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PFCI Inducts 11 Speakers at SAF Palm Beach 2012

PFCIThe industry's speakers bureau honored 11 floral professionals with induction into SAF's Professional Floral Communicators - International (PFCI) in September. SAF recognized the speakers' achievements during the Industry Awards Dinner, held Sept. 22 during SAF Palm Beach 2012, the association's 128th Annual Convention in Palm Beach, Fla.

PFCI members present educational programs on local, regional and national stages, teaching floral professionals how to be more successful. With 125 PFCI members in 37 states, Canada and Singapore, PFCI generates enthusiasm for flower buying by speaking to consumers at the grassroots level in civic, social and professional groups.

"Obtaining the PFCI credentials is an incredible honor," said PFCI Board Chairman Vince Butera, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Butera the Florist in York, Pa. "The meticulous review process qualifies each PFCI member as an expert floral spokesperson and communicator."

PFCI members are vetted for presentation, publication and leadership experience. To demonstrate their communication skills, candidates submit an audition DVD of a live presentation.

The following earned the PFCI designation this year:

David Boulton, AAF, PFCI

David Boulton, AAF, PFCIA second-generation retail florist with Flowers by George in downtown Arlington, Wash., for 31 years, David Boulton proves that loyalty has legs. Boulton has been a member of the Northwest Florists Association since 1969 and SAF since 1970.

Boulton's expertise spans shop management, technology, principles and elements of design, along with holiday and sympathy work. His motivation for educating the public and professionals is refreshingly pure: to remind people of the impact and importance of flowers in our lives. To that end, his educational programs have taken place in high schools, community education centers, churches, garden clubs, and on his local television station.

The caliber of Boulton's long career has been recognized through the American Academy of Floriculture and with the Northwest Florists & Growers Florist of the Year honor. Boulton is past president of the Northwest Florists Association and a nine-year volunteer leader with SAF, including three years on the board of directors and serving on the Retailers Council and with Technology and PFCI Committees.

Ted Bruehl, AIFD, PFCI

Ted Bruehl, AIFD, PFCIA former classical musician, Ted Bruehl knows how to make a floral arrangement sing. Bruehl, design manager for The Chocolate Rose in Dallas for more than 20 years, got his start in the business as a delivery driver in his aunt's floral shop in Oklahoma. Since then, education and design have been the twin drivers in Bruehl's career.

On the education front, Bruehl is on staff at Fiorissima Internacional Floral Art School in Guadalajara, Mexico. At Richland College in Richardson, Texas, he was professor of floral shop management and a frequent guest speaker in the design classes. Bruehl got his start in education as a teaching assistant at the American Floral Services Education Center in 1990.

Design-wise, Bruehl has created masterpieces for floral shows throughout the US and Mexico, and he does product development in Hong Kong and China. Bruehl has presented design seminars for the Dallas Market Center and contributed to numerous showroom set-ups. Other large-scale floral installment credits include creating decorations for millennium parties at several Mirage Resorts hotels in Las Vegas.

Bruehl has a long and active history of volunteer leadership within AIFD regionally and nationally, and he is a past chairman of the Texas State Florists' Association convention. Bruehl's design work has been featured in Professional Floral Designer magazine, the BloomNet Wedding Guide, and The John Henry Co.'s book Prom and Homecoming II. Bruehl attended the Shelton School of Floral Design in Houston, Texas, and holds his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma.

Arthur Conforti, PFCI

Arthur Conforti, PFCIArthur Conforti is on a mission to convince local florists to upgrade their marketing programs and to deliver top-notch customer service with a YES WE CAN® attitude. With over 25 years in the industry, Conforti has never been afraid to roll up his sleeves and has always been driven by finding solutions and filling voids.

A second-generation florist, Conforti is president and owner of retail flower shop Beneva Flowers, and marketing consultancy Beneva Solutions in Sarasota, Fla., where he manages a staff of 40. He takes the counterintuitive approach of operating his businesses without a long-term plan. Doing his best one-day at a time has consistently led him to success. Conforti's approach to technology is forward thinking. He created floralapp® to enable retailers to sell flowers via smartphone, and is also a partner in FlowerManager, a web-based customer retention tool that's active in more than 50 markets.

Conforti's industry presentations cover technology, shop management, customer service, marketing, and weddings. He's engaged shop owners with events at the Texas State Florists' Association convention, the SAF convention, wholesale venues, and wire services. Conforti's business acumen has earned him honors such as 40 under 40 top business people in Sarasota, Philanthropist of the Year, Boss of the Year, and voted #1 Florist by Sarasota Magazine and the Herald Tribune Reader's Choice Awards for 15 consecutive years.

Daniel Fisher, PFCI

Daniel Fisher, PFCIDan Fisher's bedazzled floral career of nearly three decades rumbled to a humble start as a silk-flower truck driver and ultimately delivered him to a floral jewelry supplier known for making prom profits shine. Owner of Fitz Design in Punta Gorda, Fla., since 2007, Fisher has a reputation for innovative marketing and sales strategies — skills he honed along the way while working with industry leaders Floralife and Smithers-Oasis.

Fisher speaks regularly about moneymaking tips, marketing, merchandising and display, and wedding and prom trends. His "Proms for Profits" presentation has boosted the bottom line for florists coast to coast. Fisher's articles about maximizing prom profits have appeared in Florists' Review, Floral Management, Flower News, and BloomNet.

In 2001, Fisher worked on the George W. Bush Inauguration. In 2011, he received the Tennessee State Florists Association Living Legend Award for lifetime achievement. Fisher is a past member of the Wholesale Florist and Floral Supplier Association's marketing and communications committee.

David Kesler, AIFD, PFCI, and Leanne Kesler, AIFD, PFCI

David Kesler, AIFD, PFCI Leanne Kesler, AIFD, PFCI

Fred and Ginger sweep you off your dancing feet. Ricky and Lucy make you laugh until your sides hurt. "David and Leanne" may not be household names just yet, but when it comes to floral design, the Keslers know how to put on a show.

As directors of the Portland, Ore.-based Floral Design Institute, Leanne leads education and David directs creative. The duo works together, plays together, lives together, and presents together. Across the dozens of courses they've taught together, "Large Scale Design," "Designing for Competition," "Entrepreneur's Weekend," and "Exploration of Creativity" are highlights.

The Keslers' combined expertise encompasses care and handling, merchandising, and trends. David brings specialized knowledge in marketing, money-making tips, shop management, technology, and floral photography videography to his work. Leanne's deep experience encompasses color, principles and elements of design, and wedding wisdom.

The couple has a long history of supporting the industry through volunteer leadership, serving on and leading AIFD membership and education committees. Most recently, the couple shared the 2011 AIFD Symposium chair position. Leanne is a past president of the Northwest Florists Association and a Teleflora unit.

Before taking root in the floral industry, Leanne pursued general studies at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and David attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI

Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCIKristine Kratt's design education and international travel brings together her expertise in color, marketing, trends, and principles and elements of design. Her presentations at national conventions, state floral associations, and national garden clubs focus on modern, trend-driven designs. She specifically addresses generational-target marketing for Millennial consumers.

Kratt cultivated her floral career in San Francisco, and then moved to Texas, where she began specializing in permanent botanicals, merchandising and showroom installations. Expanding her design influence, Kratt started working in overseas product development. Since that time, she has quickly become a diverse contributor within the floral industry, extending into special event design, design shows, workshops, national and international design publications and televised interviews.

Kratt is co-owner of Schaffer Designs and co-creator of the multiple-award winning Schaffer Designs exhibits at the Philadelphia International Flower Show. She resides in Philadelphia and works as a freelance designer. Kratt constantly furthers her personal design knowledge, and has traveled throughout the U.S, Europe and Asia to participate in design projects.

Kratt's achievements include multiple "Best In Show" honors at the Philadelphia International Flower Show and "Best Of" window displays at Dallas Market Center and Atlanta's AmericasMart. Kratt was a featured presenter at several AIFD National Symposiums and the 2012 Special Events Convention; co-creator of the 2013 IFD Trend Forecast; closing speaker for the 2012 WF&FSA Convention; and was awarded the 2002 Texas Cup. She served on AIFD's Membership and Education committees; is a member of the FTD Education Team since 2007; and is a graduate of the College of San Mateo's floriculture program.

Shirley Lyons, AAF, PFCI

Shirley Lyons, AAF, PFCIThe Eugene, Oregon, Chamber of Commerce's 2011 Woman Business Leader of the Year is poised to become the first woman president of SAF. Those two accolades — award-winning entrepreneur and dedicated floral industry leader — capture the essence of SAF President-Elect Shirley Lyons' 36-year floriculture career.

As founder and owner of Dandelions Flowers & Gifts, LLC, Lyons has served on the SAF Retailers Council, Floral Management Advisory committee, Consumer and Marketing committee, and she served as chairman of the 2009 and 2010 SAF Conventions. She also has served on the National FTDA Government Affairs Council and held all offices within her FTD District.

Technology, moneymaking tips, shop management and marketing are key elements of Lyons' expertise, which also includes maximizing holiday and sympathy business. Her industry presentations are known for their pragmatic take-away value and high-octane brainstorming sessions. She's presented real-world sizzling floral marketing techniques, facilitated all-industry idea swaps, and given retailers the tools to stay sane while delivering top-notch designs during the holiday rush. Lyons also has a successful track record of educating business owners about identifying and preventing white-collar crime, which affects 90 percent of businesses.

Lyons was honored for business excellence with the 2010 Outstanding Marketing and Promotions Award from the Wholesale Florist & Floral Supplier Association and Florist and Grower magazine. In 2005, she received the National Industry Service Award from FTD.

Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI

Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCIFor floral education and design imbued with passion and personality, Neville MacKay is your one-stop floral shop owner, designer, and speaker. Pushing petals for more than 25 years, "That Bloomin' Neville," as he's affectionately known, opened My Mother's Bloomers retail shop in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1992. He's renowned for his flair for flowers and teaching, and if that seems a tad over the top, you can be sure it's grounded in an abiding and lifelong appreciation for the flower powers of love, happiness, and comfort.

MacKay's enthusiasm for the floral arts appeals to high society as well as the masses. He's designed floral arrangements for the British Royal Family, members of the Canadian Government, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Glen Close. He's designed for top-tier events, including Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth's 2010 Halifax visit and the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Stateside, MacKay presents personalized and engaging floral programs at retail shops and wholesalers. "He Hunts, I Shop" delighted crowds in Wakesha, Wisconsin. "Marry 'Em, Bury 'Em" was spot-on in Houston, Texas. And a Christmas Floral Show for Flowers Direct felt like a downhome country affair in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In Canada, national and local TV and radio programs have featured MacKay's work. He presents floral demonstrations internationally and writes a monthly article for Canadian Florist Magazine. His designs have also been featured in international magazines.

MacKay is an accredited floral judge and a member of the World Flower Council, an international group that promotes flowers for peace. He was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Floral Art in 2011. And as Smithers-Oasis (North America) Canadian Design Director, MacKay travels Canada and the U.S. teaching floral design to florists. Check out MacKay's way with flowers via his Neville on the Level YouTube videos, accessible at www.mymothersbloomers.com.

Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCI

Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCIAs the owner of Trend On Design, in Eden Prairie, Minn., Schroeck lives by the mantra "educate, inspire, influence" and it shows. She thrives on the energy of a crowd, and she's passionate about introducing even seasoned floral professionals to new product ideas, tips, and tricks for becoming more innovative and profitable designers.

With nearly 30 years in the floral business, Schroeck brings a long-standing awareness of floral trends to her teaching. Her presentations — from floral trends to holiday planning strategies — have appeared on local television stations and captured audiences at retailers, wholesalers, wire service meetings, state floral associations, technical colleges, garden clubs, and in industry magazines.

Schroek's commitment to sharpening her own design skills has earned her the North Central Designer of the Year honor, first place in the regional FTD America's cup, and a spot as a presenter for the North Central AIFD Across America. Her display work has been featured across the country.

Schroeck has served on AIFD committees and boards since 2006. In 2006 and 2007, she chaired the Minnesota State Florists Association convention. She's been a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers since 2003 and part of the Minnesota State Florist Association since 1984.

Anthony W. Swick, AIFD, PFCI, FSMD

Anthony W. Swick, AIFD, PFCI, FSMDA crowd favorite, 20-year floral veteran Anthony W. Swick has earned favor with brides, politicians, and floral professionals alike. The Tampa, Fla.-based Bay Bouquet Floral Studio owner and designer is a three-time winner of the Wedding Wires Brides Choice Award, a four-time member of the FTD design team responsible for the Florida Governor's mansion, and leader for a hospitality suite décor team for the AIFD National Symposium.

A frequent educational presenter and a new addition to the BloomNet design team, Swick aims to inspire designers with his fresh and vibrant design style, his enthusiasm, and a penchant for fun. His presentations ranging from design mechanics to holiday flair have served professionals and consumers alike. Retail florists, wholesalers, garden clubs, school organizations, and technical institutes have hosted Swick's high-energy seminars.

Director for District IV of the Florida State Florists' Association and former vice president for the Florida West Coast Florist Association, Swick's award-winning designs have been honored in numerous state and local competitions. His work has appeared in The Knot, local publications and broadcasts, and industry publications. Swick is a Florida State Master Designer, an AIFD Certified Floral Designer, and an AIFD member.