President’s Message

Hello from the Pacific Northwest!

As we ring in a new year, I would like to express gratitude to Frank Blanchard AIFD, CFD, PFCI for his service throughout his time on the Northwest Chapter Board as he graciously steps down from his role. Sometimes life takes unexpected turns and we must suddenly pivot. I respectfully support his decision as I move into the role of President for the rest of his year leading into my official 2023-2024 term.

I am delighted to preside over a Board of wonderfully dedicated and supportive members, some returning into service, others continuing to move up the ranks, along with some newly inducted talents as well.

I would like to take a moment to personally acknowledge our newest members to earn accreditation from the PFDE testing in Las Vegas last summer, as well as others who have earned their CFD so far. Congratulations:

Aaron Smith CFD – Boise, ID
Beverly Luedtke CFD – Ronan Lake, MT
Jesus Rivera CFD – Modesto, CA
Masami Macphee CFD – Sammamish, WA
Robbyn Repp CFD – North Bend, OR
Rebecca Raymond CFD – Vashon Island, WA
Rona Hullen CFD – Discovery Bay, CA
Shauna Grobowsky CFD – Kelowna, BC

And earning their full AIFD level accreditation, to be inducted as members this July in Chicago are:

Jody Kennedy CFD – Anchorage AK
Georgia White CFD – Boise ID

On behalf of the Northwest Chapter, we all welcome you to our AIFD family and hope to connect with you in various ways to build our community of passionate industry leaders!

Some of our seasoned Northwest members have had some collaborative projects recently: Hitomi Gilliam AIFD up on the West Coast north of our border leads what has become an annual holiday experience with the Burnaby City Winter Lights Festival. This year she and fellow NW AIFD members Brenna Quan AIFD, Aniko Kovacs AIFD & Yukari Mitsui AIFD decorated animal-shaped eco-sculptures such as 9-foot tall owls, whimsical carousel horses and expressive red pandas with a multitude of foliages and natural materials to bring free and festive botanical art to the local city dwellers.

The 2023 Rose Parade included a handful of our talented NW Chapter designers who worked on award-winning floats: Shamay Andrich AIFD, Skylar Wyman CFD, Linda Marshall Robbins AIFD, Bertha Canedo AIFD, Susan Ishkanian AIFD, Mike Hollenbeck AIFD & Poppy Parsons AIFD EMC. (Sorry if I missed anyone!) But speaking of Poppy, our current Chapter Vice-President recently earned her European Master Certification after her intense final testing in Bruges, Belgium inspiring us with her dedication to learning and growth as a designer, artist and educator – a BIG congratulations to her!

The recent “Battle of the Blooms” design competition, hosted by Mayesh Wholesale had some NW representation at the Seattle instalment: Gina Thresher AIFD EMC of From the Ground Up Floral & Betty Walton AIFD of Daisy and Wish Flowers, who was the winner of the group of contestants there!

We have a few Spring Wedding design programs coming up as well! Up in Burnaby, B.C. at United Floral Inc in early March will be Brenna Quan AIFD & Rebecca Raymond CFD EMC providing inspiration for the upcoming wedding season. Also, look for United’s Creative Wednesday Workshop Series which features the two designers just mentioned as well as Hitomi Gilliam AIFD, Susanne Law AIFD EMC, Yukari Mitsui AIFD EMC, Alexis McLeod AIFD, Deborah Lee James AIFD, a strong Canadian education team!

Also in March, Boise ID treats us to the “Boise in Bloom” Wedding Design Show hosted by Teleflora, featuring educator extraordinaire Tim Farrell AIFD AAF PFCI at Washington Floral Wholesale spearheaded by Mike Hollenbeck AIFD. This is a 2-day seminar that we hope many will attend, as we have a handful of NW AIFD members providing educational demonstration segments also!

Keep an eye out for a fundraiser of seed packet sales, in which the purchases will also offer the chance to win a Chicago GROW Symposium Registration prize! So, some wonderful things going on over in our corner… all the best to everyone for a successful Valentine’s holiday this year!

Brenna Quan AIFD, CFD
NW Chapter President 2022-2023


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