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AFE Announces New Chairman and Trustee Appointments

AFE announces the appointment of its new Chairman of the Board and incoming Trustees. The announcement was made during AFE’s annual event, Funding the Future of Floriculture, held on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, in Orlando, Florida, at the SAF Convention.

Current AFE Chairman Laura Shinall of FreshPath Marketing spoke about her two years of leadership during COVID-19 and her work with the Trustees during this most challenging time. She highlighted the advances made through AFE’s new Strategic Plan for 2022-2025, industry outreach, and collaboration.
Shinall passed the AFE gavel to incoming Chairman Ken Young of Phoenix Flower Shops, noting, “The great work of the Endowment continues as it has for the past 61 years and will continue for decades more!”
ImageYoung begins his two-year term immediately. He has been in the industry for over 40 years and is the owner of Phoenix Flower Shops in Scottsdale, Arizona. Phoenix Flower Shops operates multiple retail locations and a wholesale division.
Young has been on the AFE Board since 2012 and has served as Treasurer/Secretary, Investment Committee Chairman, Education Chairman, and most recently, Public Relations & Development Committee Chairman.  In that role, he guided AFE’s annual fundraising campaigns. Ken served one year as Chairman-Elect before his Chairmanship appointment.
Young expressed his vision for AFE over the next two years guiding AFE and thanked Shinall for her incredible leadership over the past two years. Shinall remains on the Board as Past Chairman through 2024.
Additionally, four new Trustees were also announced to the Board. Each brings vast industry experience and fresh perspectives to support AFE’s mission and initiatives.  
ImageJeronimo Herrera of Jardines de los Andes
Herrera has 13 years of experience in the floral industry with expertise in breeding, growing, and post-harvest. He is currently Quality & RD Manager at Jardines de los Andes. He also serves as a Flower Council Member for the International Fresh Produce Association and as an Advisory Board Member for Centro de la Innovacion de la Floricultura.


ImageJanet Kister of Sunlet Nursery, Inc.
Kister is the Co-Owner of Sunlet Nursery, Inc, a wholesale grower of florist-quality indoor and outdoor flowering plants. She and her husband started the nursery in 1986. She manages the sales and financial portion of the business. She also serves on AmericanHort’s Advocacy Committee, as Chair of the Nursery Advisory, and as Trustee of the San Diego Botanic Gardens. She was also a past Director of the Society of American Florists.


ImageJackie Lacey of Floriology/BloomNet
Lacey has over 35 years of experience in the retail floral market and floral education field. His portfolio includes an extensive background in the retail floral market and wedding/event design experience. His current position as Director of Education and Industry Relations with Floriology, BloomNet, and Napco and Senior Design Team Specialist and Senior Editor for Floriology Magazine keep him on top of market trends, current design trends, industry education, and retail marketing. He has also served as a presenter for the Floral Marketing Fund (FMF), sharing key consumer data research findings at industry events.


ImageTim Noble of Hortica, a brand of the Sentry Insurance Group
Noble has been with Hortica since 2018 and serves as President. Hortica exclusively serves the horticultural industry and, under Tim’s guidance, has also regularly supported both AFE and the FMF. His extensive insurance background and understanding of the importance of the horticultural industry allows him to ensure the company offers the programs and coverages needed to help protect the businesses that provide so much natural beauty to people.

AFE Trustees serve a three-year term and can be re-appointed for a second term. They are industry leaders who give their time and talent to help guide Endowment activities and programs benefitting the industry. Each Trustee is also appointed to at least one of the following committees: Education, Public Relations and Development, Research, or the Floral Marketing Fund.
Four current Trustees were recognized for their leadership as their terms came to completion. The Endowment is thankful for their time, commitment, and dedication to AFE’s mission to support the floral industry. 
Dwight Larimer, of Design Master, a Division of Smithers-Oasis Company
Larimer has helped guide AFE for over ten years, furthering the Endowment’s educational programs and leading industry collaboration. He served as Treasurer, Chairman from 2016-2018, and on multiple AFE Committees, including Education, Floral Marketing Fund, and Vic & Margaret Ball Internship, where he serves as Chair.
Michael A. Mellano of Mellano Company
Mellano joined the Board in 2016 and served on AFE’s Research Committee. Through the years, he has shared his expertise with a particular focus on production and post-harvest research projects giving insights to researchers and universities on current industry trends, evaluating the impact, and identifying the needs for new innovative research.
Juan Carlos Uribe of G.R. CHIA
Uribe has served as a Trustee since 2014. He has shared an international perspective and growing expertise. He served on the AFE Research Committee and played a key role in the communications and establishment of the AFE special Thrips and Botrytis Research Fund, which raised $1.5 million to assist the industry with these challenges.
Randy Tagawa of Tagawa Greenhouses (completed his term in 2020)
Tagawa served on AFE’s Board since 2013. He has served as AFE Treasurer and on the Executive Committee, and as a member of the Research Committee. Tagawa also served as Chair of the Vic & Margaret Ball Internship Committee and oversaw this vital program which places college students in growing operations before their graduation.  

The AFE Board of Trustees and Staff was grateful to be able to network, celebrate, and recognize our floral community and AFE’s accomplishments together. Congratulations to our new Chairman and Trustees! To see a complete list of AFE’s Trustees, click here.