About AIB

Mission History What Participants Experience Governance Annual Reports

Our Mission

America in Bloom envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play - benefitting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism.

America in Bloom promotes nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

America in Bloom is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and contributions to AIB are tax deductible.


Founded in 2001, America in Bloom is modeled after proven, successful programs in Europe and Canada. We offer a national awards program for cities, towns, townships, college and university campuses, business districts, military installations and identified sections of large cities. The program provides a framework for improving the overall quality of life - it is a community building program that engages people of all ages and demographics. It is the only program of its kind that provides on-site, one-on-one mentoring and coaching by a team of expert judges who provide a detailed, written evaluation.

Since our founding, more than 230 cities in 45 states have participated.

We also offer online, on-demand free webinars on a variety of topics and an annual educational symposium in a different city each year.

Participants Experience

Participants experience better cooperation among municipal, commercial and residential sectors because everyone works toward a common goal. They enjoy visible results. Via the national symposium and awards, they have information and cultural exchanges with neighboring, national and international communities.

As one mayor said, "We first thought it was about flowers. But it is about seeing our community and our residents bloom in so many ways."

To participate, a registration fee must be submitted by February 28. The fee depends on the entrants' population or type of entity (i.e., business district, etc.).


America in Bloom is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

  President: Charlie Hall, Ph.D. Texas A&M University; College Station, Texas

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. 

  Vice 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. 
  Secretary/Treasurer: Michael V. Geary, CAE.; Columbus, Ohio

Michael V. Geary, is serving concurrently as the Chief Executive Officer of OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals and as the Executive Vice President of the American Nursery & Landscape Association. He is leading the proposed consolidation of the two national organizations, which is planned for 2014. The associations represent the interests of greenhouse and nursery growers, independent garden centers, florists, interior plantscapers, green industry suppliers, students, and educators. Michael has more than twenty years of association management and organizational development experience. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives. 

Past President: Marvin Miller; 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), OFA…the Association of Horticulture Professionals 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, OFA 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-External Relations committee: Evelyn Alemanni, ALLEA, Elfin Forest, California

Evelyn is a self-employed writer and award winning gardener. She has judged for the America in Bloom program since 2003 and also serves as an international judge for the Canadian Communities in Bloom program and for the international LivCom Awards. She has judged more than 120 towns in nine countries.She is the author of AIB's "Best Ideas" book series (donating the rights to AIB), and has recently released an eight-volume series of books on floral design. 

In 2001, Good Morning America named Evelyn’s garden one of the five best in the U.S.  Her garden has received other numerous national awards and has been featured in some of America's top consumer magazines.  She has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and her garden writing has been featured in many national and international publications.

  Chair - Contest Committee and Judge Coordinator: Jack Clasen, Raleigh, NC

AIB judge since 2002.  A small business owner with a passion for gardening, Jack became a Master Gardener and co-founded and chaired the local Beautification Committee while also serving on the Library Board, Tree Committee, and Comprehensive Plan Committee.  Jack’s town participated in AIB for two years.

Bobby Barnitz - Bob's Market & Greenhouses; Mason, West Virginia.  Bobby Barnitz is vice-president and part owner of Bob’s Market & Greenhouses, Inc. in Mason, West Virginia. This is a family business that specializes in young plant production along with finished products which are sold both retail and wholesale.  Bob’s has worked with many local communities by providing plant material and technical advice in support of their involvement and participation in the America In Bloom program.

Bobby served on the Board of Directors at OFA from 2003-2011 including a term as president from 2007-2009.   
Kurt Becker is Executive Vice President at the Dramm Corporation. He has spent the past 20 years working with horticultural professionals and commercial growers throughout the world on irrigation, chemical application, environmental control, and water treatment issues. Dramm produces high quality products for both professional growers and for consumers alike. Kurt served on the Board of Directors for OFA (now AmericanHort) from 1999-2002.

  Tony Ferrara - Mayor, Arroyo Grande, California

Tony has been Mayor of Arroyo Grande since 2002 and currently holds this office.  He is the City Liaison and Board Member of Arroyo Grande In Bloom, a 501(c)3, since its inception in 2005. Tony serves on the board of directors of the League of California Cities, on the Executive Committee as First Vice-President.  He will assume the duties of President of the League of California Cities in 2015. Tony is retired from a 42-year career in law enforcement and emergency management training and planning at the county and state level. In 2006, Tony founded Arroyo Consulting Group and as the principal partner, specialized in Energy Contingency Planning.  Tony also proudly served in the Army Reserves for 12 years as a military policeman and helicopter pilot.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.  He is a lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi Scholastic Honor Society.

  Lela Kelly is Vice President and co-owner of Dosatron International. Lela is Dosatron International’s top horticulture expert, as well as the lead sales person for the horticulture market. Prior to joining Dosatron in the early 90s, Lela spent over 20 years in the horticulture field, first as co-owner of a greenhouse and garden center operation in Long Island, NY, and then as a salesperson and distributor of horticulture supplies in the New York-tri-state area.

Lela is a graduate of the Owner President Manager Program at Harvard Business School, and is a Harvard Alumni. Lela has trained with the Dale Carnegie company in Sales Training. In addition to her work giving back to the horticulture community by serving on numerous boards, Lela is committed to service within the Tampa Bay community; she is involved with the Sargent Allen Moore Shelter for Battered Women, HEP Homeless Emergency Project and the U PARC Hire the Handicapped program.

Lela lives with her husband and business partner Eddy Kelly in Palm Harbor, Florida.
  Edith Makra - Metropolitan Mayors' Caucus; Chicago, IL

Edith Makra works as the Director of Environmental Initiatives for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a forum through which mayors of the Chicago region cooperatively develop consensus on common public policy issues and multi-jurisdictional challenges.  Previously, she built 3 successful programs that catalyzed support for trees to improve the quality of life in communities:  the NeighborWoods program for Openlands, GreenStreets for Mayor Daley and the Community Trees Program for the Morton Arboretum.  She led emerald ash borer readiness planning in Illinois and developed a grant program to award $2.4 million to communities to manage EAB.  She earned a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Illinois and is a Certified Arborist.

  Stan Pohmer - Pohmer Consulting; Minnetonka, MN

Stan Pohmer is a consultant focusing on the Horticulture, Floral, Lawn & Garden, and other perishable and seasonal industries, working with the entire demand chain (breeders, growers, manufacturers, importers, wholesalers/distributors/dealers and retailers) to increase consumer consumption and sell-through, increase operating efficiencies, and to strategize, position and market programs for maximum effectiveness and profit.

He has served in leadership positions in organizations such as the Produce Marketing Association, the Floral Marketing Association, the American Nursery & Landscape Association, OFA-The Association of Horticulture Professionals. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Ellison Chair of International Floriculture at Texas A&M University. The Produce Marketing Association honored him as the Floral Marketer of the Year in 2005 and the Michigan Floral Association with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. And for his industry contributions, he had a lily named after him, ‘Lillium Stan Pohmer’, in 2011.

He sits on the ANSI/Leonardo Academy Standards Committee, an initiative to develop a National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture.

Stan has shared his experience and insights nationally and internationally in seminars and presentations, and has written extensively and contributed numerous articles and papers to industry trade publications and journals.
  Laura Kunkle - AIB Executive Director; Columbus, OH

Laura is the Director of Communications & Marketing for AmericanHort, a national trade association serving the horticulture industry (not to be confused with the American Horticultural Society). She holds a degree in Mass Communications from Miami University and has more than 15 years’ association management experience. Laura has served as the volunteer executive director of America in Bloom since 2001.

OFA is a founding sponsor of the America in Bloom national awards program and provides staffing and a physical "home" for AIB.

Annual Reports

2012 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report

2010 Annual Report

2009 Annual Report

2008 Annual Report