Society Of American Florists Honors Industry Members At 130th Annual Convention

The Society of American Florists (SAF) 130th annual convention closed on Aug. 16 with the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner, held in Marco Island, Fla., where several industry members were recognized for their achievements in floriculture.

Ken Tagawa, Tagawa, Inc. – Floriculture Hall Of Fame

Ken Tagawa, chairman of Tagawa Inc. in Brighton, Colo., was named to the SAF Floriculture Hall of Fame.

“Ken Tagawa set the standard for ethical behavior, relationship building and business smarts,” says SAF Awards Committee member David Gaul, AAF, of D.W.F. Wholesale Florists in Denver, Colo. “Combine that with hard work, dedication and leadership by action, and you have a blueprint for success in business, community and family.”

Ken Tagawa has led Tagawa Inc., over the last six decades. The company was started when he bought land outside of Brighton, Colo., and began growing vegetables. Tagawa’s family had small greenhouses for their vegetable transplants and soon started growing flowers as well for the local market in Denver. From these humble beginnings, the Tagawa family built greenhouses and expanded the business to include cut flowers and bedding plants. They also helped construct greenhouses for other companies in the area and quickly became recognized leaders in the local horticulture community.

Today, the business has grown to include Tagawa Greenhouses, Tagawa Gardens and Ball Tagawa Growers, a 50/50 partnership with Ball Seed. The business also has part ownership in Denver Wholesale Florist, which has 14 wholesale branches across the U.S.

David Armellini, Armellini Express Lines, Inc. – Paul Ecke, Jr. Award

David Armellini, the president and CEO of Armellini Express Lines Inc. in Palm City, Fla., was named the Paul Ecke, Jr. Award honoree, which represents exemplary devotion to profession, industry and community.

“For more than two decades, David Armellini has used his impressive knowledge of transportation, logistics and communications to introduce new ideas to the family business and industry — and also to give back to the community,” says SAF Chairman and Awards Committee member Robert Williams, II, AAF, PFCI, of Smithers-Oasis – North American Operations in Kent, Ohio.

Armellini Express is a transporter of fresh cut flowers with terminals in Florida and California, founded by Jules Armellini in 1945. Over the course of his career, Armellini has worked in all aspects of the family business including safety, scheduling, maintenance and floral transport sales. In 1993, he was promoted to executive vice president of sales and marketing and soon after his scope of responsibilities expanded to include all subsidiaries.

During his tenure, Armellini has significantly expanded the company and implemented many state-of-the-art innovations. He has introduced tracking technologies and company-wide communications systems to improve cold chain management and increase efficiency.

Armellini’s commitment to the industry and community can also be seen in his many acts of generosity over the years. He has provided transportation services for many SAF conventions and presidential inaugurations. In the aftermath of 9/11, he provided transportation support to get flowers to memorial services and remembrance events in New York and Washington, D.C. That humanitarian outreach was repeated in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy to transport donated supplies to storm victims.

John Dole, Ph.D, North Carolina State University – Alex Laurie Award

The Alex Laurie Award was presented to John Dole, Ph.D., head of the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University.

“Dr. Dole’s accomplishments in the classroom and laboratory clearly reflect those of the individuals before him who have received the Alex Laurie Award,” says SAF Awards Committee member Marvin Miller, Ph.D., AAF, of Ball Horticultural Co., in West Chicago, Ill. “He has been a recognized leader in developing new production and post-harvest procedures for a wide range of cut flowers and other floral crops. As a teacher at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Dole also has mentored countless students — many of whom have gone on to make their own valuable contributions to floriculture.”

Dole’s current research focuses on cut flowers, including new cultivar evaluations, production, postharvest and marketing analysis. For much of his career, Dole has been developing new production and postharvest handling techniques for specialty cut flowers.

In cooperation with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG), Dole co-coordinates the national ASCFG Seed, Perennial and Woody Plant Trial Programs, which includes growers from the United States and Canada. His research has received ongoing support from ASCFG, American Floral Endowment, the International Cut Flower Growers and the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation, along with numerous suppliers and producers.

Dole teaches a graduate level course, the Physiology of Flowering. His publications include six books and many refereed publications and trade journal articles. For close to 25 years, he taught greenhouse management and floriculture production courses. He’s also served on many graduate committees.

David Clark, Ph.D., University Of Florida – Gold Medal Award

David Clark, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Environmental Horticulture, is the recipient of the Gold Medal Award. The award honors the originator or introducer of a widely distributed plant or flower that has become established as an outstanding product of significant horticultural and commercial value.

Since starting his work with coleus 11 years ago, Clark has nearly eliminated early flowering and introduced new colors, color combinations and leaf shapes. In addition, he’s made varieties more tolerant of heat, drought and sun exposure.

“[Clark has] produced a hassle-proof plant — one anyone can grow, from growers to consumers,” says former SAF president Terril Nell, Ph.D., AAF, co-author of SAF’s Flower & Plant Care manual and professor emeritus of floriculture at the University of Florida. “[He’s responsible for] varieties so tough that you essentially stick them in the ground and water them when you can and they last all season, anywhere in the country.”

UF has patented 19 cultivars, trademarked nine cultivars and released 49 cultivars to the commercial floriculture industry, and cultivars bred in this program are now sold in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. So far, 13 of the cultivars he developed have sold 500,000 cuttings or more in the U.S. Many of the cultivars have been recognized as best in show at university bedding plant trials and both trade and consumer publications have heralded Clark’s work, including Greenhouse Grower, Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living.

Clark has been with UF since 1995 where he has established the Floriculture Biotechnology and Genetics laboratory in the Environmental Horticulture Department. His research group conducts experiments focused on developing flowers and plants that have maximum sensory appeal to humans. Clark also founded the UF Institute for Plant Innovation, a multidisciplinary group that has established the concept of using consumer assisted selection for developing new plants for future consumers.

Source: Society Of American Florists



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