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Farewell Letter from Retiring Research Director, Dr. Terril Nell

Industry colleagues and friends,  As many of you may know, I will be retiring from AFE at the end of 2023. At the threshold of a new chapter in my life, my heart fills with gratitude for the incredible journey I’ve had in the floral industry. Looking back, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the profound impact AFE has had on my life and career. Unwavering grant support, the platform to explore innovative and impactful research, and lifelong collaboration with those in our vibrant community have helped shape me into the person I am today. It has been a privilege to serve and contribute to an industry that breathes this kind of life, beauty, and camaraderie into the world.…

Passing of the Torch: AFE Research Director Dr. Terril Nell Retires

Dr. Nell has spent his entire career working for the benefit of the floral industry. He retired as Professor Emeritus of Floriculture after a 35-year tenure at the University of Florida, where he served as Chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department from 1991–2012. His research has led to the development of best practices and advances within the floral industry leading to improved flower and plant longevity. He has consulted for growers, wholesalers, and retailers nationally and internationally for over 40 years. A highly respected care and handling expert, Dr. Nell co-authored the Flower and Plant Care Manual produced by the Society of American Florists and Flowering Potted Plants: Prolonging Freshness by Ball Publishing. For the past nine years, Dr. Nell has served as the…

A Year in Review: A Look Back at 2023

As the year comes to a close, we invite you to celebrate all that the Endowment has been able to accomplish and provide through your ongoing support. What a year it’s been! We couldn’t have done it without you. Together, we have granted over $675,000 in funding this year to support research, internships, scholarships, and education for the entire floral community. Consider making a contribution to support us continuing this great work next year! Here are some key highlights from 2023: Research and advancements are key to the industry’s ongoing growth and success. This year, we have funded 12 ground-breaking research projects, including five new projects and seven continuing projects. The projects are working to move the industry forward and help solve some of…

Coming Full Circle Leads to Life of Giving

This special article features AFE’s Legacy Circle Member, Sten Crissey, a long-time industry member who has been retired from the industry for 15 years. Sten resides in Seattle, Washington with his wife, Maryann. Since he was big enough to push a broom, Sten Crissey spent his days growing up in the floral business. His dad, James, had opened the Seattle-based Crissey Flowers and Gifts downtown in 1942, well before Sten came along. But once he did, the family business was in his blood. His mom, Aimee, handled the office duties, and his dad ran the shop. Sten jumped in where needed, and his responsibilities would grow as he did. He folded boxes, then handled deliveries, and by the time he…

Memorial Tribute Established Honoring Katie Kennicott

Pioneer and Goodwill Ambassador A Memorial Tribute has been established through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) honoring Kathleen “Katie” Kennicott, who passed away on October 13, 2023, at the age of 86.Many in the floral industry knew Katie Kennicott best as the sunny, astute and engaging wife (64 years) of Harrison “Red” Kennicott, of the Chicago-based wholesale distributor Kennicott Brothers Company; however, Katie also played a direct role in the company’s success. Over more than 60 years of active involvement in the floral industry, she showed a special talent for making strong connections with customers, suppliers, and others—connections that have helped to change the face of the industry.Katie met Red when both were students at Michigan State University; they married the…

Donor Spotlight: David Garcia

David Garcia, President of Pete Garcia Company/Garcia Group, is a highly experienced leader in the floral industry. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1983, he joined his family business, founded by his father, Pete Garcia, in 1965, which has since evolved into a well-respected supplier of floral hard goods to North America. David has adeptly managed various areas throughout his tenure, showcasing his versatility and deep industry knowledge.David’s connection to AFE is deeply rooted in his family’s legacy, with his father and uncle having served as AFE trustees. Since 1976, The Pete Garcia Company/Garcia Group has consistently contributed to the floral industry through annual support to AFE, marking nearly five decades of dedicated partnership in providing essential resources…

Partnering to Cultivate Sustainability Across the Global Floral Industry

The American Floral Endowment Becomes Newest Member of the Floriculture Sustainability InitiativeThe American Floral Endowment (AFE) has become the newest Associate Member of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). This partnership unites AFE, a prominent US-based floriculture funding nonprofit, with FSI, an esteemed international nonprofit with a focus on sustainability.Through AFE’s membership with FSI, this new partnership will strengthen the floriculture industry through collaboration, sharing experiences, and broadened perspectives. “Sustainability is hugely impactful and affects floriculture globally. By joining forces, we are expanding the impact and effectiveness of both of our initiatives and programs,” stated AFE’s Executive Director Debi Chedester, CAE.AFE is an autonomous organization with a clear vision supporting a strong, unified floriculture community fostering industry innovation and growth to…

AFE’s Research Director, Dr. Terril Nell, Inducted into the Floriculture Hall of Fame

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is excited to celebrate and recognize Research Director, Terril Nell, Ph.D., AAF for his recent induction into the 2023 Society of American Florists (SAF) Floriculture Hall of Fame. Dr. Nell was awarded this accolade at SAF’s 2023 Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.The Floriculture Hall of Fame is the industry’s highest honor. It is designed to recognize and encourage the highest standards of service and professional responsibility in members of the floral industry. The goals of this award are to: provide appropriate recognition honoring those men and women of sound moral character and high integrity who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the advancement of floriculture as an integral part of the American way of…

AFE Appoints New Trustees & Officers

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) depends on industry leadership, insights, and expertise to support research and programs that best serve all of floriculture. This September, AFE appointed three new Trustees to join the diverse group with representation across segments. AFE Trustees are industry leaders who volunteer their time and talent to help guide Endowment activities and programs benefitting the industry.Each new Trustee will serve a three-year term with the option of a second three-year term. They will also serve on an AFE committee related to education, public relations and development, research, or floral marketing. The Endowment is pleased to announce: Incoming TrusteesKelvin Frye, Syndicate SalesFrye is an industry veteran. He joined Syndicate in 1987 and has held positions in logistics, transportation,…

Celebrating AFE’s Many Friends of Floral

Recognizing the Endowment’s Milestones,New Initiatives, and Dedicated DonorsThe Endowment hosted its annual event & reception during the SAF Annual Convention in Phoenix, AZ on September 7, 2023.The evening was a celebration of the floral industry as a whole – recognizing supporters across all segments as well as announcing two new named funds, a new scholarship, the first-ever AFE Ambassador Awards, and more. AFE Chairman Ken Young of Phoenix Flower Shops kicked off the event by welcoming everyone and setting the tone for celebrating AFE’s current initiatives, accomplishments, strategic goals, and most importantly, our community of dedicated donors.“This reception marked not only a celebration of our shared accomplishments but also a promising glimpse into the future of the industry,” Young said.…