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94 • The Produce News • October 6-20, 2014 FLORAL MARKETING Teleflora chairman Thomas Butler dies Thomas Butler, chairman of Teleflora, died Aug. 14 after battling cancer, according to a news release. Butler joined American Flo- ral Services, based in Okla- homa City, OK, in 1985 as executive vice president and then became the company’s president. In 2000, he led the merger of AFS and Teleflora, and then became its chairman. A statement issued by Tele- flora read in part, “For many who knew Tom, he was consid- ered to be the ‘Chief Champi- on of Florists’ — always there when they needed him, always understanding their issues and concerns, and always represent- ing their cause. With nearly 50 years’ experience in the floral business, the last 30 with Tele- flora, Tom was always the pre- eminent industry authority and visionary.” Butler was born in Detroit in 1945, graduated from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit in 1967 and went on to teach English and coach basketball and football. His career in the floral industry began at FTD, where he held a variety of senior posi- tions, including director of the international division. After FTD he was the vice president of sales and marketing for Syn- dicate Sales in Kokomo, IN, and then became president and chief executive officer of AFS. Butler served as world presi- dent of Teleflora International, chairman of the American Flo- ral Endowment, chairman of the AFE Development Com- mittee and trustee on the AFE Board. He was a member of the American Academy of Florists, Professional Floral Communi- cators International and Soci- ety of American Florists (past board of directors). He was also a member of numerous national and state floral associ- ations, the news release stated. Butler established the Tom Butler Family Fund with a con- tribution of $50,000 in July to provide undesignated funds to support AFE’s research and grant efforts. Known for a knack for fundraising and an interest in Thomas Butler expanding and improving the endowment, he helped raise gan State Florist Association more than $2 million by estab- Award of National Industry lishing new industry named Service; Michigan Floral Foun- dation Hall of Fame Award; funds within AFE since 2011. During his career Butler Arkansas State Florists’ Associa- received many awards includ- tion Distinguished Service ing SAF’s Hall of Fame Award Award and Oklahoma State and the Paul Ecke Jr. Award; Florists’ Hall of Fame Award. A memorial service was held Florida State Florists’ Associa- tion Hall of Fame Award, Life- in September in Oklahoma time Achievement Award and City, where he had lived for Place in the Sun Award; Michi- many years. AFE appoints new leaders The American Floral Endow- ment announced in a news release the appointments of new leaders at the Aug. 14 annual fundraising dinner: • Chairman. Gabriel Becerra, president of Golden Flowers in Miami, FL, begins his role as chairman after eight years as a trustee. In his new role, Becerra will spearhead AFE’s efforts to advance the floral industry through research, scholarships and educational grants. • Treasurer-Secretary-Elect. Charles Kremp of Kremp Florist in the Philadelphia, PA area has more than 55 years of experi- ence in the floral industry and has served on the AFE Board of Trustees since 2009. Kremp Florist is ranked as one of the top 20 florists in the United States • Trustee. Bill Fernandez, president and owner of Conti- nental Flowers, Inc. in Miami, FL, was born in Cuba, came to the United States as a child, and eventually settled in Miami. He started Continental Flowers in 1974 and the company is now a leading grower, importer and distributor of fresh-cut flowers. SAF elects 8 to sit on councils Eight members have been elected to positions on the Soci- ety of American Florists Retail- er, Wholesalers and Growers Councils according to an asso- ciation news release. Newly elected SAF Council members are: • Retailers Council: Jessica Cosentino from Cosentino’s Florist in Auburn, NY; Tim Galea from Norton’s Flowers & Gifts in Ypsilanti, MI; and Kris- ten Gainan-Graves from Gainan’s Floral & Greenhouses in Billings, MT. • Wholesalers Council: Nick Fronduto from Jacobson Floral Supply, Inc. in Boston, MA; Dave Legge from D.W.F. Whole- sale Florists in Denver, CO; and Ken Wilkins from Delaware Val- ley Floral Group in Sewell, NJ. • Growers Council: Patrick Busch from Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, MN; and Ray Green- street from Greenstreet Growers in Tracys Landing, MD. FTD announces deal to acquire Provide Commerce FTD Cos., based in Downers Grove, IL, announced in a news release it will acquire Provide Commerce, which includes ProFlowers, Shari’s Berries and other sister brands, for $430 million, creating a company with over $1 billion in revenue. The transaction, which will unite two complementary busi- nesses, is expected to close by the end of 2014, according to the news release. UPDATES producenews.com