It’s election season at the Society of American Florists. Voting members will receive an election ballot via email on Thursday, July 12 to choose the next growers, retailers and wholesalers who will serve on SAF’s Councils. Voting members also will elect three new members to its Board of Directors during SAF Palm Springs 2018, the association’s 134th Annual Convention Sept. 12-15, and via absentee ballot.
“Everything at SAF begins with the volunteer leader,” said SAF CEO Kate Penn, who urges all SAF members to vote. “Every new product, service, effort begins with the leaders who serve on our councils and board of directors. By working with the industry’s most progressive, forward-thinking, visionary business owners and managers, our team will have access to the kind of perspectives needed to help SAF grow the industry.”
The candidates for the Board of Directors are:
Grower Nominee for the SAF Board of Directors
The grower candidate for the Board of Directors is running uncontested:
Sakata Seed America – Ornamentals
Morgan Hill, California
Jamie Kitz has represented Sakata Seed America – Ornamentals in Morgan Hill, California, for 12 years as a Key Account Sales Manager in all Ornamental categories offered: bedding plant crops, floral crops, and cut flowers. With a Horticulture and Ag-business education from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, Kitz has enjoyed working for some of the top ornamental seed and vegetative breeding companies in the floriculture industry. She serves on the SAF Growers Council, thrives participating in SAF’s Congressional Action Days, and serves on multiple committees with Seed Your Future.
Retailer Nominees for the SAF Board of Directors
Retailers vote for one candidate.
Michael Pugh, AAF
Michael Pugh is CFO and owner of Pugh’s Flowers, a family business in Memphis, Tennessee. He has an MBA from Union University. With 33 years of industry experience, Pugh’s expertise includes financial management, strategic planning, marketing and business development. He has served on the executive committee of the Next Level Floral Group, on the board of Fortress Financial, and as secretary of Memphis Metro Plants. He is currently on SAF’s Retail Council and Government Joint Council.
Kaitlin Radebaugh, AAF
Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses
Kaitlin Radebaugh is co-owner of Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses, a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Award winner and Baltimore Sun Top 75 Workplace, located in Towson, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and is the fourth-generation to run the 94-year-old family-owned business. Her expertise includes marketing, floral design, financial management, merchandising, and care and handling. Radebaugh has been named one of 35 Most Influential Under 35 by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She has served on the board for the Towson Chamber of Commerce, on the BBB of Greater Baltimore and on Floral Management’s advisory committee. She currently sits on SAF’s Retail Council, Member Joint Council and Convention Task Force.
Wholesaler Nominee for the SAF Board of Directors
The wholesaler candidate for the Board of Directors is running uncontested:
Oscar Fernandez is director of sales for Equiflor Corporation in Doral, Florida. The 32-year-old business grows roses, spray roses, delphinium and ranunculus. Fernandez has a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University. With 24 years of industry experience, he expertise includes sales, marketing and education. He has served on SAF’s Wholesale Council and Consumer Joint Council.The Board of Directors election results will be announced on Sept. 15 during the convention’s Keynote Breakfast and Business Session. Once elected, the new members of SAF’s Board of Directors will serve three-year terms beginning after SAF Palm Springs 2018.
To cast an absentee ballot for the Board of Directors, the voting member must submit a written request on company stationery to SAF by Aug. 13 via mail [SAF 1001 North Fairfax Street Suite 201, Alexandria, VA 22314] or fax 703-836-8705. Completed absentee ballots must be received at SAF headquarters by Aug. 31.
SAF Council Elections
For the Council elections, voting members can vote electronically through a secure, online election portal for their Council representative. SAF members whose email address is not in the SAF database will be sent a ballot via mail.
Twelve candidates are running for nine open Council seats. Candidates for the Growers and the Wholesalers Councils are running uncontested.
The candidates for SAF Council elections are:
Growers Council Nominees
Growers vote for three candidates:
Matt Altman is chief operating officer and president of Altman Plants in Vista, California. The family business, founded in 1973, grows ornamental plants for retail garden centers, including annuals, perennials, roses, flowering shrubs, tropicals, ferns, grasses, cacti and succulents. Altman has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University. His expertise is in supply chain and labor management. Altman has worked in the industry for 19 years and was awarded Young Grower of the Year by GrowerTalks magazine and 40 Under 40 in Horticulture from GPN. He was also a fellow in the California Ag Leadership Program
Heart of Florida Greenhouses
Zalfo Springs, Florida
Austin Bryant leads national sales for Heart of Florida Greenhouses in Zolfo Springs, Florida. The business grows interior foliage, annuals and perennials and has been run by the Bryant family for 40 years. Bryant received his bachelor’s degree in environmental horticulture from the University of Florida and has 20 years of industry experience. His expertise includes interior foliage, floriculture, tissue culture and foliage marketing. Bryant has served on the state board for the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association and was president of the National Foliage Foundation (now the National Horticulture Foundation)
Robin van der Schaaf
Flamingo Holland, Inc.
Robin van der Schaaf is general manager for Flamingo Holland Inc., Vista, California., where they wholesale lily bulbs, calla, tulips, iris and freesia and handle flower sleeves. He has 30 years of industry experience, specializing in marketing, global floral production, grower efficiency and technical issues. Van der Schaaf has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from RMTUS in Holland.
Retailers Council Nominees
Retailers vote for one candidate in their region.
Central Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin
Tillie’s Flower Shop
Jennifer Barnard is co-owner of Tillie’s Flower Shop in Wichita, Kansas. A fourth generation, family-owned business, Tillie’s was established in 1876 by her great grandparents. Barnard has a degree in business administration and marketing. With 21 years in the industry, her expertise includes online marketing, social media, product development, and customer service. She is a member of the Midwest Floral Group.
Lone Star Bloom
Kyle Brown is the owner of Lone Star Bloom. He earned his degree in accounting from Texas Lutheran University and left a career as a public accountant to start Lone Star Bloom, a growing retail floral company that, after a series of acquisitions, now has 15 brick and mortar locations in the U.S. His expertise is in financial management.
West Region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Rakini Chinery, AAF, AzMF
Rakini Chinery is owner of Alan’s Flowers & More of Prescott, Arizona, which was named Most Improved Teleflora Unit in 2016. An Arizona Master Florist, she has 31 years of industry experience. Chinery’s specialties include marketing, merchandising and team building. She has served as secretary of the Arizona State Floral Association and as both president and vice president of the Arizona Teleflora Unit.
Gregory Coleman, AAF
Mayfield Florist & Greenhouses
Gregory Coleman is the owner of Mayfield Florist in Tucson, Arizona. With 35 years in the industry, his expertise lies in buying hard goods and fresh product. Coleman earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona and attended the American Academy of Floral Design. He has served on the board of directors for the Arizona State Floral Association and as vice president and on the board of the FTD Association.
East Region: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia
Rochester, New York
Keith Rockcastle is owner and president of Rockcastle Florist, a 67-year-old family-owned business in Rochester, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. His expertise includes financial management, inventory management, informational technology, and care and handling. Rockcastle has served as president of the Associated Florists of Greater Rochester, the Rochester Delivery Cooperative and of the Greece Rotary Club. He has been awarded Business Person of the Year by the Greece Chamber of Commerce and named a Paul Harris Fellow and one of the Teleflora Top 50.
City Line Florist, Inc.
Nicole Palazzo is the marketing and sales manager for City Line Florist in Trumbull, Connecticut. The family-owned retail florist has been owned and operated by the same family for 100 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications and public relations from Eastern Connecticut State University and attended the Teleflora Scholarship Academy. Her expertise lies in marketing, social media, product merchandising and sales. She has served on the SAF Convention Task Force team and helped create the Next Gen group for SAF. She currently serves on the board for the Connecticut Florists Association and the Connecticut Unit of Teleflora Members.
Wholesalers Council Nominees
Wholesalers vote for three candidates:
Salt Lake City, Utah
Rodger Callister is general manager of Ensign Wholesale Florist, a 63-year-old business in Salt Lake City, Utah, that wholesales cut flowers, hard goods and plants. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Utah State University. With 42 years of industry experience, his expertise includes finance, marketing, human resources, procurement, business planning and logistics. Callister has served on FTD’s Systems Operations & Development Committee and on the boards of the Credit Bureau of Brigham City, the Brigham City Chamber of Commerce, the Tremonton Chamber of Commerce and the Box Elder County Fair.
Lihmil Wholesale Flowers
Kernersville, North Carolina
Alvaro Crespo is director of Lihmil Wholesale Flowers in Kernersville, North Carolina. The 19-year-old wholesale florist business sells both fresh cut flowers and hard goods. Crespo received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad del Azuay in Ecuador. With 24 years of industry experience, his expertise includes marketing, financial management and sales. He has served as a board member, on the marketing committee and on the education committee for the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association.
Alejandro Pérez is CEO of Komet Sales in Miami, Florida. The 14-year-old company provides web-based solutions for flower companies so that growers, importers and wholesalers can connect to each other and manage their operations. Pérez earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a minor in business from Florida International University. With 17 years of industry experience, his expertise includes developing and maintaining software and floral supply chain processes. He has served on the education committee for the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association and is an incoming board member for the association.
Elected Council members will serve a three-year term, which begins in 2019. SAF members receiving an emailed ballot for their respective region will have until midnight on August 3 to cast their votes. All mailed ballots must be received at SAF headquarters by August 3. No ballots received after midnight August 3 will be counted.