- Press Room
Board of Directors
Mike is the General Manager for Dramm and Echter Farms, overseeing sales, shipping, receiving and production planning. Mike has spent over 20 years in the floral industry, including such firms as Mayesh, Roy Houff Co, AJ's Fine Foods and Cactus Flower Florist. Mike represents the third generation in his family in the floral industry. Mike has been a member of the CalFlowers board of directors since 2013 and has been active in other floral industry associations, such as Society of American Florists (SAF) and the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC).
Mike received a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Supply Chain Management.
Ben is currently COO and Senior Sales Executive of Holland America Flowers, LLC. He immigrated from Holland in 1980 to Woodland Washington, where he worked on the family farm (Holland American Bulb Farms) throughout his childhood. In 1986, his family started All Seasons Flowers, now formally Holland America Flowers, for which he became Sales Manager in 2007.
He was past President of the Northwest Bulb Growers Association and is a current Board member for both CalFlowers and SAF. Flowers are his life!
Ben, his wife, and their four daughters moved to California in June 2012, where they currently reside.
Marc Robinson is currently working for Delaware Valley Floral Group in Oxnard, CA. He has 30 years of floral industry experience in sales, marketing, production and logistics. Marc has worked in wholesale, mass market as well as e-commerce channels of the industry. His experience will compliment an already strong board in efforts to implement the initiatives that CalFlowers has for 2016-2017.
Immediate Past President
Robert Kitayama is currently the President and CEO of Kitayama Brothers, a grower and shipper of cut flowers in Watsonville, CA. Previously to working for Kitayama Brothers, Robert founded and managed GrowFloral a division of Greenleaf Wholesale Florist. In total Robert has worked over 30 years in the floral industry from greenhouse labor to retail sales. Currently Robert’s focus is re-energizing flower growing in Northern California. The American consumer is looking for good quality, locally grown flowers and more California farmers should take advantage of this situation. Robert has been a member of the CalFlowers board of directors since 2006.
Frank Biddle is the president and owner of Francis Biddle International, Inc. (FBI Flowers) and has been in the flower business since 1987. Frank has extensive experience in growing, shipping and import consolidation and travels extensively throughout, California, South America, Mexico and Africa to stay connected with his friends in the industry. Frank lives in Del Mar, California with his wife Jennifer and their two sons Joseph and George. When not in the office, Frank enjoys surfing, biking and tooling around on the farm with his bird dog Remi.
Joost Bongaerts is currently president and CEO of Florabundance Inc., a leading trusted brand serving upscale flower shops and wedding designers. Joost has been working in the floral industry for 35 years as a marketer of fresh cut flowers in his native Holland; developer of sales channels to supermarkets such as Kroger; Safeway and Giant, and as a retail florist. His experience also includes selling flower bulbs to growers, teaching how to grow bulb cut flower crops, and selling perennial plants to garden centers. Joost took an equity in Florabundance in 2001. In 2008, along with his wife Alexandra, they became the sole owners of Florabundance. Their home is in Summerland, CA.
Pat brings a wealth of floral industry experience to the CalFlowers Board, not only from his success at the helm of Mayesh Wholesale Florist, but from his previous leadership positions with the Wholesale Florists & Florists Suppliers Association (WF&FSA) and the Society of American Florists (SAF).
Steve Dionne has served on CalFlowers’ Board of Directors for over 10 years, and has twice served as President of the association. Steve has been involved in the California floral industry for over 20 years, and is owner of Wafex USA in partnership with Wafex Australia. He holds a B.A. from University of San Diego.
Steve’s industry achievements include SAF’s Floral Marketer of the Year (1998), and induction to The American Academy of Floriculture (2010).
In his personal life, Steve serves on the Board of Directors of St. Peter’s Catholic School, coaches basketball and academic decathlon, and has done numerous speaking engagements and radio interviews on the subject of Autism acceptance.
Lisa Filice is President and CEO of Regional Farms, Inc., a flower shipper of cut flowers and greenery established in 1982 and located in Northern California. Prior to purchasing Regional Farms, Inc. in 2011 with her husband Michael, Lisa worked in Sales and Administration for Regional Farms and Wayne's Wholesale.
Lisa also owns Expressions Floral, a retail floral business specializing in weddings and special events throughout Northern California. Lisa has been on the CalFlowers board since 2013.
Michael Franzoia is currently President of California Flower Shippers, a grower and shipper of cut flowers in Mountain View, CA. Michael’s more than 28 years in the wholesale flower industry includes active involvement key trade associations. He’s been president of the CalFlowers board of directors four (4) times since 2004. He served on the WF&FSA Young Executives Committee from 1996-2001, serving as its president in 2001. He was the Fun ‘N Sun convention chair in 2007 and 2011, and served on the SAF Wholesalers Council and Convention Committee from 2009 to 2011.
Joe Ortiz Jr.
Joe Ortiz has been working in the flower industry most of his life and is currently the sales manager for his fathers company, Joseph & Sons Inc. Joe is married to his lovely wife Marlene and together they have five children. Prior to his current term on the board, Joe served for six years as a board member and was also the Vice President for CalFlowers. Joe brings plenty of knowledge and experience to help with the efforts of CalFlowers and he is very excited to be serving on the board again.
Bill Tafoya currently manages the daily operations at Fiorbella, including daily sales. Bill was born in Ventura, CA and raised in the Central Valley into the tomato business, along with 11 siblings. Bill has been in the floral industry since 1981. Bill's favorite pastimes include: baseball, history, automobiles and computers. He is the Past President of the Pony and Palomino League and served on the local Little League board for several years.
Ivor Van Wingerden
Ivor Van Wingerden is the manager for Ocean Breeze Farms San Luis Obispo County operations. He oversees the Oriental Lily, Asiatic Lily, and Hydrangea program as well as their greenhouse cucumber operation. Ivor graduated from UC Berkeley in 2005 with a B.S. in Business administration completed the California Agricultural Leadership Program in 2009 as one of the youngest members to go through the program. He currently serves on the promotions committee for the California Cut Flower Commission. He lives in Nipomo with his wife Brooks and one year old daughter Kate.
July 1 - 5, 2017
SAF Annual Convention
September 6 - 9, 2017
Palm Beach, FL
WF&FSA Floral Distribution Conference
October 18 - 20, 2017