Memorial Tribute Established Honoring Bill Gouldin

Industry Leader & Advocate Industry friends Buzzy Heroman, Steve Neubauer, Greg Royer, and Ken Young have established a memorial tribute through the American Floral Endowment (AFE) honoring William “Bill” J. Gouldin, Jr., who passed away on June 19, 2024, at the age of 75. Bill Gouldin was well known for his work as President of Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, and Garden Center. Strange’s is focused in the Richmond, Virginia, area and consists of two florist locations, two garden centers, and a wholesale greenhouse range. His lifelong dedication to the business provided for the ongoing growth of Strange’s. Bill worked alongside his family as the third generation of the business, learning all that he could from his father, William J. Gouldin, Sr., and…

AFE’s 2024 Fundraising Campaign: R.I.S.E. to Support!

R.I.S.E. up to support the floral industry! In an effort to continue to increase support for important research, education, and other floriculture programs to advance our industry, the American Floral Endowment (AFE) has launched its annual fundraising campaign running from May 15th through June 28th with a goal of $100,000 in industry support.  The Endowment's annual summer campaign theme touts the overall tagline of R.I.S.E., representing AFE’s core programs: Research, Internships, Scholarships, and Education for the floral industry. These resources are vital to the ongoing growth of floral; the Endowment is welcoming the industry to R.I.S.E. up with us to help fund ongoing success and support for all segments, ages, and levels. You can check out the campaign launch video featuring industry supporters and AFE's Chairman, Ken Young of Phoenix Flower Shops, by clicking here. Make a…

Memorial Tribute Established Honoring Kenneth Royer

Currently, with 15 locations in Pennsylvania and three in Ohio, Ken’s legacy and family business is kept alive through the leadership of two of his sons and three of his grandsons.    Ken was one of the first florists in the country to implement computerized systems for multi-shop operations and was among the first florists to import flowers directly from South America. His business strategies were so successful that in 1998, he published the book, ‘Retailing Flowers Profitably,’ and held dozens of seminars on topics from marketing to management and post-harvest care. He also wrote a Florists’ Review magazine column, “Royer on Retail,” for 14 years.    Ken spoke at over 50 wire service and other florist meetings, providing educational sessions on…

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…

Memorial Tribute Established in Memory of Andy Mast

Andy worked in partnership with his father, Neal, until branching out on his own in 1975 to become the owner of Andy Mast Greenhouses. He grew the business from the original site in Walker to include two additional sites over the years in Muskegon and Holland. His contributions to the greenhouse industry run deep.In efforts to improve the quality of crops, Andy pioneered with Michigan State University using practical growing techniques to control the height of crops. So successful in implementation, the DIF technique is currently utilized around the world!Never shy to try out new techniques and experiments, he partnered with MSU to continue research and advancement in floriculture for other groundbreaking successes. Andy was also active in the Floriculture…

Memorial Tribute Established in Memory of Sue Conyers

After gaining a few years of experience in the industry, Sue opened her own importing company in Miami, World Flowers, Inc., in 1979. Her first office was in the original Armellini building next to the airport. They moved into their new World Flowers building in 1986. World Flowers became a family business and inspired generations of industry work. Sue’s husband, Doug, worked for her as the warehouse manager. Sue’s son, Robert, also worked for the company for many years. Their daughter, Christine, worked for some years before joining the Association of Floral Importers of Florida (AFIF) as the Executive Vice President. Sue quickly became a leader in the Miami flower importing community. She viewed the health of the whole industry…

Memorial Tribute Established in Memory of Gene Willis

Gene was actively engaged in the floral industry, serving as the president of International Floral Distributors in 2013 and on the board of directors from 2012 to 2014. He promoted floral hard goods as an integral part of the floral industry for 46 years. He believed hard goods were every bit as important to the success of cut flowers.Gene was born in the rugged northeastern Arizona town of McNary, AZ., to Merrill Roundy and Dora Tilton Willis.  He descended from a long line of northern Arizona pioneers, and the spirit of the Old West—honesty, hard work, resilience, and helping others – lived in his veins his whole life.In 1967 Gene received a master’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, passed the…

Memorial Tribute Established in Memory of Marc van Iersel

Marc was the Vincent J. Dooley Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, where he spent most of his career from 1995 on. Marc oversaw the UGA Horticulture Physiology Laboratory focused on photosynthesis and light use efficiency research. He also worked on applied research in controlled agriculture environments. As a professor of horticulture, Marc developed biofeedback systems that measure soil moisture and use optical sensors to automatically control the amount of water and light provided to plants in greenhouses and vertical farms. The results had lasting impacts leading to happier, healthier plants with a smaller carbon footprint and cost. Marc was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the 2019 UGA Entrepreneur of the Year and fellow of…

Memorial Tribute Established in Memory of Nicholas I. Paul

Being young (and perhaps idealistic), the Paul brothers decided if they were to spend their lives in the business they had inherited, they wanted to establish a more congenial working relationship among their competitors. Among many other challenges at the time, this was their mission.In 1986, Nick was instrumental in developing a trusting relationship with the company’s wholesaler partners resulting in a joint move of McCallum Sauber Florist Inc., A. Gude Sons, the Washington Florists’ Exchange, and Paul’s Wholesale Florist. Through keeping this collective together for the move, Nick was a part of preserving a 70-year tradition of doing business side-by-side. The original location of the wholesale partners on I Street in Washington D.C. had become difficult for in-person shopping…

Memorial Tribute Established in Memory of Del Demaree

Under Del’s guidance, Syndicate was the first company to use barcode shipping to add a new level of transparency, accountability, and efficiency to the supply chain. Del also pushed Syndicate to become among the first in the industry to implement online ordering. In 1994, Syndicate began manufacturing floral preservative, Aquaplus, and floral foam, Aquafoam. Raised on farms in Michigan and then outside of Kokomo, Indiana, Del’s first taste of being an entrepreneur was when he sold chickens from the family farm door to door. During that time in the mid-’40s, Del’s father spent four days a week farming and three days on the road selling giftware to florists. It was around this time that the family business was born. During…