldwell Monument Company
Featuring: Rob Fisher, Gerber Technology; Ian Turpin, Monu-Cad; Cameron Moore, MemorialDESIGNER; Shelley Cochran, Cochran’s Inc.
Choosing the right software for your firm is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. How do you go about the decision-making process? This session is designed to help you with that dilemma.

There are various types of software for all sorts of services and programs out there, but this session is going to focus on CAD (computer aided design) programs. Expert-users of MemorialDESIGNER, Gerber, Monu-Cad and Cochran’s Inc. have agreed to participate in an apples-to-apples comparison of each program. There will be four sets of projectors and screens set up with each user’s laptop and software connected. Over the course of three hours, these experts will be given tasks to complete using their specific software. The entire time a moderator will be asking questions of the users to gain insight into their processes.

Sometimes one method isn’t better than the other, it’s just different. With this session, we hope to help you find the right method, for you.

The Grand Design for Sales Success

Saturday, February 24th
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Presented by Don Calhoun, CM, Murphy Granite Carving, Inc.
Featuring  Jon Theis, Murphy Granite Carving, Inc., Dan Lozinski, Murphy Granite Carving, Inc.
In the old Starkist commercial they asked Charlie the question: “Do you want tuna with good taste, or tuna that tastes good?”  In our profession, we could ask the question this way: “Do sales lead to good design or does good design lead to sales?”

Donald Calhoun, CM will lead this session, with designers Jon Theis and Dan Lozinski, that focuses on designs that drive sales.  The art of presentation is the ace in the hole for a sales professional.  When done correctly, great design and presentation will definitely drive results.  Design professionals Jon andDan will show you their approach to providing the “WOW” factor in design that is specifically designed to drive the bottom line.  This session will provide an exclusive and rare look behind the curtain of design techniques utilized to make a difference in custom or larger project presentations.  Both Charlie the Tuna and yourself will have to agree, great design definitely leads to great sales.

MBAdvocacy: Empowerment to Preserve History

Saturday, February 24th
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Presented by Marilyn Harris-Davis, JD, MBNA Advocate
2018 promises to be an exciting year! MBNA is moving forward with new legislative initiatives that will benefit the death care industry. This year, we have brought a new advocate to our team and she is committed to working with us on our goal to achieve legislative equality.

Marilyn Harris-Davis will address the issues relative to the removal of the historical monuments which we have built and will address your suggestions and recommendations on where to go from here as we face these turbulent times.

Welcome to the Era of Software and Service Subscriptions

Saturday, February 24th
3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Presented by Scott Neal, Paradise Pictures, LLC
It’s clear now that we don’t own as many things as we used to.  In the case of software and products or services that we use to run our businesses, that “can be” a good thing.  This presentation will walk you through many areas of our businesses where software as a service and subscriptions are becoming the norm.  We’ll talk about their advantages and disadvantages when covering categories such as phone systems, accounting programs, design programs, electronic filing, cloud storage, cloud based mail and productivity systems.

The goals of our discussion will be to provide a basic and sometimes an intermediate understanding of the options available to today’s small business owner with an emphasis on the Monument Dealer.  We’ll develop ideas that will help you take your business to the next level in these areas.

An extensive handout will be provided summarizing many of the topics and examples discussed.

Scott Neal is a CPA and the General Manager of Paradise Pictures.  One of the hats he wears at Paradise is managing the company’s operational technology.  Prior to his nineteen years at Paradise, Scott was a Senior Manager at Oracle Corporation and was an auditor at Ernst & Young where he focused on small emerging businesses.


Iron Sharpens Iron: A Worker’s Forum

Saturday, February 24th
3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Moderated by Marilyn Harris-Davis, JD, MBNA Advocate, and Kim Fantaci, MBNA Executive Vice President
Most educational efforts from MBNA are focused on owners and their needs. This year, we wanted to mix it up by hosting a worker’s forum or roundtable discussion. We’ve all had jobs where we thought “Why is our boss doing that?” Or “I’m sure I could do it better if the boss would let me try my way!” Now’s the opportunity to commiserate and collaborate with your peers from other businesses in attendance. We’re hoping to stir up some new ideas and shine a light on things that need fixing. There will be a strict NO OWNERS ALLOWED policy for this session and all names will be kept confidential should your idea or thought merit sharing in future editions of MBNews or the MBBrief.

3D Printing and the Monument Industry

Sunday, February 25th
8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Moderated by Sean Kilmer, MakerTree 3D, LLC
Sean Kilmer is CEO and 3D printing specialist at MakerTree 3D, LLC who partners with large corporations, small engineering firms and start-up innovators alike, to create rapid prototypes or functional end-use parts of their and designs, using 3D printing technology to inspire new product ideas while saving companies time and money.

Having dedicated nearly two decades working in the medical and dental CAD/ CAM technology fields in both production and as an instructor, Sean has had the opportunity for extensive first-hand experience with a wide range of commercial and industrial 3D printing and 3D scanning technologies.

The extensive exposure to these powerful tools of the digital manufacturing age, has continually driven Sean in his passion of teaching and empowering others with their creative ideas.  With lists of accreditation and certifications within dental technology, ranging from technical achievements in CAD/CAM systems and Quality Management, to having articles of his work published in multiple medical journals, the true desire was ultimately outside of these niche industries of years past, and the path forward would be for the much broader application potential for these technologies.

Through MakerTree 3D, Sean has been able to assist engineers, marketing teams and innovative thinkers to make their ideas take shape. Whether to quickly prototype form & fitment of a design before sending it off for expensive heavy machining, or for customization of one-off end use parts, Sean discusses how 3D printing, saves businesses of all sizes costs associated with product development, inspires new and innovative ideas, and ways in which 3D printing helps to get new products to market more quickly.

CAD User Groups

Sunday, February 25th
10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Featuring: Rob Fisher, Gerber Technology, Ian Turpin, Monu-Cad, Cameron Moore, Memorial Designer, and Shelley Cochran, Cochran’s Inc.
Were you intrigued by one of the software programs at the Computer Shootout on Saturday?  Wish there was more time for the users to explain things?  Now is your chance to dive deeper into your preferred program!  Our experts have graciously offered their time to elaborate on some of the methods you saw just the other day.  Each program will be in separate rooms and seating is limited!

About MBUniversity: Established in 2006, MBUniversity is the educational arm of MBNA. The University was established to develop and administer educational courses for MBNA members and future members. Schools within the university are being created to address specific needs of independent monument builders.

Conference Dates

Friday, February 23, 2018
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sunday, February 25, 2018