The Society of American Florists will honor four professionals with induction into the American Academy of Floriculture (AAF) during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner on Sept. 15 at SAF Palm Springs 2018, the association’s 134th Annual Convention at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California.
The 2018 AAF inductees are: Theresa Colucci, AIFD, PFCI, of Meadowscent in Gardiner, New York; Jackie Lacey, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, of Floriology in Jacksonville, Florida; Laurie D. Lemek, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, of Floral Balance, LLC in Ellington, Connecticut; and Renato Cruz Sogueco, PFCI, of BloomNet/Floriology Institute in Jacksonville, Florida.
AAF members have earned the prestigious rank by committing their time and energy to both the floral industry and their local communities. AAF members are vetted for volunteering and leadership service to the industry and their communities, and each application must be submitted with several letters of recommendation from local community professionals and peers in the industry.
“The Academy’s stringent requirements make AAF an achievement recognized throughout the floral industry,” said SAF Awards Committee Chairman Marvin Miller, Ph.D., AAF, of the Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, Illinois.
An overview of each inductee’s accomplishments follows:
Theresa Colucci, AIFD, PFCI
Theresa Colucci AIFD, PFCI, owns two retail florist shops, in the Hudson Valley of New York. She has been in business since 1987. In 2006, Colucci was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers, and in 2014 she achieved her PFCI designation. Theresa is an active member of the floral industry and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for PFCI and is current treasurer of the Northeast chapter of AIFD.
Previously, Colucci was the floral design instructor for the State University of New York at Cobleskill and an instructor at the New York Botanical Gardens. She has both chaired and been a featured designer at the Philadelphia Flower Show for several years and has been fortunate to design at the White House several times. Her passion for flowers and the floral industry keeps her busy seeking out trends, educating students and other florists, while continually educating herself from designers worldwide.
Jackie Lacey, AIFD, PFCI, CFD
Jackie Lacey has over thirty years of experience in the retail floral market and floral education field. He now utilizes his experience to provide education and instructional design programs, market showroom set up, private retail consulting, product development as well as design and event planning. His current position as director of education and industry relations for BloomNet and Floriology and senior editor for Floriology Magazine keep him on top of market trends, current design trends, industry education and retail marketing. Lacey has won numerous awards in floral design competitions in both multi-state, national and local floral associations.
Lacey has been published in Floriology Magazine, SAF, Flowers &, Modern Bride, Inside Weddings and many others. National television exposure includes designing and participation for WE TV programs’ “Platinum Weddings” and “I Do Over” as a Celebrations.com floral expert. He has worked for noted celebrities and done floral design on several major motion pictures.
His position as AIFD National President Elect 2018/19 and his extensive travels across the country, Hong Kong, China and Europe afford many opportunities for him to interact with designers of all levels and share this extensive background and experience to florists everywhere.
Laurie Lemek, AIFD, PFCI, CFD
Laurie Lemek, CFD, AIFD, PFCI, has been actively involved in the floral industry since 1975. From 1976 to 1992 she was the co-owner of Lemek’s Florist & Nursery in Tolland, Connecticut. She is the owner of Floral Balance, a consulting floral firm in Ellington, Connecticut.
Lemek received a Master’s in ornamental horticulture from the University of Connecticut, where she was a faculty member in the Floriculture Department as an associate professor of floral design, advanced floral design, plant identification, and retail shop management.
She was inducted into the AIFD in 1991 and into PFCI in 2012. Lemek has served as a board of trustee of the AIFD Foundation since 2006. She served as AIFD Northeast Chapter secretary and will be the next vice president of the chapter for 2019.
As an award-winning designer, she has presented programs at AIFD National Symposiums and her design compositions and sculptures have been displayed at the Governor’s Mansion, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, and numerous flower shows across the United States including Hartford, Boston, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Lemek has instructed on floral trends and techniques at flower shows and design seminars around the world, including Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Germany, Holland, Spain China, India, South Africa, Australia, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines. She has had the honor to design at the White House for Presidents Regan, Bush and Clinton.
Renato Cruz Sogueco, PFCI
Renato Cruz Sogueco’s sought-after expertise has him put him center stage as a frequent speaker and columnist. For 13 years, he was the chief information officer at the Society of American Florists. Today, as the lead business educator at the Floriology Institute in Jacksonville, Florida, he helps floral businesses adopt innovative technologies to thrive in the digital marketplace, leveraging social media, search engine optimization, online advertising, shop automation and mobile. He is also vice president of digital strategy at BloomNet, where he develops digital product and services for network florists and oversees the online brands and initiatives for BloomNet, NAPCO, World Flowers and the Floriology Institute.
Under his guidance, floral businesses have the opportunity to stay current on the latest technology, e-marketing and consumer trends that can impact their businesses.
The 2018 AAF inductees will celebrate with the 2017 AAF inductees. Due to Hurricane Irma forcing the cancelation of SAF’s last convention which was scheduled for last September in Florida, the 2017 AAF recipients will be honored alongside the 2018 inductees.
The 2017 AAF inductees are:
- Maggie Binet, AAF, AIFD, CPF, PFCI, of Le Jardin Binet in Englewood, Colorado
- Zoë Prosser Gallina, AAF, of Botanica International Design Studio in Tampa, Florida
- Jodi McShan, AAF of McShan Florist Inc., in Dallas, Texas
- Lynne Tischler, AAF, CPFD, PFCI of Your Enchanted Florist in St. Paul, Minnesota
Read about their accomplishments here.
For AAF information, visit safnow.org/aaf.