The 2014 Montana Florist Association Convention will be held in Billings, MT from Oct. 10th-12th, 2014. As Convention host, I have secured the Crowne Plaza as our location for this year's event. The Crowne Plaza is located in downtown Billings. If time allows, this area has a lot to offer. It is surrounded by a wide variety of local bars and restaurants. In addition, there are several boutiques within walking distance of the hotel. In the next few months I will be focusing on obtaining sponsorship for both business and design speakers. My hope for this convention is to possibly offer a few more learning sessions in order to truly maximize your experience. As always, the goal is to make sure that each and every attendee believes that the trip to convention is a worthwhile experience. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to welcoming to Billings in October.
-Kristen Graves, Convention Host/2012 Past President
CEO/Ambassador California Cut Flower Commission
A proven and dedicated leader, Kasey Cronquist joined the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) with solid organizational leadership experience. Prior to coming on board with the CCFC, Kasey served as president and chief executive officer of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce. While at the Chamber, Kasey worked with several California cut flower farmers and became acquainted with the unique and diverse needs of the industry.
Since joining CCFC in October 2007, Kasey has spearheaded an aggressive public affairs program targeting lawmakers in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Additionally, he led a historic grower/exporter relations tour to Colombia, allowing farmers to experience the production dynamics of California’s largest overseas competitor. Additionally, he has been recognized as a leading voice for the American Grown Movement for flowers, encouraging buyers, retailers and consumers to source more locally grown blooms from domestic flower farmers.
In addition to ongoing governmental affairs outreach, Kasey has worked closely with the CCFC marketing and promotion committee to develop a strategic three-year plan for public relations on behalf of the California cut flower farmers while firmly establishing the “CA Grown” brand to help increase sales and attention of California Grown Flowers as America’s best source for high quality and the most sustainably grown cut flowers.
Kasey is currently active on several boards and within multiple organizations, including the Buy California Marketing Agreement where he serves as chair, a regent for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management, a director of the board for the Agriculture President’s Council of California, the California Department of Food and Agriculture Marketing and Enforcement Advisory Board, the California Department of Food and Agriculture Nursery Advisory Board. Previously, he served as Treasurer of the California State Floral Association, director of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Legislative Alliance. Kasey is also a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management (IOM). In 2007, he was selected as a prestigious Santa Barbara Foundation’s Katherine Harvey Fellow and in 2009 selected as one of 40 young industry leaders in the Produce Business ‘40 under Forty’ award program.
Hailing from an agricultural community in western Washington and passionate about his old red Chevy, Kasey earned a degree in communications studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara. He currently resides in Sacramento with his wife, Tarah and their three kids, Kaden, Shyla and Lance.
- Tom Simmons AIFD | CFD | CCF
Three Bunch Palms Productions, LLC
Palm Springs, California
Tom Simmons AIFD, CFD, CCF has been active in the floral industry for over 34 years and has assisted Teleflora’s Industry Relations and Product Development departments with new product research. He is a past president of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and is the Symposium Coordinator for the 2013 AIFD National Symposium, “Passion,” in Las Vegas. He also serves as a member and former director for the California State Floral Association and a member of the Greater Palm springs Wedding Association. His work has been featured in numerous publications in the United States, as well as Canada, including several covers and feature articles in Flowers& magazine, Brides magazine, People magazine and Los Angeles Magazine.
Tom delights in creating different and unique designs, always trying new ideas and innovative techniques. He has extensive and broad-based experience in the floral industry, blending strengths in platform design, instruction, teaching skills, buying and selling techniques, floral operations and management, and a wealth of marketing knowledge.
One of California’s leading floral design professionals, Tom is owner of THREE BUNCH PALMS PRODUCTIONS, an event and design company in Palm Springs, California. He is a member of Teleflora’s prestigious team of Education Specialists.
Larry Kramer is a true stand out in the flower business! He comes to us with over 30 years of experience in the world of plants/flowers/and all things GREEN!
Larry is a native Montanan. His love of flowers came from enjoying, and working in his grandfather’s flower garden in Missoula as a little boy. He took that appreciation of beautiful flowers and taught himself all aspects of floral design. He has enjoyed working in the floral design industry for the past 25 years. He has been involved in the Montana Floral Association for 20 years. His induction as a member of AIFD 12 years ago will always be his proudest achievement in this industry.
Larry has enjoyed some real noteworthy press over his career. He was on the team that designed for the Academy Awards for 5 years. He also spent 5 years working with the team that designed for the Rose Parade. Larry is most proud of the work he did on the floral design for Bush’s 2nd inauguration.
Larry was recruited to serve on the faculty at Western Kentucky’s Bowling Green campus, where he proudly taught floral design for 2 years. His path then led to the prestigious role as the lead designer at Botanica International in Tampa. He honed his skills and developed and even bigger love of design while traveling those parts of the country.
Larry is very excited to be back in Montana. When he is not designing at his beautiful shop in Big Sky Montana you can catch him Fly Fishing, camping, snowmobiling, skiing, cooking, and simply enjoy the view of the beauty that surrounds him.
2014 Convention Agenda*
*subject to changes
Fri Oct. 10th
2p Pre convention MFA Board meeting
5-8p Vendor setup
4-5p MFA registration table open
5-7p Meet and Greet at Gainan's
7-10p Dinner with friends...enjoy a night out in Downtown Billings
8-11p MFA Hospitality Room open
Sat Oct. 11th
8a-9:30a MFA annual meeting-everyone welcome
8a-5p Design Contest check in
9a-5p MFA registration table open, MFA Bookstore open
9a-5p Vendor Shops open
10a-12p Hands on Workshop with Larry Kramer, AIFD
2p-3:30p Business Speaker Seminar with Kasey Cronquist, CCFC
2p-2:45p Plant Demonstration with Mick Gainan
4p-4:30p Easy tips for Flowers to Wear... Demostration by Lion Ribbon and MFA Board Members
4:30-5:30p Design your own Flowers to Wear sponsored by Lion Ribbon
6-7p No host cocktails in Hotel Bar
7-8p President's Dinner/Wheel of Fortune
Sun Oct. 12th
8a-9a MFA registration table open, MFA Bookstore Open
8a-9a Design Contest check in
8a-4p Vendor Shops open
9:30-11:30a Design Show with Tom Simmons, AIFD
11:30-1p Lunch with presentation by Mark Cross
of Pioneer Balloons
1p-2:30p Resume Design Show with Tom Simmons, AIFD
2:45p-3p Announcements by incoming MFA President, Nicki Anderson
Design Contest winners announced, AIFD Raffle Winner Announced, 2015 Convention Announced
3p-3:30p Auction off flowers and designs
4p Convention closes