Press Releases

CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California serving growers and the entire supply chain in 48 states, is pleased to announce the hiring of Steve Dionne as executive director.

Dionne, who starts the new position November 2, says he is thrilled to be appointed and looks forward to serving in such a meaningful leadership role within the floral industry. “Contributing to the vision established by CalFlowers – including the elected board and association members is an honor and a golden opportunity to share my insights and lead with dedication,” says Dionne. His familiarity with CalFlowers is strong since he has served on the Board of Directors for more than 16 years, and has twice served as president of the association.

For more than 26 years Dionne has been involved in the floral industry and has been a feet-on-the-ground evaluator and participant. “Developing Wafex USA’s supply chain facilitated my visits to farms and distributors in 19 countries across five continents in the past seven years. I learned that even despite international differences, the flower business is just about the same everywhere you go and challenges are mostly universal.”

Industry achievements for Dionne include being named Floral Marketer of the Year in 1998 by the Society of American Florists, and induction into The American Academy of Floriculture in 2010. He holds a B.A. from University of San Diego. 

While maintaining focus on CalFlowers transportation initiatives, Dionne will also place great emphasis on collaboration with current CalFlowers affiliates and other industry associations. He says CalFlowers members especially deserve guidance and support now as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurl new burdens into the flower business playbook. “As the industry propels through this period, CalFlowers will be doing everything we can to help our stakeholders harness the opportunities that exist,” explains Dionne.

Frank Biddle, president and owner of Francis Biddle International, Inc. and president of CalFlowers, indicates Dionne is exactly the leader the association has been seeking. “We are an optimistic industry with wonderful products and services that make a difference in consumers’ lives, but challenges are plentiful right now. With his many years of experiencing relevant leadership roles and having so many levels of responsibility in the industry, we see Steve as the ideal person for the executive director,” says Biddle.

Dionne adds, “CalFlowers aspirational goal is clear – More Americans enjoying more flowers more often. I couldn’t be more excited to work with our great staff, members, and directors to help make this vision a reality.”

Annual CalFlowers Scholarship Recipients
The CalFlowers Scholarship is for undergraduate students attending an accredited California college or university or an undergraduate California resident attending an accredited college or university elsewhere in the U.S.

City College of San Francisco Student Is The Third Recipient of the CalFlowers Scholarship - 2020 

Nichole Davidson, (pictured left)a senior at City College of San Francisco, has been selected to receive the third annual CalFlowers Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded every year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a commitment to working in the floriculture industry.

Nichole Davidson, expects to graduate in December, with an associate degree in Nursery and Garden-Center Operation and Commercial Cut Flower and Greenhouse Production.  Following graduation, Davidson will seek a career in greenhouse and nursery management.

For the past two summers, Davidson has interned in Italy at Cascina Borgofrancone in Colico, and at Villa Boccanegra in Ventimiglia. She has served as a lab aide at the City College of San Francisco for three years. “My next step in education is to find and attend graduate school for ethnobotany. I am also writing a book on the edible and medicinal plants of the bay area and where to find them and how to grow them,” said Davidson. She plans for this to be the first of a series featuring various travel destinations.

Click here to see all of the AFE scholarship award winners.

California Polytechnic State University Senior Is The Second Recipient of the CalFlowers Scholarship - 2019

Helene Dondero, a senior at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), has been selected to receive the second annual CalFlowers Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded every year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a commitment to working in the floriculture industry.

Dondero is a senior at Cal Poly majoring in agricultural science with an emphasis in ornamental horticulture and a minor in agricultural business.  She grew up in the floral industry, working in her family’s business, Fiore Floral and Gifts, and participating in and leading numerous student and industry organizations at Cal Poly and with Future Farmers of America (FFA). She plans to return Cal Poly to complete a master’s degree in agricultural science after she graduates in the spring of 2020.

“My goal is to be an agricultural science teacher and FFA Advisor. I will be able to share my general knowledge of agriculture with my students, and the knowledge I’ve gained from my hands-on experience working in floral, wholesale, and growing operations,” said Dondero. “I feel that from this hands-on experience – and relationships I have built in the industry – I have a greater understanding of the vastness of the horticulture industry, and I look forward to sharing that with my students.”

San Francisco Horticulture Major Is First Recipient of New CalFlowers Scholarship - 2018 

A City College of San Francisco student has been selected to receive the first annual CalFlowers Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded every year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a commitment to working in the floriculture industry.

Roamie Thatcher, a San Francisco Botanical Gardens volunteer, private gardener, and community gardener, is the first to be awarded the $2000 scholarship.

“I have been gardening since I was seven years old, when I planted a fairy garden in my backyard. Next came raised beds and a community garden, and now I’m taking horticulture classes at City College of San Francisco and volunteering at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens,” said Roamie.

When asked about her future plans, Roamie replied, “I would like one day to own my own wholesale plant nursery that specializes in ancient and medicinal plants.”