Appreciation, Recognition, and Funding The Future of Floriculture

Alexandria, VA – The American Floral Endowment (AFE) hosted its annual event during the SAF Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday, September 6, 2022.
The afternoon was full of excitement as industry members and supporters joined together after a long three-year gap in AFE’s annual in-person events due to the pandemic. AFE Chairman Laura Shinall, Managing Partner of FreshPath Marketing, kicked off the event by welcoming everyone back and setting the tone for a celebration of AFE’s supporters and accomplishments.
“We’re excited and thankful to see everyone again and celebrate the many successes of the past few years,” noted Shinall, “It’s important to share the impact being made throughout the industry thanks to the many generous industry donors. Through contributions to AFE, industry members support innovative research, educational opportunities, and programs empowering young professionals joining the industry.”

Updates were shared on all of AFE’s core programs – research, educational grants, scholarships, and internships. This included a special announcement of the newly launched Sustainability Project.
AFE’s new Strategic Plan was also presented, along with recognitions of over 60 organizations and individuals reaching new lifetime giving levels and acknowledgment of the sponsors that have supported AFE’s virtual fundraising campaigns over the past two years.
“I started my term during COVID, but I couldn’t be prouder of the work that AFE Trustees and Staff have done to develop a solid strategic plan for the future and successfully continue funding for all of the Endowment’s programs despite the pandemic’s challenges,” stated Shinall.
AFE also announced new Officers and Trustees to the Board, followed by the passing of the gavel from Chairman Laura Shinall to Ken Young, owner of Phoenix Flower Shops.
New AFE Trustees include Jackie Lacey of Floriology/BloomNet; Tim Noble of Hortica, a brand of the Sentry Insurance Group; Jeronimo Herrera of Jardines De Los Andes; and Janet Kister of Sunlet Nursery. 

Four outgoing Trustees were honored as they completed their term on the Board: Dwight Larimer of DESIGN MASTER color tool – a Division of Smithers-Oasis; Mike Mellano of Mellano & Company, Juan Carlos Uribe of G.R. Chia, and Randy Tagawa of Tagawa Greenhouses who completed his term in 2020.

The session ended with a reception full of energy and a fun networking game with a chance to win a free registration for SAF’s 2023 Convention in Arizona. The game encouraged attendees to meet each other and connect with AFE’s supporters – welcoming newcomers to begin conversations with longtime industry members. Announced on Thursday afternoon, Robbyn Repp of Petal to the Metal Flowers in North Bend, Oregon, won that free registration to attend the SAF convention next year.
A special thank you to the Event Sponsors:

  • Kennicott Brothers
  • Pete Garcia Company/Garcia Group
  • Mayesh Wholesale Florist
  • Royer’s Flowers & Gifts
  • Syndicate Sales
  • Teleflora

 And to AFE’s Annual Event Flower Sponsor, Equiflor/Rio Roses, who has been providing beautiful roses to this event for the past 23 years.
For more information about AFE, visit

About the American Floral Endowment (AFE) The American Floral Endowment is the industry’s trusted source and catalyst for floriculture advancement through funding of innovative research, scholarships, internships, and educational grants that best serve the dynamic needs and demographics of all industry sectors. Since 1961, more than $18 million has been funded in research and educational projects, and more than $3 million has been funded in scholarships and internships designed to attract and retain the future leaders of the industry. To learn more about AFE or how you can support floriculture programs, visit If you would like more information about this please contact AFE.