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18 of the largest independent funeral home owners in the nation commissioned a landmark funeral service study conducted by McKee, Wallwork & Co.
Passare was established as a result of the study’s findings in order to meet the changing needs and preferences of today’s funeral consumers.
As a tech start-up, Passare developed a robust educational consumer website along with a unique cloud-based platform for funeral professionals and families alike.
Passare launched the funeral industry’s only collaboration platform to help simplify the funeral planning process.
Passare was acquired by Directors Investment Group, and under new management, the company grew its customer base by over 300% in 9 months.
The focus of Passare became “continuous improvement.” Based on customer feedback, Passare produced regular updates to the system approximately every 3 weeks.
Product enhancements based on customer feedback continue to drive the progress of the platform!
French Funerals – Cremations
Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum
Horan & McConaty
Directors Investment Group
Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Services
McKee + Wallwork Co.
Funeral Directors Life Insurance Co.
D.F. “Duffy” Swan, Chairman of the Board, currently resides as Chairman of French Funerals-Cremations and the French Family of Companies, after having previously served as President and CEO. Duffy holds a BA in Political Science from the University of New Mexico and has also attended Executive summer programs at both Harvard and Wharton.
He devoted 35 years in the telecommunications industry and served in a number of management and executive capacities. In 1986, he became Vice President and CEO for USWEST-New Mexico and in 1991 became part of USWEST’s International Division and directed startup businesses in Russia, Hungary and Malaysia.
He retired from USWEST International in 1997 but returned to the telecom industry in 2000 when he became Vice President for a rural, domestic startup VALOR Telecomm. Additionally, Duffy served two different periods as UNM’s Director of Development and President of its Foundation. In 2004 he joined the French family of companies which he has since lead to becoming one of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s premier businesses and one of the nation’s leading providers of service in the funeral industry.
Gary Freytag has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum since joining the organization in 2003.
Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Dartmouth and a Master of Business Administration with distinction from Harvard. He joined the Spring Grove Family after previously serving as President of Information Alternatives, a Cincinnati based technology-consulting company where he led efforts to expand its customer base into new markets including distribution, government and wireless.
Prior to that, Gary served as Treasurer of Eagle-Picher, a diversified manufacturing company with nearly one billion dollars in worldwide revenue. There he was responsible for managing their debt reduction strategy and re-introducing them to Wall Street. He also spent 10 years in manufacturing as President of Performance Manufacturing, a Cincinnati-based company that produced industrial products. His other business experience includes management consulting and venture capital.
John Horan serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Horan & McConaty Funeral Service/Cremation and is a fifth generation funeral director. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Colorado and later attended the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science where he was the recipient of the Hosford Leadership Award. John has achieved the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), which is the highest professional designation one can accomplish in funeral service.
In addition, John serves as a board member of numerous organizations such as The Samaritan Institute and Counseling Centers, the Denver Hospice, The HeartLight Center, The Colorado Ethics in Business Awards, and The Libby Bortz Assisted Living Center.
Kris Seale serves as the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of DIG and its subsidiaries, including Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company (FDLIC).
In addition, Kris currently sits on the board of directors of the Community Bank of Snyder and the Abilene Youth Sports Authority. He is a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and is a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachlor of Business Administration degree.
Kris grew up in the funeral service profession as the son of a funeral director, the late Bill Seale, who served as a funeral director for over 57 years. He is passionate about inspiring employees, sales professionals, and client to succeed in all aspects of life, from their spiritual lives, to their personal lives, to their business and work life. He is also committed to serving funeral directors and clients by providing them with valuable services and excellent products through DIG and its subsidiaries.
Mark Krause is President of Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with Bachelor Degrees in both Political Science and History and attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science where graduated in 1982. Mark subsequently received a Master in Business Administration Degree in 1993.
Additionally, Mark is a founder and Past President of the Funeral Service and Cremation Alliance of Wisconsin (FSCA) as well as Past President of Preferred Funeral Directors, International (PFDI) and Past President of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA). He is a nationally recognized funeral profession educator and regularly speaks at national, regional and state conventions and seminars. In 2008, Krause also addressed the International Chinese Funeral Exposition in Shanghai. He served as a professor and Dean at the ICCFA University teaching in both the Cremation Services and 21st Century Services Colleges. Mark has also chaired numerous national and state funeral profession conventions and regularly contributes to industry publications.
Steve McKee is President of McKee Wallwork & Company and author of Power Branding and When Growth Stalls. He has nearly three decades of experience as a leading brand strategist and is the pioneer of MWC’s noted Charrette planning process. He is a longtime marketing columnist for BusinessWeek.com and has been published or quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, Advertising Age, Adweek, Investor’s Business Daily and The Los Angeles Times (among others), and has appeared on CNBC, ESPN2, CNN, Bloomberg radio, and network television affiliates across America.
Todd Carlson has worked in funeral service continuously since receiving his Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota in 1989. He worked 5 years as a funeral director and has spent the balance of this time focused on funeral pre-arrangement. Todd is a licensed funeral director and insurance agent, and is a Certified Pre-Planning Consultant®, a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner®, and a Certified Cremation Arranger®.
Todd is Executive Vice President of Sales and Chief Sales Officer for Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company (FDLIC) and FDLIC’s parent company, Directors Investment Group. Since joining FDLIC in 2006, Todd has lead the sales team to account for more than $1 billion in preneed sales. Before joining FDLIC, Todd was the Preneed Services Director for the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association where he oversaw the Minnesota Funeral Plan®. The Minnesota Funeral Plan® provides funeral and cremation pre-funding products and services to funeral homes and is a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association. Prior to this, Todd was a Regional Sales Director for Assurant Preneed where he received “Sales Person of the Year” honors in 2000.
Tom Bonafair, Board Member & Interim CEO, holds a BS from the University of Detroit, where he won a football scholarship, and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He teaches Mergers and Acquisitions Course to graduate students at the Robert O. Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico. He is a Senior Executive Advisor to Perella Weinber Partners and has been a Senior Advisor to Chemical Venture Partners, Chase Capital Partners, and JPMorgan Chase Partners in New York City. He recently served on the Private Equity Investment Committee for the State of New Mexico, appointed by the Governor of the State of New Mexico, and serves on various non-profit boards in Albuquerque.
Tom most recently was Chairman of Bonafair Management Group of New Mexico, and Bonafair Management Group of Florida, a private company selling Pella Windows and Doors with annual sales of $40MM. with two warehouses and 15 retail showrooms across the assigned territory. Prior to Pella, he owned and operated, as CEO, New Mexico Beverage Company, the state-wide distributor of Miller Brewing Company and other beers, waters and soft drinks with annual sales of $75MM. He also owns Santa Fe Springs water company. New Mexico Beverage Company had six warehouses throughout the state. Tom also held top management and senior marketing positions with Coca-Cola Company, A&W Beverage Co., Beech-Nut Company, and Ford Motor Company. He was also President of Brentano's International, a worldwide book retailer based in New York City.
Passare offers a generous compensation and benefits package to team members.