Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Columbian Cut Flower Industry Loses Leader

Bogotá, March 23rd, 2010. Asocolflores, its Board of Directors, member companies and employees deeply mourn the passing of Ernesto Velez, who served as the president of Asocolflores’ Board of Directors for the past seven years. Ernesto was known not only for the invaluable support he gave to Colombian floriculture in the areas of social responsibility and implementing environmentally friendly practices, but also for his drive, his business vision and the strength to endure through the toughest of times.

Ernesto Velez was also prominent for assuming the role of representing Colombian floriculture in a variety of national and international arenas. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of American Florists (SAF), the American Floral Endowment (AFE), the Flower Promotion Organization (FPO), and the Colombian Society of Farmers (SAC), just to mention a few.

Last year at Proflora 2009, the “Life and Endeavors of a Flower Grower” distinction was bestowed upon Ernesto and his wife Lucie de Velez for being an exemplary floriculturist; the prototypical affiliate all trade associations would like to be able to count on - a true role model for current and future generations. This past January 2010, he was also awarded the IFAS Scholar Award from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences during the Asocolflores Board of Directors meeting for being an outstanding alumnus. Terril Nell, professor and president of the University of Florida’s Environmental Horticulture Department, granted the award.

A graduate of the University of California-Davis with a BS in Agronomy and a post-graduate degree from the University of Florida in Farm Agriculture, Ernesto Velez has held many board of director positions over the past ten years with both US and Colombian farming entities. He also served as a consultant for the World Bank and the Inter-American Bank on farming development projects in Brazil, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic. Together with his wife Lucie de Velez in 1980, he founded the Suasuque S.A. company and was its manager for 30 years.

“Ernesto’s passing represents an irreparable loss, not only for his family, but also for Asocolflores and Colombian floriculture. Ernesto dedicated most of his time to Asocolflores, being proactive by fueling ideas and putting forth proposals. He represented Asocolflores with great dignity at both national and international levels”, said Augusto Solano, President of Asocolflores.

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