“The Most Respected Voice in Flowers,” “THE Flower Expert,” “The Fun with Flowers Guy,” “Educator,” “Mentor,” “Encourager,” “Flower Advocate,” “Trail blazer” or “Friend;” No matter HOW you know J Schwanke or where you have connected with him – his influence reaches far and wide and there is NO ONE like him in the floral industry. J’s enthusiasm, energy, integrity, tireless advocacy, and LOVE of flowers has thoroughly inspired us and greatly benefited the floral world again and again. His life is a legacy of an extraordinary love affair with flowers…and the effects of this beautiful romance leave us all better florists, designers, gardeners, and lovers of flowers.
So, it was no surprise that J became SAF’s 2010 recipient of the Tommy Bright Lifetime Achievement Award during it’s convention recently in Orlando, FL. J comes from a long line of floral professionals (he’s a fourth generation florist) and his mom was awarded the Tommy Bright in 2003…so he’s a second generation award winner! J and his family have labored long and hard on behalf of the floral industry and this high honor by SAF was further proof and recognition of his unwavering commitment and exceptional contributions to our industry. J’s family was there to witness the exciting presentation…his Dad, Mom, Sister and partner Kelly…all beaming with pride and shedding a few tears at J’s emotional acceptance speech.
After being presented his award, many of J’s colleagues and peers offered their hearty congratulations and consistently commented about how “There was no one more deserving of the honor” than J. And, it’s true. J has touched our hearts and lives like no one else in the floral industry. There aren’t enough awards to give him for all he has done to champion the cause of flowers. His mantra, his motto, his battle cry can be heard and recognized by every flower professional and enthusiast…”Keep Having Fun with Flowers”… it’s a charge we ALL can rally behind and believe in as our fearless leader J shows us the way!
On a final note, one might think that after so many years in the floral industry J would be ready to “slow down” a little and bask in the glow of his Tommy Bright…but you would be highly mistaken. After talking with J tonight on the phone and hearing what is in the works for JTV and uBloom…all I’ve got to say is…”Hold on to your seats uBloomers, because we are getting ready to take off!”
Photo courtesy of the Society of American Florists