ALEXANDRIA, USA: The Society of American Florists will honor three professionals with induction into Professional Floral Communicators – International (PFCI) during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner on Sept. 24 at SAF Maui 2016, the association’s 132nd Annual Convention at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.
The 2016 PFCI inductees are:
- Bradley Craig Beck (pictured), AAF, PFCI, of DESIGN MASTER color tool, inc., in Boulder, Colorado
- Justin Degonia, AIFD, PFCI, of New Leaf Flower & Plant Shop in Poplar Bluff, Missouri
- Jenny Thomasson, AIFD, PFCI, of Stems in Florissant, Missouri
PFCI is the service mark of the floral industry’s finest floral educators. On local, regional and national stages, PFCI members present educational programs to floral professionals on topics ranging from design and care and handling to floral industry trends and profitability. PFCI members are vetted for presentation, publication and leadership experience, and candidates must submit an audition DVD of a live presentation to demonstrate their communication skills.
“PFCI truly promotes a high level of accomplishment in the field of floral communication and maintains a high standard to achieve this designation,” said PFCI Board of Trustees Chairman D Damon Samuel, AAF, AIFD, NAFD, NMF, PFCI, of the Bill Doran Company in Omaha, Nebraska. “It is an honor to induct three very qualified speakers from both floral design and business backgrounds into our international group as we strive to promote superior communication throughout our industry.”
Brad Beck, AAF, PFCI
Brad Beck, AAF, PFCI, started in the floral industry more than 30 years ago — a time, as he recalls it, when he had to “press hard on three-page carbon paper order forms and mail his orders via U.S. mail to the factories he represented.” Much has changed in the intervening decades. Today, as the Director of Yes! (national sales manager) for DESIGN MASTER color tool, inc., in Boulder, Colorado, Beck has adapted his business philosophy and communication style to attract, engage and connect with customers by giving value first through technology. A Distinguished Toastmaster since 2010, Beck is one of the founders of “Growing Up With Flowers” a program that teaches children about the positive effects of flowers. Throughout his career, he has presented targeted programs on social media for businesses, effective messaging and sales to wholesale and retail businesses. His speaking expertise includes color, marketing, money-making tips and sales and public speaking. Beck has held a number of volunteer leadership roles with the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association (WF&FSA), including board director and chairman of the Education Committee. WF&FSA has twice honored him with its Distinguished Service Award, in 1996 and 1999; in 1994, the organization named Beck its Young Executive of the Year. A graduate and advisory board member of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, Beck was also presented with that group’s prestigious Leader in Action Award in 2015. Beck is a lifetime member of the Optimist Club of Erie and has served on the Community and Police Partnership and The Erie Finance Corporation. Beck earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Arts from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In addition to his career in the industry, he has worked in a country band, and on TV and radio. He and his wife, Kathy, have four children and three grandchildren.
Justin Degonia, AIFD, PFCI
Justin Degonia, AIFD, PFCI, the co-owner of New Leaf Flower & Plant Shop in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, came to the floral industry at a very early age. His mother was a freelance wedding designer and she frequently tasked her precocious son with small jobs to keep him occupied — and out of trouble. As a young man, Degonia built and refined his skills at some of the premier flower shops in southeast Missouri, soaking in new ideas and best practices while discovering his own talents. He complemented his on-the-job training with programming through Teleflora’s Lewis and Clark Unit and he worked closely with designers on the company’s Education Specialist Team. In 2014, his wife, Jennifer — co-owner of New Leaf Flower & Plant Shop — encouraged him to earn his American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) certification. His speaking expertise includes care and handling, color, holidays, merchandising and display, moneymaking tips, permanent botanicals, principles and elements of design, shop management, sympathy work and weddings. Degonia was vice president of the Lewis and Clark Teleflora Unit from 2013 to 2014 and a board member for the group from 2009 to 2014. He also served as the event coordinator and vice president for Business Networkers International. He is currently an AIFD board member for the South Central region.
Jenny Thomasson, AIFD, PFCI
Jenny Thomasson, AIFD, PFCI, was just 22 years old when she opened her flower shop, Stems, in Florissant, Missouri. With an infant in tow, she knew she had to stand out from her competitors with interesting designs and top-notch service, while making a profit and earning a living. A little more than a decade later, Stems had grown to become one of the area’s top wedding and special event florists — and Thomasson had moved to three larger locations and now had an entire family in tow. Thomasson has speaking expertise in care and handling, color, financial information, holidays, marketing, merchandising and displays, moneymaking tips, principles and elements of design, shop management, sympathy, trends and wedding work. She is a member of The Knot’s Hall of Fame and her shop has been listed many times on the company’s “Best of” list. Stems also has been recognized multiple times as a Wedding Wire “Couples Choice Winner. An American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) certified florist since 2011, Thomasson was part of the decorating group for the White House Christmas 2014. She is president of Teleflora’s Lewis and Clark Unit and created a stage presentation for the AIFD 2015 Symposium in Denver. Within her community, she is involved in the Art in Bloom organization at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri Botanical Garden. For two years, she was the fundraising chair for her local Soroptimist Club.
The Society of American Florists is the leading organization representing all segments of the floral industry. SAF is proud to provide marketing, business and government services to its members, including growers, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, importers, educators, designers and allied organizations. The association was chartered by an act of Congress in 1884. To learn more about SAF or to join, visit www.safnow.org