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





2nd Vice President: Tony Ferrara  Coachella Valley DPN. Palm Desert, CA



Tony served 16 years on the Arroyo Grande, CA. city council and 12 years as the city’s elected mayor. Tony has held a number of municipal leadership positions including Board President of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, President of the San Luis Obispo Regional Transportation Agency, Board Chair of the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District Board, and the County’s Integrated Waste Management Board. More recently, Tony was also the President of the League of California Cities, an advocacy and lobbying organization representing all 482 cities in California. Tony’s passion is his 8-year involvement with Arroyo Grande in Bloom as both a volunteer and member of the AGIB Board. Arroyo Grande in Bloom is a 501(c)3 organization and is a multi-year, multi-category AIB award winner and proud member of the America In Bloom Circle of Champions. Tony is the founder and principal partner of Arroyo Consulting Group specializing in municipal project facilitation, strategic planning, and emergency management planning and training. 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. 



He serves on AIB's Symposium Committee and is also an AIB judge.



Chair: Governance Committee






  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





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 family business specializes in young plant production along with finished products which are sold both retail and wholesale. Bob’s has worked with many area 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 (now AmericanHort) from 2003-2011 including a term as president from 2007-2009.  

        
 
 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, 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



Bob Lund - Arroyo Grande, California

Bob Lund has served as Chairman and Executive Director of the Arroyo Grande Village Improvement Association for eighteen years. He also is President of Arroyo Grande in Bloom and has been its coordinator since inception of the program in 2006. Bob is the recipient of the AIB 2010 John R. Holmes III Community Champion Award. He was chosen as the Arroyo Grande Citizen of the Year in 2012. He is the past Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival where he also served on the Board for five years. He also now serves on the Board and as Treasurer for the Arroyo Grande Valley Harvest Festival, is a Board member of the Arroyo Grande Tourism Business Improvement District, is a Board member of Arroyo Grande Public Art and is a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Arroyo Grande East Branch Street Improvement Plan and the Arroyo Grande Bridge Street Replacement Project. Bob received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota and served as an auditor and management consultant with an international CPA firm.

Diana K. Weiner is the Horticulture Coordinator for Sullivan Renaissance, a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  The program provides communities in Sullivan County, NY with seed money for beautification projects.

For 16+ years she served as the Community Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County NY.  She then served as the Superintendent of Parks and Grounds for the Historic Hotel of America, Mohonk Mountain House.  Her career brought her to Meadowbrook Farm, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society where she created a volunteer program and managed their retail plant sales.  She also spent 3 years restoring an 11 acre native plant sanctuary in Elkins Park, PA.  Diana is a lecturer and consultant.  In addition to her love of gardening she enjoys hiking, cooking, antiques and music.

Diana is a member of the Garden Writers Association, The International Plant Propagators Society, the Perennial Plant Association and the American Horticultural Society.  She currently sits on the program committee of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County.

She has served as a judge for Sullivan Renaissance, county fairs and has judged for America in Bloom for 11 years, nationally and internationally.  

   


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.