Meet Selected Independent Member – Greg Hackman
We recently caught up with one of our valued partners, Greg Hackman, owner of Hackman Family Funeral Homes in Sturgis, Michigan, to find out more about his home, it’s history, what drives him and why he aligns himself with partnerships like Everdays and Selected Independent.
Insights from Greg Hackman
1. Why did you choose to enter the funeral profession?
My father joined the funeral home as an embalmer and funeral director in 1954 and purchased the business with two partners in 1972.
While I looked at other career options in my teens, I always found myself drawn back to the funeral home. I was especially drawn to my dad’s passion and pride in his career and the way he helped families during such a tough time in their lives. I truly admired what he did for people.
2. What do you enjoy most about working at your funeral home and in the funeral profession?
I love helping people – I love helping families through the most difficult time in their life. I also love the fact that every day is different, every family is different in their dynamics. I enjoy trying to keep up with and adapting to the changes that the industry has gone through and continues to go through – contrary to what many outside of the profession may think, it is always evolving – and in today’s rapidly changing technology, there is always something new and exciting to learn.
3. Service is often highlighted as the key differentiator when comparing funeral homes; what do you do differently to stand out among other directors/owners and homes?
Not to sound like a cliché – but “Service is Everything” – and for us it’s all about going that extra mile. We live in a small town, and we work with and for our community – a community that we are available to 24 hours-a-day. We use an answering service very little – there is almost always a staff member personally taking calls around the clock. I want the families we are serving to have access to one of us at any time. We truly are just a phone call away.
4. How has the profession changed since you started?
The obvious change has been the introduction of new technology on both the front and back end of the business. But the most significant change I’ve seen, since I got started in the funeral profession, is the cremation rate. Cremations were less than 10% of funeral services when I started – today over 50% of services are cremations, and this continues to rise. This shift has created yet another change in our industry.- I see more folks moving toward a ‘gathering’ with a lesser emphasis on what we at one time could call the traditional arrangements with religious services.
5. Burnout is a real issue in the funeral profession. What do you do outside of the funeral home to relax?
Time with my family is very important. When I feel the need to reflect and recharge I try and step away from the funeral home for short periods of time, maybe a day of two alone where I can reflect on my business and try and look forward to the future and what it may have in store for myself, staff and family. My favorite form of relaxation comes from fishing, especially bass fishing. I used to do a lot of traveling and competing in bass tournaments all over the country – I still compete some locally but I stay closer to home these days.
Hackman Family Funeral Homes + Everdays
1. How do you see technology changing the profession in the future?
The future is here – it is now – and we need to stay on top of it. Technology, has been one of the biggest change factors in our industry. From official documentation and reporting, to billing and communication, technology continues to drive and influence our industry. Everything is available through our phones, and it all seems to be at our fingertips.
2. What made you choose Everdays for your client families?
I looked at Everdays and realized that even as a 57-year old I was able to understand it, and how it could really help the families we serve. It was very simple to learn and use, and it didn’t take long to realize what an invaluable tool and service it was for my families.
They use it!
3. You have a lot to do each day, what has helped you successfully incorporate Everdays into your process?
That’s a very simple answer: IT WORKS!
Everdays is a natural extension of our service, and creating the Announcement for the family is the first thing we do as we come out of the arrangement meeting. It takes less than 5 minutes – it’s easy to create and very positive to the family and our home.
As more people learn and use the service, this will be a must for every funeral home. My families use it and like it. I always get excited when they share their experience with the service, and it has always been very positive.
4. Do you have any stories that you can share about how Everdays helped a particular family?
I recently had a family that shared their gratitude for the Announcement, because they were able to share the notification with friends and family all over the world. As a former serviceman in the Army, the son of the deceased had friends all over the country and many friends still serving throughout the world. He shared his excitement when he was able to inform friends as far away as South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and Iceland. It keeps everyone in the loop.
Join thousands of directors providing Everdays to their client families who ensure their home is in the center of every Announcement, where communities range from 100 to 10,000+ people. Click the link to learn more.