PFCI began on November 15, 1965, when R. Weber McFarland wrote a letter to then Executive Vice President of the Society of American Florists John H. Walker suggesting that a group of professional floral commentators meet annually at the SAF Convention. His idea was to form “a recognized standard by which a Commentator might be considered… not to limit a person actively participating to this capacity, but moreover to let there be some distinction between an experienced and an inexperienced person, and create some form of ‘encouragement’ for the lesser-known ‘would-be’ to strive for membership in such a group.”
In response to Mr. McFarland’s letter, John Walker issued a press release inviting all floral commentators to attend an organizational meeting during the 82nd Annual SAF Convention. SAF President P.S. Cook envisioned this group as a “means through which much updated information would be disseminated to commentators and through which a valuable exchange of knowledge would take place. In this important area of industry communications, the Society would render valuable clearinghouse assistance for the betterment of the entire industry.”
The first Professional Floral Commentators meeting was held Sunday, July 24, 1966 in French Lick, Indiana. During this meeting Weber McFarland was nominated chairman and the group chose to be called “Professional Floral Commentators – International” to accommodate members from outside the United States. As a general consensus, the group agreed that being a good commentator is to give help and recognition to other commentators and to people who want to be commentators through sharing ideas, which would ultimately contribute to the success of the floral industry.
In March 2001 the PFCI Board of Trustees voted unanimously to officially change the organization’s name to “Professional Floral Communicators- International” to more accurately reflect the state of the field of floral commentary. Changes in floral presentations mirror the transition that has taken place in the floral industry over the past ten years. The once important “panel” show has diminished to a point of near extinction. Replacing it are symposium shows and educational events. “The past several years has seen a marked decline in floral industry events requiring commentators and an increase in floral events needing educators,” stated PFCI Chairman Mark Erickson, AAF, AIFD, PFCI. “The use of the term — communicators — encompasses both commentating and educating. Plus, it opens the doors for wider horizons.”