Board & Committees

Interested in serving on the AIB board of directors? Learn more. 

America in Bloom is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. View the organization's bylaws.

Interested in serving on a committee? A list of standing committees and their members is at the end of this page. 

 
President: John Manchester, City of Lewisburg, West Virginia
John has been Mayor of Lewisburg, West Virginia since July 2003. His strengths include planning, communications and financial management.

Manchester holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a Master’s degree in education from West Virginia University.

He is a pragmatic environmentalist who has been named an Environmental Hero by the Wilderness Society and has received a public service award from the West Virginia Environmental Council. He is an advocate for creative downtown redevelopment through beautification, historic preservation, tourism and the arts. He was named West Virginia Mayor of the Year by the West Virginia Municipal League in 2012.

Manchester is past president of the West Virginia Municipal League and Carnegie Hall, Inc., current President of Region IV Planning and Development Council, and is on the advisory board of the West Virginia Preservation Alliance.

Chair: Executive Committee


Past President: Katy Moss Warner, President Emeritus, American Horticultural Society, Orlando, Florida

Katy Moss Warner is President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society (AHS), a national, non-profit, member-based organization with the vision of “making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.” Katy was Director of Disney's Horticulture and Environmental Initiatives at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, responsible for the landscapes of four theme parks, 15 resort properties and over 70 miles of roads on the 30,500-acre property. For 24 years - from 1976 to 2000 - she provided the leadership necessary to ensure that Disney's horticultural traditions of beautiful gardens and themed landscapes were sustained. Katy has traveled extensively and has hosted garden tours in Italy, England, Belgium, Czech Republic, Argentina, Morocco as well as many destinations within the US. Katy judges for America in Bloom and international competitions. She is a Longwood Fellow with Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware as well as a Loeb Fellow with the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 



Treasurer: Marvin Miller  Ball Horticultural Co. Chicago, IL

Marvin N. Miller is market research manager for Ball Horticultural Company, West Chicago, Illinois. Marvin has both a B.S. in horticulture and a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Food and Resource Economics, majoring in Agricultural Marketing, from the University of Florida. He has been with Ball since 1983. The focus of his research efforts involves the changing structure, conduct, and performance of the horticulture industry, with current emphasis on North American floriculture. He travels extensively, visiting both greenhouses and retail establishments, and frequently writes and speaks about trends affecting the industry. Marvin is also active in a number of industry organizations and currently serves on Boards for the Seeley Conference (Cornell University) and the American Floral Endowment. Marvin served as President of the Board of Directors of America in Bloom from 2005 until March, 2014. He also serves on committees for the Society of American Florists, AmericanHort, and other horticultural industry organizations and has served on several advisory committees for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a number of universities.

Chair: Finance & Audit Committee



1st Vice President: Leslie Pittenger  City of Belpre, OH

Although her “official” position is City Auditor for Belpre, her passion for the improvement of her area has inspired community volunteers. Belpre received the 2013 and 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award for Community Involvement sponsored by the American Horticultural Society under her leadership as local AIB committee chairwoman. As an active member of the Belpre Garden Club and Belpre High Schoool Greenhouse boosters, she works with local students to complete environmental and beautification projects. Currently serving her second term as Auditor, her department has received the Ohio Auditor of State Award for exemplary financial reporting the last three years. She has completed the Ohio Tree Commission Academy course and has her Commercial Applicator license for pesticides through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Leslie is the co-editor of the Best Ideas annual edition in 2014 and 2015. She serves on the board of directors for the Belpre Alumnae Association and the Belpre Area Community Development Foundation. She graduated from the University of Georgia, and was a business owner for 10 years. Leslie believes in – and has experienced - the value of AIB for the benefits it can bring to the well-being and pride of small towns across America.

Chair: Nominations Committee, National Awards Program Committee and Judge Coordinator


  Secretary: Jack Clasen, Raleigh, NC
Jack Clasen earned a PhD in Community Health from Indiana University in 1977. He brings a varied background to America In Bloom as a college professor, business owner, community volunteer, and accomplished gardener. As a Master Gardener he co-founded of the local beautification committee in his Ohio suburb. He also served as a member of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, Tree Committee, and founded the annual “Art in the Garden” tour. He chaired the town’s participation in America In Bloom in 2005 & 2006. 

Jack has been a judge with America In Bloom since 2002, having judged over 85 communities in four countries. Jack served as AIB Judge Coordinator and National Awards Committee Chair from 2009 to 2017. 

Chair: Growing Vibrant Communities

Tony Abruscato, Flower Show Productions, Chicago, Illinois
Affectionately called "Mr. Green Chicago" by his friends and supporters, Tony Abruscato's broad experience in marketing, finance, promotions, sponsorship, and executive management converge under his leadership as president of Chicago-based Flower Show Productions, Inc. The company produces the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show and manages the non-profit Chicago Gateway Green. Abruscato's mission to inspire a greener Chicago and generations of new and experienced gardeners comes from his personal passion to create livable, sustainable communities that enhance lives and neighborhoods. In 2011, Abruscato acquired the Chicago Flower & Garden Show and became owner and president of its parent company, Flower Show Productions. Since then and through his mantra to "Inspire. Educate. Motivate.", he has built on the legacy of the iconic event to create a flourishing, urban-style flower and garden show that welcomes spring in Chicago and draws waves of new attendees each year.

Chair: Awards Selection Committee


 
 Linda Cromer has served her community, Greendale, Indiana, in a variety of political positions including Planning Commissioner, Chairperson of the Park Board and Tree Board, and Housing Authority Commissioner. She sits on the Executive Boards and plays an active role in the efforts of several national and state non-profit organizations dedicated to social justice and environmental issues.

Linda, who received a fine arts education at the University of Kansas, learned to love gardening at her grandmother’s knee. Owner and operator of a floral shop and greenhouse for over a decade, she has spent the bulk of her professional life traveling as an international representative for a labor organization, and has used those travel opportunities to audit design and horticulture classes at a number of universities, and to study the diversity and individuality of public gardens and the communities where they are located. Linda is past president and active member of the local Garden Club and spearheaded her community’s first participation in the America in Bloom Program in 2005.

Chair: External Relations Committee

  Mason Day is co-founder of Grow It! the social gardening application designed to inspire current and future gardeners. Using his knowledge of Generation Y, social media, and marketing he launched GrowIt! Mason is working to change the way people connect with the plants around them. In addition to his GrowIt! responsibilities, Mason actively writes and speaks with businesses and organizations on topics related to priming their business for future success with new generations. He also is actively involved in industry organizations, and willingly shares his knowledge. Along with being an America in Bloom board member, Mason currently is involved with AmericanHort, Garden Writers of America, and the Seed Your Future program.

 

Marshall Dirks is director of marketing and public relations for Proven Winners, Dirks combines his 20+ years of horticultural experience and marketing skills to create awareness of the Proven Winners brand, including developing and maintaining a consistent, recognizable image for Proven Winners. Marshall manages Proven Winners’ consumer advertising, trade collateral and marketing materials, the consumer and industry websites in addition to social media platforms and Proven Winners’ national public relations efforts. Prior to joining Proven Winners in February 2000, Dirks worked as product manager for Ball Seed Company where he was responsible for handling multiple lines of vegetative product, including Proven Winners. He gained hands-on nursery experience by working as a greenhouse/nursery assistant while pursuing a bachelor of science in management from Northern Illinois University.

Linda Hart, Holland Visitors Bureau, Holland, MI.

Linda is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Holland Visitors Bureau. Tourism is a prominent economic factor for Holland and Holland in Bloom, and its efforts have complimented the community. Linda’s experience in tourism is an asset to AIB as it promotes the importance of garden tourism. In 2015, Holland was honored to host the AIB National Symposium, and Linda served as the local lead, working closely with America in Bloom and also contributors/partners in Holland. Linda’s leadership helped to contribute to a successful symposium for participants, America in Bloom, and Holland. 

Chair: Symposium Committee





Walter Heath - Morro Bay, CA 

Walter is a retired biochemist who developed fermentation and protein-purification processes for the industry. His interest in gardens and horticulture developed in his grandparents’ greenhouse as a child. Walter is the co-founder and president of Morro Bay in Bloom. Walter feels the community-building potential of the AIB volunteer model is considerable and participating in the program has raised awareness of the importance of our city’s economic development of creating welcoming public space. 

Chair: Fundraising Committee


Lori Kelly, Bob's Market & Greenhouses, Mason, WV

Lori Kelly is the plug production supervisor and a garden center retail manager for Bob’s Market and Greenhouses Inc. in Mason West Virginia. Lori has 26 years of experience in retail sales and supervises the production of 150 million plugs annually. Lori has been with Bob’s Market since 1993. Lori also is the project coordinator for contracted plantings for 13 cities throughout the Ohio River Valley. Lori also serves on various community committees including Gallipolis in Lights. An organization formed from the success of Gallipolis in Bloom to continue beautifying Gallipolis Ohio throughout the holiday season. In 2018 Gallipolis, Ohio was listed as one of the top 10 destinations for holiday lights in the state. Lori has served as both a member and officer to the Gallipolis in Bloom board. Gallipolis in Bloom has been fortunate to have won numerous awards since 2006. Including population, floral display, overall impression and circle of champion’s awards. Lori has been involved with the beautification efforts of the city of Gallipolis for the past 16 years.


Stephen Pategas is an award-winning landscape architect, garden writer, garden photographer, and plant geek in Winter Park, FL. He and his wife Kristin are owners of Hortus Oasis, a boutique landscape architecture company and authors of the book Southern Coastal Home Landscaping and gardening columns for local magazines.

Their historic 1925 home and garden have been featured on numerous garden tours, in magazines and on television including Growing a Greener World by Joe Lamp’l.

Stephen currently serves as an AIB judge, on the City of Winter Park's Keep Winter Park Beautiful & Sustainable Board and with it founded Winter Park Blooms. Winter Park has participated in the AIB National Awards Program since 2013. Previously he served on numerous Winter Park boards including the Tree Preservation Board, the Parks and Recreation Board, Environmental Review Board, and Casa Feliz Historic Home & Museum Board. His travels have taken him to hundreds of gardens in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Stephen's favorite gardens to design are those that touch people's lives.

Karin Rindal, Centreville, VA

Karin Rindal’s wide ranging business career in manufacturing and government includes time involved in international trade program evaluation and training in Total Quality Management (TQM) and Malcolm Baldridge Criteria for Performance Excellence. In 2004 Karin discovered the New Jersey Master Gardener program. She was appointed to the Board of Directors at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, NJ, where she organized annual plant sales and coordinated activities of volunteer committees including donations, raffle, and publicity and print materials.

Karin has won awards at the New Jersey Home and Garden Show for container design and for horticultural entries at the Newport, RI Flower Show. For two years she wrote a regular weekly garden column for the Millburn/Short Hills Patch. Since 2005 she has taught gardening and cooking classes to adults and children. After a trip to Germany to do on-site research and photography, her most recent lecture involves the herbs and gardens of medieval cleric, Hildegard Von Bingen.

Karin currently volunteers at the US Botanic Garden where she has assisted with a broad variety of educational events, including presenting a class on sustainable container gardening. Through her work at the Botanic Garden on the Sustainable Sites InitiativeTM (SITES) she completed the requirements for the New Jersey Environmental Stewardship program.


Dorothy Skowrunski, Coshocton, Ohio
An Ohio native, Ms. Skowrunski has been involved with America in Bloom (AIB) since 2009.
She was a driving force to help lead her community’s involvement in the AIB program believing Coshocton would benefit greatly from the AIB vision. She is an active member of the Coshocton in Bloom, Clary Gardens, and Pomerene Center for the Arts Boards.

For 7 years Ms. Skowrunski was the Executive Director of the Coshocton Port Authority. As an experienced economic development professional, she brought a rich background of education, information technology, workforce development, and manufacturing experience to the Port Authority. She has a proven track record in Coshocton County, as well as the surrounding Central Ohio area, winning several awards and recognitions for her outstanding efforts.

Prior to the Port Authority, she was the Central Ohio Technical College Coshocton Campus Administrator for over 6 years. She oversaw a rapidly growing college campus that has become a pillar of the community, giving the rural student population access to higher education opportunities. She led incredible campus growth from a storefront facility with an expectation of 35 students to a state-of-the-art facility housing over 500 students in 3 years.

Ms. Skowrunski has served on numerous community boards, including the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) – Treasurer, Eastern Ohio Development Association (EODA) Secretary, Ohio Port Council, Coshocton CARES, Community Development Council, Killbuck Watershed Land Trust, Coshocton/Heritage Ohio Downtown Development/Revitalization, Coshocton Tree Commission, Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, Central Ohio Technical College Business Program Advisory Committee, AFS Intercultural Programs, and is an active Rotary member. Ms. Skowrunski has a great passion for gardening and became a Master Gardener in 1994.

  Rick Webb, Webb Perennials, Logan, Ohio

Rick Webb, owner of Webb Perennials in Logan, Ohio, has been active in his community for many years. In addition to serving as the chair of the Logan in Bloom committee for more than 15 years, he is active on the Logan Tree Committee; Hocking Valley Community Hospital; Hocking Hills Chamber of Commerce; Hocking Metropolitan House; and “Logan Up,” a local strategic planning committee. He is part president and/or advisor to the Hocking Hills tourism Association and Logan Town Center. Rick is a graduate of The Ohio State University.



Laura Kunkle - AIB Executive Director; Columbus, OH



Laura is the President & CEO of Second Wind Management, LLC, an association management company based on Columbus, Ohio. Laura has served as America in Bloom's Executive Director since the organizations' founding. She holds a degree in Mass Communications from Miami University and has more than 20 years of association management experience. 
 Special Advisors  




Joe Lamp'l - Growing a Greener World. 



Joe is Host and Executive Producer (and creator) of Growing a Greener World®, currently in its 5th season and seen on public television stations across America. When not filming from his own scenic North Georgia farm and garden, the series travels the country to tell the stories of people and places doing great things for the planet through organic gardening, green living, and farm to table cooking. In addition, he is a contributing guest expert on shows such as The Today Show, Good Morning America and The Weather Channel.


  Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Charlie Hall received his B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee, and a Master’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Tennessee. He obtained his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in 1988 and began his academic career at Texas A&M University in 1988, where he spent 13 years on the faculty before joining the faculty at the University of Tennessee in 2002. In August 2007, Dr. Hall returned to Texas A&M University as Professor and Ellison Chair in International Floriculture. Dr. Hall’s expertise in the production and marketing of Green Industry crops is nationally recognized in academia and among the horticultural clientele he serves. His major research, teaching, and extension areas of specialization include strategic management, market situation/outlook, cost accounting, and financial analysis for Green Industry firms. He is an invited speaker at numerous regional, national, and international meetings of various industry-related associations and organizations. 



   




Peter Kageyama is an internationally recognized expert on community development and grassroots engagement. He is the author of "For the Love of Cities" and "Love Where You Live". He speaks all over the world about bottom-up community development and the amazing people who are making change happen.  

  Delilah Onofrey has been with America in Bloom since its inception, when she used her platform as editor of Greenhouse Grower magazine to rally the floriculture industry to invest in launching AIB as a community revitalization and beautification program. In addition to being an AIB founder and past board member, she chaired AIB's Awards Selection Committee and helps out with projects and as an ambassador. Delilah started out in community journalism as a reporter for the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier after earning her bachelor's of arts in journalism at Kent State University. Engaging with the cities for AIB then inspired her to complete her master's in urban planning at Cleveland State University. Delilah now represents Suntory Flowers in North America and focuses on turning up the flower power! She has never missed an AIB awards symposium and looks forward to this annual reunion of kindred spirits.

   
Ron Pierre has been part of the horticultural industry for almost 40 years, and was one of the early founders of the concept, formation, and incorporation of America in Bloom, Ron has multifaceted experience in all sectors of the business. His various roles in founding, managing, and subsequently serving on the board of directors of companies and organizations focused upon retail marketing, wholesale production and sales, broker/distributor supply chain, greenhouse automation, and nonprofit service, give him unique perspectives into the complexity, interdependence, and diversity of our wonderful industry.