Cynthia Beal – Group Leader, Business Transition Planning, Feasibility Analysis, and Sustainability Oversight
Independent business entrepreneur and alternative lifestyle enthusiast for over 30 years, Beal is an outspoken advocate for natural burial in existing cemeteries throughout the world. She's the founder of the Natural Burial Company, a ground-breaking supplier of biodegradable coffins and natural burial goods from respected weavers and manufacturers in the UK, Asia, and Europe, and designer of various innovative funeral products including the Shrouding Board(TM), the Caskit(TM) and the Earth Cell(TM). Prior to founding the company in 2004, Beal worked in the sustainable agriculture, organic foods and natural products sectors, actively contributing to the alternative health education and advocacy, organic standards, environmental awareness, and certification movements from the mid-80's until the present.
After touring natural burial sites in the UK and studying the available science worldwide, she formed an alliance with Ken West, Peter Rock and other funeral and ecological experts to help adapt the UK's successful techniques to North American conditions and needs. These techniques, coupled with Beals' extensive background in both natural product standards, consumer desire, and business planning strategy and implementation, create a unique and broad platform that helps SCMG clients "think around all the corners" and plan an effective and profitable entry into more sustainable end-of-life practices.
Spearheading the Sustainable Cemetery Management Group, Beal guides the team and foscuses strongly on existing cemetery conversion, working with cemetery operators and funeral service providers to provide the rationale and implementation frameworks that help existing cemeteries, municipalities, risk managers, and policy planners anticipate the obstacles, assess the long-term benefits, and begin the transition to improved funeral service and cemetery options that increase use, access, habitat, and existing cemetery capacity while reducing financial exposure to cemetery decline and failure over the long term.
Ken West - Senior Technical Adviser, Sustainable Cemetery Management and Conversion
A trained horticulturalist and respected cemetery and crematoria manager with 45 years experience working primarily in the municipal and public-service sectors, West devised and opened the first natural burial site in the United Kingdom for the City of Carlisle and instigated the Charter for the Bereaved. He has created natural burial programs for several city-run cemeteries in the UK, enabling them to transition to more natural techniques. He advises the UK Government on cemetery provision, crematoria standards, and carbon footprinting, and was awarded the MBE by His Royal Highness Prince Charles in 2002 for services to burial and cremation.
A past-president (1993) of Britain's Institute for Burial and Cremation (US's ICCFA equivalent), he is a judge for the UK's annual cemetery competition, currently provides licensing and training to UK crematoria managers, and has contributed to the Association for Natural Burial Grounds guidelines. He has a wide range of natural burial schemes to draw from in advising clients, as well as a background in municipal parks management and bereavement services. His guidebook on natural burial will be published and available for cemetery managers to learn from in the near future. West is now retired, and remains very active in moving the natural burial movement forward in both the UK and the US. See his CV at https://natural-burial.typepad.com/NBC_docs/kenwest.cv.doc
Peter Rock – Business Analysis and Project Management
Manufacturer of the Ecopod coffin and Sales Director of the Natural Burial Company, Rock is well known within the natural burial and funeral movements in the UK. Founder of One to One Business Support, he is an established business consultant and project manager, working with a wide rage of market sectors and businesses, including ARKA Original Funerals, one of the UK’s most respected (and first!) all-natural funeral businesses in Brighton, UK. Rock has an extensive wholesale sales background, as well as a decade of University-based business development program management. He was a forensics technician in the UK and is not unfamiliar with the technical aspects of body management. Rock's project management and business development experience can help SCMG's larger clients bring focus to a highly complex project that can, with the right teamwork, become a profitable endeavor for cemetery groups that wish to convert. See https://www.peterrock.co.uk and https://www.ecopod.co.uk.
Stephen Clarke - Impact Research, Landscape Evaluation and Restoration Ecology
A trained civil engineer, land manager, and contract administrator with many years of experience implementing ecological restoration and management projects, mainly across the American West. Clarke specializes in applying current ecological research to landowner goals, sharing this information and developing staff to implement them effectively. Working for federal, state and local government as well as individuals, industry, trusts and non-profits has provided him with a unique insight into the challenges of making restoration work - i.e., be revenue neutral or even profitable - in the long-run. An experienced non-profit volunteer and board member, his technical skills in research, administration, construction and restoration have regularly been put to use by local and national conservation organizations in developing their projects. Much of his recent work has focused on the links between parks/open spacedesign, savannah restoration, and fire ecology.