SAF LogoAFE Trustees have selected the Society of American Florists (SAF) as the Endowment’s new management team.

“This is a win-win for AFE and the horticulture industry,” said AFE Chairman Mike Mellano Sr. of Mellano and Company in San Luis Rey, Calif. “AFE will be able to take advantage of SAF’s resources while remaining a wholly separate entity.”

“We’re very pleased with the decision,” said Bob McClellan, retiring president of Hortica Insurance in Edwardsville, Ill. AFE offices have been located at Hortica since 2004 during which Hortica contributed significant administrative services. “It’s been an honor to provide AFE with our assistance during a period of AFE’s restructuring and growth, and the time is right for AFE and SAF to join resources in taking AFE to the next level,” McClellan says.

“We want to thank Bob McClellan and all of the great people at Hortica for their help and generosity in providing a home for the Endowment for the past four years,” Mellano said. “It is support like theirs, and like that of so many others in our industry, that makes the future bright for funding research and scholarships in horticulture and floriculture.”

The decision to move to SAF was made at the end of an extensive, four-month-long process during which the AFE board requested and diligently evaluated several different management proposals. “The SAF team is extremely excited about this opportunity,” said SAF CEO Peter J. Moran. “We’re looking forward to getting started. I am also excited to announce that Debi Aker, a former nine-year employee of SAF, has agreed to return to manage AFE’s day-to-day operations.”