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The California Association Flower Growers & Shippers (historically termed NORCAL) is ramping up quickly for 2013, setting a newer and quicker pace to demonstrate member value and to assure that NORCAL is ready to accept a leadership position within this internationally competitive industry.

PEOPLE912-JOHN-H.-DANEJohn H. DaneIn 2012, NORCAL member meetings in Santa Barbara, Carlsbad and Monterey generated member dialogue and insights on promoting California flowers, transportation, overnight delivery and projected industry trends.

An additional theme that emerged during these member meetings will be key for 2013: NORCAL’s closer working relationship with the California State Floral Association and the California Cut Flower Commission. Each organization will seek strategies to combine efforts yet retain their respective core missions and independent identity.

For 2013, NORCAL’s Fun ‘N Sun Convention, to be held in Santa Barbara at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort July 17-20, promises to be bigger and more diversified than in the past with strong financial incentives to be announced soon for out-of-state buyers to attend and participate in the convention.

To build new creative content, NORCAL has signed with Rene van Rems International to coordinate the convention’s creative theme and direction. This thematic focus, highlighting unique California floral products, will be woven throughout the grower tours, convention seminars and on the floral exhibition floor.

Pat Mullen, NORCAL’s board president, is committed to innovation at the Fun ‘N Sun convention and has invited CSFA and CCFC to work with NORCAL on programs and presentations. The overall emphasis on “California Grown” and the California floral industry generally will be enhanced by all three organizations contributing time and talent.

DANE-OUTLOOK113-FUN-N-SUN-kBright boots brimming with bountiful flowers highlighted this Sun Valley booth at the 2011 NORCAL Sun ‘N Fun Weekend. The 2013 event will be held July 17-20 in Santa Barbara, CA.Online communications play an important and central role in how NORCAL interacts with members and other constituencies. NORCAL contracted in December with the Stellaractive in Portland, OR, to upgrade the NORCAL website with expanded content, increased functional capacity to enable members to register and pay for events online, and the ability to host blogs, podcasts and potential online communities of practice.

The goal is to make the website a one-stop shop for both NORCAL members ans well as for the public. The target month for the new launch is April.

Transportation affordability and efficiency is a critical variable in marketing California flowers nationwide. In December the NORCAL board of directors launched a more intensive effort to address transportation challenges by supercharging its transportation committee and authorizing three subgroups in specific growing areas in the state.

Members have been encouraged by NORCAL’s behind-the-scenes work with growers and shippers in northern San Diego County to consolidate shipping operations into one terminal, thereby reducing grower delivery times and centralizing regional operations.

In March, the NORCAL board of directors will meet with CCFC leadership to explore programs that can be addressed together and will also tackle a long-overdue modernization of its by-laws with a special emphasis on governance change and membership innovation.

In June, the NORCAL board of directors will gather to take a longer and strategic look at the industry, focused on initiatives to improve the sale and transport of California flowers and on contributing to the long-term growth of the floral industry nationwide.

John H. Dane is chief executive officer of NORCAL. He was previously executive director of the California State Firefighters’ Association and of the U.S. Rowing Association. He is a Certified Association Executive. He can be reached at or at 831/479-4912.