This September will be a month to remember for Mike Mellano Sr., a California cut flower grower who founded Mellano & Company. Mellano received the Allan Armitage Leadership Award from the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG), and he was inducted into the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Hall of Fame.
The ASCFG recognized Mellano with the Armitage Award because he serves on several California and national floriculture boards. Mellano has also been involved with the Society of American Florists over the years, along with the American Floral Endowment (AFE) and the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). SAF inducted him into its Hall of Fame at its Palm Beach convention for similar reasons.
“Mellano & Company is a company of firsts,” says Wanda Weder, chairperson of the SAF awards committee. “Mellano & Company was one of the first to utilize a precooling system allowing flowers to be shipped at optimal level, and to recognize and develop the usage of smaller boxes for packaging flowers, allowing for improved quality control and handling.”
Mellano & Company, under Mellano’s leadership, has also implemented integrated pest management and scounting and irrigation systems that help minimize water runoff and water flow.
Mellano’s son, Mike Jr., was also presented an award–the Outstanding Service Award–from ASCFG. Mellano Jr. helped create and maintain the ASCFG’s online bulletin board, a popular member service that allows hundreds of growers to exchange ideas, share experiences and pour through thousands of archives with information about production and marketing.
Another well-known industry leader, Jim Barrett of the University of Florida, was also recently recognized with an award. SAF honored him with the Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education.
“Dr. Barrett has developed new and innovative approaches to using growth regulating chemicals in floriculture,” says Bob Luthultz, an SAF awards committee member and board chairman.
Because of Barrett’s research, growers have learned a host of techniques to improve the effectiveness of plant growth regulators (PGRs). Barrett has also helped guide the industry in selecting poinsettia cultivars with improved production characteristics, reduced production problems and greater consumer appeal.