It seems just the other day we were putting together the first issue of this 20th Anniversary year, and now we’re already wrapping up the last. Our celebration at the Portland Conference was a perfect way to commemorate the ASCFG’s first twenty years.
    
Congratulations to H. Mike Mellano (Mike Sr.) who received the rare honor of the Allan Armitage Leadership Award in Portland, and the next week was inducted into the SAF’s Hall of Fame. Mike’s contributions to the American floral industry are long-term and wide-ranging. In a neat bit of surprise symmetry, Mike’s son Michael Matthew (regular Mike) was given the ASCFG’s Outstanding Service Award for his role in the creation of the Bulletin Board. This member benefit is probably the ASCFG’s most popular, but it didn’t just fall out of the sky into our laps. Mike realized in 2001 that the existing list serve wasn’t meeting our needs; it was too time-consuming, it wasn’t organized well, and worse, it was not archivable. The current Bulletin Board has almost 10,000 stored posts, and is referred to endlessly. Mike will deserve our thanks for many years.
    
The Conference would not have been possible without the efforts of a united and dedicated Committee, who outdid themselves to be sure attendees would be welcome in the Northwest. Outstanding sessions, fabulous hospitality, a moonlit cruise on the Columbia River—all against the backdrop of Mt. Hood, the Oregon coast, or the scenic dairy country of Tillamook. Not a bad way to spend a few days in September. Thank you to Ray Gray, Bernadette Hammelman, Lane Greer, Pat Zweifel, Gay Smith, Kurt Mizée, Janet Foss, Jeriann Sabin and Deke Tietze.
    
The meeting was as much a reunion as an educational event. It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends Will Fulton, Diane Sanders, Paul Sansone and Alison Kutz-Troutman. Linda put together a slide show of photos from past meetings for the sternwheeler trip, and viewers had fun pointing out younger versions of themselves at Orlando or Vancouver. ASCFG co-founder Allan Armitage’s sentimental keynote reminded us why the ASCFG came into existence twenty years ago.
    
But now it’s time to put the celebrating and reminiscing behind, and to decide what we’re going to do with the next 20 years. We are fortunate to have a stable membership, solid finances, and adequate management facilities (we could always use another laptop).  Linda Twining’s acute business sense melds perfectly with her artistic abilities, giving us the best two-member association staff in the country. We have input from academics like John Dole and Chris Wien, and industry suppliers like Jeannine Bogard, Ko Klaver and Gay Smith, all of whom freely and frequently contribute their expertise.  Best of all, we have an endless supply of innovative members, who so generously serve on the Board, host meetings, write for the Quarterly, post on the Bulletin Board and keep this organization moving.
    
What’s the best way to optimize this pool of talent? How can we pull all our resources together to produce the most effective member programs, new benefits, and popular services?
    
The Board of Directors has identified as a goal some strategic planning regarding the ASCFG’s future. Brenda and Vicki talk about the membership survey in their Regional Reports. Please find this document in Members Only, or call the office for a copy. Give the questions some serious thought, and return the page to the ASCFG office.  What do you want the ASCFG to do for you in the next 20 years? And how can you help us make it possible?