The American Floral Endowment (AFE) announced that Jim Daly, VP of Floralife/Smithers-Oasis has been elected to serve a two-year term as AFE Chairman. His appointment began during the AFE Annual Fundraising Dinner in Palm Springs, CA. Jim replaces Dwight Larimer of Design Master color tool, inc. who served as Chairman for the past two years and will remain on the Board for two additional years as Past Chairman. 

Jim joined the AFE Board in 2012 and since that time has served on the AFE Research Committee. Most recently he has served as Chairman of the Research Committee.  

AFE also appointed four new industry members to its Board of Trustees. All will serve a three-year term and can be re-appointed for a second term. AFE Trustees are industry leaders who give their time and talent to help guide Endowment activities and programs benefitting the industry. All will also be appointed to a committee on either education, public relations and development, research, or the Floral Marketing Research Fund.

Mauricio Jaramillo is the President and CEO of Solé Farms in Miami, Florida. Jaramillo got his start in the fresh cut flower industry in Columbia, where he was born and raised. His career started after he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Columbia. 

He takes pride in the fact that Solé Farms provides career opportunities for not only its employees in the United States but also for its employees in Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Costa Rica. He says the company is “committed to growing and production methods that stress protecting the environment, worker safety, recycling and minimum pesticide use.” 

Bill Foster has been the President and CEO of BioWorks, Inc. in Victor, New York for over 20 years. His experience in the industry reaches up to 32 years, as he worked in various other positions with different floriculture companies prior to his current position.

Foster is a founding member of the Biological Products Industry Alliance. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Vineland Research and Innovation Center as well as on the board of the Association of Natural BioControl Producers. He is a proud sponsor of AFE’s scholarship programs and funds the “BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship” and the “William and Jane C Foster – BioWorks Research Support Fund” to pursue research in sustainable horticulture. 

Steve Frye has been in the floral industry for 40 years and currently serves as the Vice President of Basich and Skinner, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri. Baisch and Skinner, Inc. is a family-owned business that has been operating for 65 years. 

Frye has served on the Society of American Florists’ Board of Directors, Wholesale Council and Marketing Committee. He is a member of the Gateway Greening, where he serves on the Advisory Council. Frye is an expert in marketing, operations and greenhouse production.

Art VanWingerden is one of the co-CEOs of his family-run business, Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, North Carolina. VanWingerden has been a part of the floral industry his entire life, as his parents started Metrolina in 1972. 

VanWingerden, along with his three brothers, now owns and operates Metrolina Greenhouses. VanWingerden is responsible for production, growing, contract growing and labor. The company has been a recipient of Today, Metrolina Greenhouses have 7.5 million heated square feet and 7.5 million square feet of outdoor space.

Completing their term on the AFE Board in September are Gabriel Becerra, past AFE Chairman and FMRF Chairman, and Eric Levy of Hillcrest Gardens. AFE extends a HUGE thank you to both Gabriel and Eric for their time and efforts to help pave the future for the Endowment’s activities.

To see a complete list of AFE’s 20 Trustees, visit