Ed Castillo has over 15 years experience in the floral industry consulting with real, local florists to help them manage and grow their businesses. Ed gets great satisfaction from sharing industry knowledge and helping florists take their business to the next level, and enjoys interacting with business owners on a daily basis.
LAURIE LEMEKCFD, AIFD, PFCI
Laurie Lemek, CFD,AIFD, PFCI, has been actively involved in the floral industry since 1975. From 1976 to 1992 she was the co-owner of Lemek's Florist & Nursery in Tolland, CT.
She received a MS in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Connecticut, where she was a faculty member in the Floriculture Department as an Associate Professor of
Floral Design, Advanced Floral Design, Plant Identification, and Retail Shop Management.
In 1991 in Dallas, Texas she was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Design, and in 2012 inducted into the Professional Floral Commentator International.
As an award winning designer, she has presented programs at AIFD National Symposiums in Boston 1992 Atlanta 1994, Chicago 1998, 2008, New York City 2004, and Miami 2012.
Her design compositions and sculptures have been displayed at the Governors Mansion, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, numerous flower shows across the United States including Hartford,
Boston, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. She has had the honor to design at the White House for Presidents Regan, Bush and Clinton.
She has participated in international flower shows and design seminars as an instructor of floral trends and techniques in countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Germany, Holland, Spain, China, India, South Africa, Australia, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines. Recently Laurie joined the sales team of The Pennock Company.
DARCIE GARCIA AIFD
Darcie Garcia AIFD has worked in the floral industry for the 25 years. Her current position, and one that she has served for the last 23 years, is that of head designer for RichMar florist in Allentown, Pa.
To say that she is just a designer at an every day shop would be an extreme understatement. Taking the lead at a high-volume shop has not only given her the chops to keep up with the best of the best, but it has instilled a keen business sense in her. On matters of productivity, creativity and technology, she paves the way at her shop and is more than happy to share her expertise with others. Darcie leads her team in flawlessly executing everything from every day work to large scale weddings to personalized sympathy tributes. She was also proud to design for the Women's U.S. Open when it came to her area in 2009. In July of 2016, she accepted an invitation to assist the White House floral team in decorating for the Singapore State Dinner.
After successfully completing the Professional Floral Design Evaluation in July of 2015, Darcie was officially inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in July of 2016. She regularly attends regional and national design education programs to keep up with current trends, techniques and products.
For the last decade she has worked on the teams for award winning exhibitors at the Philadelphia Flower Show. You will also find her on the Designer Studio stage at the flower show, competing in hands-on, surprise package competitions where she has taken home many blue ribbons.
She gives back to the industry as well in many ways. One of these ways is by being a Past President and serving on the board of the Teleflora Penn Jersey education unit and has done so for the last 15 years. As a board member, she helps to plan, organize and execute florist-to-florist design programs all year long.
In her spare time, you will find Darcie cycling on the trails, hitting the gym with her sons and spinning circles around her partners on the local salsa dance floors.
YOLI LaGUERRE CFD, AIFD
Yoli LaGuerre, CFD, AIFD is an award winning professionally trained floral designer from the New York metropolitan area. Yoli entered the world of floral design over 25 years ago and has continued to contribute to the industry through floral artistry and education. Yoli has owned and operated three retail flower shops and is currently owner and CEO of YL Event Design, Inc. in Rye, New York. As a floral artist Yoli has been commissioned to design for dozens of celebrity clients; The Philadelphia Flower Show as a key designer of the Award Winning Schaeffer Design team; and has participated in and won several international flower competitions. Additionally, Yoli has worked on a variety of multi-million dollar events in several countries which in include, but are not limited to, India, Malaysia, Japan, and the United States.
In addition to her contributions to the industry Yoli continues to develop her craft. She has enrolled in a variety of art and floral classes including Botanical illustration and Botany at the prestigious New York Botanical Garden where she also serves as a core design instructor. Yoli recently completed her European Masters program in Bruges, Belgium under the direction of world – renowned Master designers and authors Hitomi Gilliam and Tomas De Bruyne while contemporaneously earning credentials from the American Institute of Floral Designers A.I.F.D. where she sits on the Marketing Board as the Director of Social Media.
Yoli is currently working on a Floral Design book that will be published in 2017 and attributes her longevity in the floral industry to her roles as a mother, mentor, entrepreneur, student, educator, and designer. Further she believes that her curiosity, passion, and ambition along with her desire to continually add to the body of knowledge are instrumental to her continued success.
JACOB McCALL AIFD, AAF, FSMD
FTD Education Consultant
Jacob McCall began his career in the floral industry more than 17 years ago. Over the years, he has worked in a retail flower shop, consulted on product design and development and traveled throughout North and South America educating consumers and his peers. Jacob is known for his cutting-edge trends and color expertise.
No stranger to the world of floral design competition, Jacob represented the United States at the 2015 Interflora World Cup in Berlin, Germany, competing against 25 other countries. In 2014, he won the coveted Sylvia Cup at the Society of American Florists (SAF) Convention. Jacob also won the Sunshine Cup at the Florida State Florists’ Association Convention in 2013. Competing against nine countries, he represented the United States in the 2011 America’s Cup in Brazil, taking first runner up. Prior to that, Jacob won the Iron Designer Competition at the International Floriculture Expo for two consecutive years, 2011 and 2010.
In 2012, Jacob presented a main stage program at the AIFD National Symposium alongside FTD Education Consultant Deborah De La Flor AIFD. Jacob was inducted into the American Academy of Floriculture in 2012, as well as the prestigious American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) in 2010.
Jacob was featured on the hit television show Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? on the Style network. He has designed floral creations for celebrities including Tiger Woods, Grant Hill, Diana Ross and Jessica Simpson. Jacob was also selected to design the Christmas décor for the famous Peabody Hotel and the renowned Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL. Jacob’s enthusiasm for the floral industry is infectious, and his Southern charm adds to his down-home approach to sharing his talent with his peers.
Bob Buettner is a graduate of The University of Connecticut. He began his floral career in 1960 and purchased his business in 1973. Today he continues to work at his East Hartford store along with his daughter Mindy.
Bob has instructed floral design classes at Manchester Community College for the past twelve years. He is an active member of The Connecticut Florists Association where he currently sits on the board of directors. In addition, Bob serves the community as a member of the East Hartford Rotary.
Bob enjoys scuba diving and spending time with his wife, two children and three grand daughters.
Jorge Uribe has been in the professional floral industry for the last 12 years. He is the current owner and creative floral artist of Urban Floral LLC in Waterbury, CT.
His expertise in this field has allowed him to work on a large quantity of weddings, events, parties, funerals and destination weddings.
Since beginning his career in the floral world, Jorge’s curiosity has always been part of his training. He enjoys learning and experimenting with manipulating and creating using different elements to obtain the best result on his designs.
Jorge has participated numerous times at the North East Floral Competition taking 3rd place and People’s Choice Award in 2006, 4th place in 2007, 2nd in 2008, 4th in 2009, 1st in 2010, 3rd place at the Master’s Competition in 2012, 1st place Master’s Competition, Designer of the Year and People’s Choice Award 2013, 1st place Designer of the Year and People’s Choice Award in 2015 and People’s Choice Award 2016. Recently he participated at the Gateway to the Americas Cup 2016 in Vancouver Canada representing his native country of Colombia in which he won 1st place in the Bridal Bouquet category Smithers Oasis Cup and 2ndplace in the fashion category, Florist’s Review Cup.
Most recently his goals will also include continuing his education and assisting on workshops with the prestigious Hitomi Gilliam AIFD. In 2017, he will take the evaluation at the American Institute of Floral Design and will start level 1 for the EMC European Master Certification.
Jorge previously taught level 2 at the CFA floral school and when he is not behind his bench designing he is always occupied on his photography projects such as portraits, weddings, and FX photo shoots.
I have been with Teleflora for 8 years, dedicating my entire work-focus to the eFlorist department. I began in content management and worked my way into the marketing department of which I now manage. Through the years’ I’ve built meaningful relationships with florists and their staff. I love encouraging and teaching business owners the importance of a great online presence and the benefits of digital marketing.
On a personal note, I love traveling, drinking coffee – drinking coffee while traveling, hiking and my favorite flower is the wild violet.
DONALD YIM AIFD, CFD, CPFD
Donald Yim, AIFD, CFD, CPFD, is the Creative Director at West Van Florist in Vancouver, Canada. He began his explorations in floral design over 20 years ago, starting in his native Hong Kong, navigating the vast floral market and being guided by the market experts, and resulting in the innovative and award winning designs he crafts today.
Donald has criss-crossed the world, learning, teaching, and sharing what he discovers in his on-going journey.
He is now even more passionate about his artistry; Donald's enthusiasm has been fueled by a genuine passion for sharing and exchanging ideas.
He loves making connections with new students and fellow designers in a multitude of settings: as a guest speaker, on stage, demonstrating and presenting to audiences of designers; or mentoring one-on-one; or as a specialty trainer for other designers. He has received recognition as one of the floral industry’s leading and respected figures.
His knowledge of the floral industry extends beyond floral arrangement; Donald is proficient in showroom set-up, organization, management, and take-downs; he incorporates his design and trend knowledge to create eye-catching permanent arrangements and aesthetically appealing displays of merchandise.
He is an artist, an avid amateur photographer, and his designs have been featured internationally in print: Floriology magazine; France's Nacre magazine; and the UK's Fusion Flowers, among many others; he has participated in internationally renowned shows such as the 2005 Philadelphia Flower Show and the 2005 ,2007,2013 AIFD National Symposium.
DOT CHENEVERT AIFD
Dorothy (Dot) Chenevert AIFD has been in the floral industry for most of her life. She was inducted into The American Institute of Floral Designers in 1999 and she is currently serving as the Vice President of the Northeast Regional Chapter of AIFD.
Dot and her husband and partner Paul purchased their store in 1981 and sold it in 2011. Since then she continued to teach floral design classes and in in 2014 she opened a studio which was a particular interest to the DIY bride.
Dot & Paul had been married for 55 years and have 3 children, 4 grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
MICHAEL DEROUIN AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CFD, CAFA
Michael Derouin is a second-generation floral designer, raised in his family’s florist where he learned a career by osmosis. After almost three weeks in college, he realized what he wanted to do with his life, so he came back home and continued his father’s legacy for the next ten years.
In 2007, Michael joined McArdle’s, the state’s largest florist, located in Greenwich, Connecticut. As the Director of Floral Design, Michael leads the design team who creates florals for the company’s discerning cliental.
By the age of 31, Michael fulfilled a personal goal he set as a teenager. He was invited into membership into four of the industry’s prestigious organizations - an accomplishment that just a few hold. They include, The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), The American Academy of Floriculture (AAF), Professional Floral Communicators International (PFCI), and The Canadian Academy of Floral Art (CAFA).
Michael is the Vice President of The Connecticut Florists Association where he served as the Chairman of The Northeast Floral Expo from 2013 through 2016.
He is humbled to be the recipient of numerous design awards including The 2001 Connecticut Floral Designer of the Year.
While Michael enjoys all aspects of the floral industry, his passion is education. In his own words,
“There is an immense sense of fulfillment when sharing knowledge and teaching others. A feeling that pales in comparison to most others. The designer who presented at the first design show I ever attended made a lasting impression on me. I was inspired and knew at that moment I wanted to do that very same thing. I could only hope that I might have that same affect on someone, someday.”