SAF events, ready-to-use marketing tools and membership dues – these are among the many SAF programs that the SAF volunteer leadership influences – and it’s time to elect the next crop of SAF leaders to help drive those decisions and more. In August and September, voting members elect nine new members to the SAF Councils and three new members to the SAF Board of Directors.
The elections are a critical to SAF’s role as the national trade association representing all segments of the floral industry, said SAF President Chris Drummond, AAF, PFCI, of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers in Philadelphia.
“SAF is fueled by our volunteer leaders,” said Drummond. “Everything we do — from creating new content for our members to advocating in Washington on the industry’s behalf — starts with feedback from our volunteer leadership. All of our innovations are shaped by their unique perspectives, insights and willingness to share and collaborate for the benefit of every floral industry professional working in the U.S. today.”
Each SAF member company has a designated voting member. Drummond encourages the designated member at all SAF member companies to “exercise your voting rights” and cast a ballot in the upcoming elections . Here’s a rundown on who’s running and how you can vote.
SAF BOARD OF DIRECTOR ELECTIONS
The Board of Directors election will take place virtually on September 30, 2020, at 2 pm ET, during the SAF annual meeting, which is being conducted virtually because of the cancellation of SAF Phoenix 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic (a link to the meeting will be sent to all SAF members in early September). Once elected, the new members of SAF’s Board of Directors will serve three-year terms beginning November 2020.
Voting members can vote during the meeting, or cast their ballot prior to the meeting via absentee ballot – request your absentee ballot on company letterhead (or with your company logo in your e-signature) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org on or before August 31, 2020.
SAF Board Retailer Nominees
Stacie Lee Banks, AAF, is co-owner and president of Lee’s Flower & Card Shop Inc. in Washington, D.C. She’s spent most of her life in the floral industry, beginning when she was just 12 years old. In 2018, she was awarded Small Business Person of the Year by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Her business was awarded Best of D.C. for six consecutive years by the Washington City Paper. Banks has served on the SAF Consumer Marketing Committee. She served as president of the Teleflora MD, VA, D.C. unit in 2000, treasurer in 1998 and secretary in 1997. She received a bachelor of business administration from Howard University. Banks has also served as a board member on many local service groups in the D.C. area.
Cheryl Denham, AAF, AZmF, is president and CEO of Arizona Family Florist in Phoenix. In the industry for 15 years, she has served on the SAF Retailers Council, Consumer Joint Council, Member Joint Council and the SAF Convention Task Force Committee. Denham has experience in marketing, financial management and human resources, and is currently a board member on the 1-800 Flowers Franchise Advisory Board, and a member of the National Association of Catering & Events, the Wedding & Event Network and the International Society of Event Specialists. She was awarded the FTD Top 100 Award every year from 2011-2019, was the SAF Marketer of the Year in 2012, and in 2014, was the recipient of the National Association for Catering & Events Spirit of NACE Award.
SAF Board Grower Nominee
Austin Bryant, who is running uncontested, is the national salesperson for Heart of Florida Greenhouses Inc., and has been in the floral industry for 22 years. Bryant has expertise in interior foliage, floriculture, tissue culture and foliage marketing. He is currently on the state board of Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association and the National Foliage Foundation, where he has also held the position of past president, and is also on the National Horticulture Foundation. Bryant attended the University of Florida, where he received his undergraduate degree in environmental horticulture.
SAF Board Wholesaler Nominee
A 36-year veteran of the industry, David Armellini is president and CEO of Armellini Logistics, which has been in business for 75 years. He has expertise in transportation/logistics and care and handling, and has held positions with SAF in Government Relations and the Wholesalers Council. Armellini is a past board member and president of the Wholesale Florist &Florist Supplier Association. He was awarded the SAF Paul Ecke, Jr. Award in 2014. He received his undergraduate degree from Lynchburg College. Armellini is running uncontested.
SAF COUNCIL ELECTIONS
Voting members received an election ballot via email on Friday, July 31 to choose the next growers, retailers and wholesalers who will represent them on SAF’s Councils (check your email for one from Katie Butler, email@example.com). Members who don’t have an email address on file will receive a ballot in the mail this week. If you don’t receive yours, email firstname.lastname@example.org. All ballots must be cast, or received at SAF headquarters, by midnight on August 31.
Twelve candidates are running for nine open Council seats. Candidates for the Growers and the Wholesalers Councils are running uncontested. Elected Council members will serve a three-year term, which begins in 2021.
Retailers Council Nominees – East:
Jordan Prosser, Botanica International Design & Décor Studio, Tampa, Florida
Jordan Prosser is a flower buyer and product manager at Botanica International Design & Décor Studio, in Tampa, Florida, which has been in business 31 years. With almost 12 years of experience in the industry, his areas of expertise include floral and product procurement and care and handling. Prosser served as the secretary for the National Association of Catering and Events, and he was the group’s Young Professional of the year in 2014.
Danny Sanchez, South Florals Group, Miami
Danny Sanchez is CEO of South Florals Group in Miami, Florida. South Florals is a family of brands expanding throughout Florida and the Southeast. With 14 years of experience in the industry, Sanchez has expertise in retail marketing and floral technology software. Sanchez is also a wholesaler via the Miami Flower Market.
Retailers Council Nominees – Central
Cameron Pappas, Norton’s Florist, Birmingham, Alabama
Cameron Pappas is vice president and owner of Norton’s Florist in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently serves on SAF’s Next Gen Task Force and was a 2018 SAF convention speaker. A graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting, he has expertise in financial management, marketing and technology. He is a member of the FTD Florist Advisory Board and in 2018 was named one of the “Top 40 Influencers Under 40” by Birmingham Magazine. Norton’s has been in business for 99 years — 81 years with the Norton family, and 18 with the Pappas family.
Heather Waits, Bloomtastic, Columbus, Ohio
Heather Waits is owner of Bloomtastic in Columbus, Ohio. She has served on SAF’s Convention Task Force for four years. She has also served on Floral Management’s advisory board and is a contributing writer for Floral Management, sharing her expertise on weddings. She’s been awarded “Best of the Knot” from 2009 to the present and has won the Wedding MBA VIP speaker award. Waits is also a three-time SAF Convention presenter. Bloomtastic has been in business for 16 years.
Retailers Council Nominees – West
Andy Fiannaca, Sparks Florist, Sparks, Nevada
Andy Fiannaca is vice president of Sparks Florist and Reno Wholesale Flowers in Sparks, Nevada, a family-owned business since 1960. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Fiannaca’s expertise includes strategic planning, customer service and care and handling. He is a member of the Midwest Group, West Coast Group and Real Local Florists trade associations. Reno News & Review named Sparks best local florist.
Brennen Rigler, Albuquerque Florist, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico
Brennen Rigler is president of Albuquerque Florist Inc. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With expertise in marketing and customer service, he is passionate about improving operations and innovating in his business. Albuquerque Florist has been named in the top five city florists by Albuquerque The Magazine every year since 2005, and he was named the top florist four times. His business also received the Wedding Wire Couples Choice Award three times. Albuquerque Florist has been in business more than 20 years.
Wholesalers Council Nominees (three open slots)
Ryan Alders, Alders Wholesale Florist Inc., Campbell Hall, New York
Ryan Alders is a buyer for Alders Wholesale Florist in Campbell Hall, New York. Alders Wholesale, a family-owned business for 61 years, provides fresh cut flowers, plants, hard goods and Christmas greenery. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Alders has expertise in floral purchasing, sales and management.
John Richards, DVFlora, Sewell, New Jersey
John Richards is vice president of DVFlora, a full-service wholesaler and import distributor of fresh cut flowers and greens, a line of hardgoods and gourmet, as well as a line of botanicals, flowering plants and foliage. A graduate of Temple University, Richards has 29 years of experience in the industry with an expertise in sales management and marketing. He has served as board member of the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association.
Melanie Spilbeler, Syndicate Sales Inc., Kokomo, Indiana
Melanie Spilbeler is director of marketing at Syndicate Sales in Kokomo, Indiana. A graduate of DePauw University, she has expertise in digital marketing, marketing strategy, product development and sourcing. Spilbeler has served on the marketing committee for the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association for the past two years. She was also featured in the “Employee Spotlight” column in the January 2020 issue of Floral Management.
Growers Council Nominees (three open slots)
Juan David Lecuona, Deliflor Latin America, Miami
Juan David Lecuona is the commercial director of Deliflor Latin America. With 15 years of experience in the industry, Lecuona has expertise in marketing, merchandising, sales and public relations. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and has served as an SAF volunteer leader in many roles, including as the SAFPAC Golf Tournament chair. Deliflor is a chrysanthemum breeder and has received multiple SAF Outstanding Varieties Competition awards, including “Best in Show.”
Farai Madziva, Kitayama Brothers Inc., Watsonville, California
Farai Madziva is vice president of Kitayama Brothers in Watsonville, California. Kitayama grows lilies, gerbera daisies, gardenias, snapdragons foxglove, calla lilies, and lisianthus. A graduate of the Royal Agricultural University, Madziva has expertise in sales and marketing, business management, production growing and post-harvest. He has served as a member of Certified American Grown’s marketing committee, as a commissioner of the California Cut Flower Commission and as a board member of the EU/USA’s Lily Promotion.
F.J. Trzuskowski, Continental Floral Greens, Belfair, Washington
F.J. Trzuskowski is vice president of sales for Continental Floral Greens in Belfair, Washington. He is a graduate of Duke University and has a master’s degree in landscape architecture from North Carolina State University. With 28 years of industry experience, F.J. has expertise in sales, operations, marketing and merchandising. He has served on the Floral Council of the Produce Marketing Association, a District 2 alternate representative on the California Cut Flower Commission, and as the Northwest District representative of Certified American Grown.
“SAF’s volunteer leaders are critical to our work as an association – especially this year with COVID-19 –and bring enormous amounts of insight for us as we are laser-focused on meeting the needs of our members,” said Kate Penn, SAF’s CEO. “We have a strong group of candidates this year that will join our already wonderful volunteer leaders currently serving our membership.”
Questions about voting? Email SAF’s membership manager, Amanda Roberts.