More than 780 floral industry members traveled to Miami Oct. 21-Oct. 23 for the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier’s 2015 Floral Distribution Conference.
This year’s record-breaking attendance continues a five-year upward trend. In 2014 the conference attracted 750 people, a feat WF&FSA Immediate Past President Alan Tanouye, of Floralife Inc., attributed in part to its South Florida location.
Among the highlights of this year’s event: Rob Shibata, president of Mt. Eden Floral Company in San Jose, California, assumed the organization’s presidency. As he took on his new role, Shibata presented his vision for the coming year, one centered on the phrase, “We’re still here.”
“As a group, we are a tough, resilient, innovative, hard working, adaptable, industry,” he told the packed room. “We’ve had to change as business people, and we’ve had to change as an industry. And do you know what? We’re all still here. And not only are we still here, but we are moving into the future as companies. The companies that I know are pushing into the future.” Read his full remarks.
In assuming the presidency, Shibata joined a select group of industry families who have seen two generations head WF&FSA: His father, Yoshimi Shibata, was president of WF&FSA 43 years ago. Making Robert’s new role even more poignant, Yoshimi died peacefully at his home less than two weeks after the conference this year ended.
During the conference, WF&FSA also presented its Leland T. Kintzele Distinguished Service Award award to Len Levy of Hillcrest Gardens in Paramus, New Jersey. The annual award is the organization’s highest honor.
Read more about the conference, including a full list of new leaders and awards, and download presentations from the event.