Experts on the principles and elements of floral design, event management, floral photography, and flower farming are among the seven professionals who will be honored with induction into Professional Floral Communicators – International (PFCI) during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner on Sept. 21 at SAF Amelia Island 2019, the Society of American Florists’ 135th Annual Convention in Amelia Island, Florida.
The 2019 PFCI inductees are: Richard Berry, AIFD, PFCI, TMF, of Fulshear Floral Design in Fulshear, Texas; Bill Hattel, AIFD, PFCI, in Denver, Colorado; Michelle Headrick, AIFD, PFCI, of Image Floral & Event Design in Vancouver, Washington; Ryan O’Neil, PFCI, of Curate Floral Software in St. Louis, Missouri; Debra Prinzing, PFCI, of Slow Flowers LLC in Seattle Julia Marie P. Schmitt, AIFD, ICPF, EMC, PFCI, of Busy Bee Florist and Gifts in Marceline, Missouri; Donald Yim, AIFD, EMC, PFCI, of Richmond, Canada.
“Professional communicators are essential in getting the message out whether that message is floral design instruction or business management. The 2019 PFCI inductees cover all the bases,” said PFCI Chairman Robbin Yelverton, AAF, AIFD, CF, MCF, PFCI, of Blumz by…JRDesigns in metro Detroit. “Seeing the addendum, ‘PFCI’, after a person’s name is a clear indication that the speaker has been recognized by their peers as being credible, skilled and proficient in delivering that message.”
On local, regional and national stages, PFCI members present educational programs to floral professionals on topics ranging from design and care and handling to floral industry trends and profitability. PFCI members are vetted for presentation, publication and leadership experience, and candidates must submit an audition DVD of a live presentation to demonstrate their communication skills. The new inductees bring PFCI’s membership to 151 floral educators in 38 states, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and South Korea.
An overview of each inductee’s accomplishments follows:
Richard Berry, AIFD, PFCI, TMF
Richard “Ace” Berry, AIFD, PFCI, TMF, started with a career in the oil industry, but found his passion in floral design. He and his wife own Fulshear Floral Design in Fulshear, Texas, and he teaches seminars across the U.S.
A Texas Master Florist, Richard was named Houston Designer of the Year in 2017 and Texas Designer of the Year in 2019. Inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers, he also serves as an AIFD certified floral evaluator and judge. He currently sits on the South Central AIFD Board of Directors and the Allied Florist of Houston Board.
William A. Hattel, AIFD, CFD, PFCI
William Hattel, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, brings more than 30 years of experience in the floral industry, from owning his own floral shop to his current role as buyer at Amato Wholesale in Denver, Colorado and operates WH Designs where he specializes in weddings and events.
In 2006, he was awarded Small Business of The Year for Louisville Florist. In 2017, he was inducted into AIFD and in 2018, Florists’ Review awarded him the “Best Wedding” for their Picture Perfect Wedding Contest. He currently serves on many floral board organizations, including as vice president of the Floral Association of the Rockies, board member of The Rocky Mountain Unit of Teleflora and committee member for Partners for AIFD National Symposium.
Michelle Headrick, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, FDI
Michelle Headrick, AIFD, CFD, FDI, PFCI, brings a background in marketing, sales and graphic design to the world of flowers. After many years in the corporate world, she focused on her own wedding and event business, Image Floral & Event Design, which she started in 1994. Her floral design work has been featured in advertising campaigns, local newspapers and magazines, as well as Florists’ Review Magazine.
Michelle loves to share her knowledge about flowers and floral design. She is the lead instructor for all classes in the Basic Floral Design, Advanced Floral Design and Advanced Wedding Specialist certification programs for the Floral Design Institute. She also teaches advanced seminars and special interest workshops. When not teaching or “playing with flowers,” she can be found traveling with her husband, watching the Oregon State Beavers play football, or puttering around on their 5-acre “farmette” in Vancouver, Washington.
Ryan O’Neil, PFCI
Ryan O’Neil is a thought leader in the floral industry and is keen to share all the potholes he hit along the way while building his companies. Ryan and his wife, Rachael, founded Twisted Willow Design in St. Louis, Missouri, as a wedding-focused floral company. From their need as local company owner, Ryan created Curate, an event software platform that helps manage all the moving pieces. Ryan’s keenness to share all the potholes he hit along the way while building his companies has led him to be a thought leader in the floral industry.
Ryan has personally spoken with thousands of florists since starting Curate and is a constant source of candid advice about the industry. He’s the lead contributor to “The Business Of Events” blog, which shares the details of how he and his wife started their shop and grew it into a lifestyle business.
Debra Prinzing, PFCI
Debra Prinzing, PFCI, is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American Grown Flowers. Through her Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.
Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the online directory to U.S. and Canadian farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. Each Wednesday, approximately 2,500 listeners tune in to Debra’s “Slow Flowers Podcast.” She is also the creator of American Flowers Week. Debra is a Florists’ Review Contributing Editor, where she produces the “Slow Flowers Journal” section. In 2016, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market honored Debra with the first Growers Choice Award for her “outstanding contributions to revitalizing the local floral community.”
Debra is the 2018 recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Great American Gardeners’ Frances Jones Poetker Award, which recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public. She is a 2016 inductee to the Garden Writers Association Hall of Fame and the author of 10 books, including “Slow Flowers” and “The 50 Mile Bouquet.”
Julia Marie P. Schmitt, AIFD, CFD, ICPF, EMC, PFCI
Julia Marie Schmitt, AIFD, CFD, ICPF, EMC, PFCI, began her floral career in 2008 when she started designing at her mother’s “retirement hobby flower shop.” It did not take long for flowers to become her passion and her life. Shortly after, Julia became partner, and she and her mother have owned Busy Bee Florist and Gifts in rural Marceline, Missouri, for the past 10 years. With her growing desire for creative design, Julia founded her floral art studio, Pualeialii Floral Expressions in 2016.
As a self-taught florist, Julia began attending seminars and floral classes early in her career. In 2013, she became an Illinois State Certified Professional Florist (ICPF), in 2014 she received her European Master’s Certificate (EMC), and in 2016, she was recognized by AIFD as a Certified Floral Designer. She has served as a mentor, teaching assistant and educator for EMC, and as an instructor for the Illinois State Florist Association Bootcamp Program. Since 2015, she has been a member of EMC team traveling internationally conducting presentations, workshops and demonstrations at EMC Trend Summits, EMC+ Experiences, AIFD Symposium and Fleuramour. She has also served as EMC Education Coordinator, EMC Public Relations Liaison and EMC Project Manager.
Julia is a member of the Illinois State Floral Association (ISFA) Board, an ambassador for Fleuramour and writes for Florists’ Review Magazine.
Donald Yim, AIFD, CFD, PFCI
With a passion for flowers, a sense of exploration and an eye for beauty, Donald Yim, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, has been in floral design for more than 20 years. He is the creative director of West Van Florist in Vancouver, Canada, as well as the education specialist at Floriology Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. Deeply influenced by the eastern and western cultures, his unique approach and award-winning designs have been featured in floral shows and internationally renowned magazines.
To further share his passion, Donald created a YouTube channel, where he shares his floral journey, as well as many design ideas and industry knowledge. He extends his unique sense of beauty to photography, capturing moments that make his heart beat fast. He follows his heart and believes that, “One can never use up their creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Celebrate and mix and mingle with the new PFCI members at SAF Amelia Island 2019, Sept. 18-21. For details and to register, go to safnow.org/annual-convention.
For PFCI information and a listing of members by name, state and expertise, visit safnow.org/pfci.
Do you love talking about flowers, floral design or the business of flowers? Do you present programs to garden clubs or other professionals? Then you’re three-quarters of the way to earning the PFCI designation. The only thing left to do: fill out an application. The 2020 PFCI membership application is due Jan. 31. To apply, download the application from safnow.org/apply-for-pfci-membership.
Jenny White is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists and Jenny Scala is SAF’s director of marketing and communications.