Edit ModuleShow Tags

Top Company 2010: Horan & McConaty


Ask John Horan for a story, and he might recount how failing eyesight once caused one of Horan & McConaty's older directors to lead a funeral procession into the parking garage at Cherry Creek Mall.

"Our director went to the husband of the woman who had died to express his apology," Horan says. "The husband smiled and said that his wife loved the mall, and this was surely a sign that she was in heaven."

Guidance from above - or just luck? Either way, it was a rare light note in a business the Horan family has taken very seriously for more than a century.

"In our work, we don't get a second chance to do things well," Horan says. "We consider it a sacred trust to manage our business with the highest professional standards."

In fact, Horan & McConaty wants professional standards to be the law. Colorado is the only state in the nation that doesn't require a license to run a funeral service company or become a funeral director, embalmer or cremationist, Horan says. The company has been working with state legislators to change that.

"We need to empower people to be careful consumers and ask questions," he says. "People do more research when they buy a car or an appliance than when they choose a funeral-service company."

When it comes to choices, make no mistake - although they've been around since the late 1800s, this independent company isn't your grandpa's funeral service company. Horan & McConaty's commitment to quality means using state-of-the art technology wherever possible.

During the service, digital projectors and drop-down screens in the chapels at each of its six locations facilitate visual memorials. Online obituaries and guest books make it possible for people elsewhere to connect with grieving friends and family members.

"All funeral arrangements are made using a Web-based platform that enables us to show families exactly how important documents will look and verifying that spellings and key details are exactly as expected," Horan says. "We provide a memorial DVD of a family's photos whenever we are involved in a funeral or memorial service and have dedicated state-of-the art sound and music systems."

Amid all the technology, however, Horan & McConaty maintains a very low-tech dedication to giving back.

"For over 100 years, my family has endeavored to do the right thing by caring for those with financial hardships, donating services for police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty and giving back by supporting charities that help people cope with grief," Horan says.

The company has created and donated veteran walls in long-term care residences, including one at the Denver Hospice Care Center. Its grief support and community education programs are open to anyone.

One of the company's little known acts of compassion benefits people whose relatives chose an urn rather than a coffin.

"We built the most amazingly beautiful gardens for those who want a permanent place for their loved one's cremated remains," Horan says. "It's important to have a place to go and remember, a place that connects us tangibly to the person we loved."
{pagebreak:Page 1}

Edit Module
Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's Digital Editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Do we need a new word for entrepreneur?

Has the word entrepreneur become too trendy as to have lost its meaning? I’m hearing it and the word entrepreneurship being used in so many conversations incorrectly. I’m critical of the use of the word "entrepreneur"...are you?

Hot tips for emerging company boards

Emerging companies comprise a significant portion of Colorado businesses. Venture capitalists, angel investors and founders make up the shareholders and the boards of directors of many of these companies. I spoke recently to Fran Wheeler, a partner in the Business Department of the Colorado Office...

Three great tips to accelerate success

Although leaders frequently engage me to help them find a shortcut of some sort—to more effective leadership, to a better strategy, to a more highly functioning team—we rarely find a solution that involves little work. Shortcuts to wealth are generally illegal. Shortcuts to leadership are typicall...
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: