January 2023

Page B8 January 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on B Homesteaders Heroes Awards Honor Outstanding Employees Jason Richards Jeff Shepherd Ariana Rodriguez Allison Schaeffer Judy Ralston-Hansen committee reviewed each nomination to determine a recipient for each category. “Year after year, our Homesteaders Heroes showcase the ‘best of the best’ of our employees,” said Senior Human Resources Generalist Jayne Thovson. “These peer-nominated awards demonstrate how well-respected each recipient is and are a true testament to the quality and dedication of our team.” Homesteaders Heroes award recipients were named in five categories: Allison Schaeffer, Business Analyst received the Rising Star Award, which recognizes an employee who demonstrates eagerness to learn, commitment to Homesteaders and engagement with the company and peers early in his or her career. Since joining Homesteaders, Schaeffer has hit the ground running and has even accelerated in the year she’s been here, quickly becoming widely respected as a critical member of her team. Jeff Shepherd, Director–Project Management, received the Innovation Award, which recognizes an employee for the successful implementation of a new or updated product, service or program that results in a measurable improvement in the company’s performance, processes, or brand strength. Shepherd is always innovating, including recently revamping our corporate initiative tracking system, which has transformed the way we do business at Homesteaders. Ariana Rodriguez, Senior Graphic Designer received the Outstanding Teamwork Award, which recognizes enthusiasm, cooperation, problem-solving skills, commitment to success and a consistently positive attitude. Rodriguez’s organization, persistence, and willingness to drive things forward really helps keep teams in forward motion. Jason Richards, Project Manager, received the Inspiring Leadership Award, which recognizes an employee who has shown incredible leadership skills and can be described as inspiring, decisive, and visionary, yet humble and willing to give credit to others. In his 11 years with Homesteaders, Richards has served as a humble leader, willing to tackle every new challenge with calmness, insight and a focus on the best manner to achieve the business objective. Judy Ralston-Hansen, Executive Vice President of Human Resources received the Enduring Impact Award, which recognizes an employee for a significant, long-term contribution or body of accomplishments to Homesteaders that make a lasting impact on the company’s success. Since joining Homesteaders in 1997, Ralston-Hansen has dedicated her knowledge, skills and heart to the people of the organization and has always gone above and beyond, never giving less than 100% of her time and effort. Homesteaders Life Company, a mutual company owned by its policy holders, is the national leader providing products and services to help people design a better farewell. Visit www.homesteaderslife.com to learn more. WESTDESMOINES,IA— Homesteaders Life Company has announced the recipients of its annual Homesteaders Heroes awards. The peer-nominated awards recognize employees who support Homesteaders’ mission and values, making a positive impact on the success of the company and its customers. This year there were nearly 50 employees nominated for the awards, with many receiving multiple nominations. An internal selection TODAY Register The 2023 CFSA Annual Conference is an investment in your company’s future – gaining you access to thought leaders, allowing you to collaborate on best practices, energize, and develop leadership innovations.When we gather in Indianapolis, we honor our history while networking with the future. Spark Connections at the 2023 Annual Conference. Register at cfsaa.org/annualconference Covington Appointed Homesteaders Life Company Senior Vice President Enterprise Strategic Planning Laurie Covington WEST DES MOINES,IA— Nick Gerhart, Chief Innovation Officer at Homesteaders Life Company, announced the promotion of Laurie Covington to Senior Vice President – Enterprise Strategic Planning. Covington joined Homesteaders in 2012 as Director of Application Development and has led a wide range of organizational initiatives including a major shift to the Agile Methodology and more recently, the development of EnGauge CRM where she worked closely with distribution partners. “Throughout our long history, Homesteaders has continued to grow and lead the insurance industry and funeral profession,” said Covington. “I’m thrilled and excited to help this great company continue on that journey, working with leadership to continually translate our vision and purpose into action.” Covington succeeds Kim Medici Shelquist. Shelquist is retiring from the role of Senior Vice President – Planning and Development after 13 years with the company. Shelquist noted, “Laurie is an outstanding leader and has a strong understanding of Homesteaders, our strategy and the initiatives we are undertaking to achieve our goals. Her knowledge and skills made the transition seamless.” “Laurie and Kim worked together in 2015 to develop Homesteaders’ original digital roadmap ahead of the eFuneral launch,” observed Gerhart. “Laurie’s work on that effort, her strong technology background and her leadership on significant efforts such as EnGauge CRM prepared her to succeed in this new role.” Covington earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Dordt University and her MBA from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. She lives outside Des Moines with her husband and four children. She is an avid rower and runner and recently completed her fifth half marathon. Park Lawn Corp v. PlotBox Lawsuit Dismissed BOSTON,MA— PlotBox, the mission-critical software solution for deathcare operators globally, recently announced a Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice had been filed with the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in a purported trade secrets lawsuit. Park Lawn Corporation, the Plaintiff in the case, dismissed the lawsuit without a settlement agreement or compensation. United States District Court Judge Stephanos Bibas signed the Stipulation of Dismissal on November 1, 2022, which marks a successful and final conclusion of the lawsuit for PlotBox. Because the action was dismissed with prejudice, the Plaintiff is precluded from bringing another action on this claim. “We are pleased to report that, the case is now fully and finally closed,” said PlotBox president and CEO Sean McAllister. “We have maintained all along that there was no basis for the lawsuit and are happy that the suit was dismissed.” On June 25, 2020, the Plaintiff filed the original lawsuit (20-CV-01484) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. On October 29, 2020, the Texas court dismissed the lawsuit. The next day, the case was refiled in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. “We were always confident in a positive outcome,’’ added McAllister. “We’ve remained focused on building our business and supporting our customers. We look forward to announcing some exciting product news in the near future.” PlotBox is a cloud-based death care management solution that facilitates cemeteries, funeral homes, and crematories in operating to world-class standards. It is unique and significantly superior because, unlike all other providers in the space, it is the world’s first death care software solution to fully integrate two previously separate functions – software and mapping. Headquartered in Northern Ireland, with offices in the United States and Australia, the growing team of more than 80 professionals across all locations gives PlotBox the capability to provide the same professional levels of service and satisfaction across the globe.