John Holmes, chief executive officer of OFA–an Association of Floriculture Professionals, died Feb. 12, 2009, in Columbus, Ohio, of a heart attack. He was 45. Holmes recently had become the new executive director of NLAE, the Nursery and Landcape Association Executives of North America, when that group selected OFA to be its management provider. Holmes had been CEO of OFA since 2002. “We are deeply saddened by John’s sudden passing,” OFA President Bobby Barnitz said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family, friends and beloved staff during this difficult time.” Services will be Thursday, Feb. 19. Details are available at www.ofa.org.
Holmes earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Purdue University and his law degree from Indiana University. Before going to work for OFA, Holmes had worked as a staff member with the Indiana House of Representatives, in the government affairs office with the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and with the Indiana Health Care Association. Before joining OFA, he was executive director of the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water. His passing leaves both OFA and NLAE without a staff director. “While John’s presence will be missed, your board of directors is committed to ensuring the organization continues to meet the needs of our stakeholders and management partners,” Barnitz said. “John made sure the organization had a strong infrastructure in place to survive challenging times.”
About a month earlier, NLAE had announced that OFA and its staff of 14 had been selected to provide the organization with management services. “We are excited about this new opportunity to work with OFA,” NLAE President Ben Bolusky said at the time. “With over a century of experience, the OFA team has a proven track record of association and event management. Their areas of expertise complement NLAE’s mission.”
OFA also manages several other entities, including America in Bloom, the Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association, and the Southeast Greenhouse Conference. “OFA’s mission is to advance professional horticulture, so this is a great opportunity for us to reach out and assist another industry organization,” Barnitz said at the time. “It’s a win-win for everyone. We look forward to working with the board of directors and members to ensure the most efficient use of resources, and to help all industry associations succeed.”
The new arrangement means new contact information for NLAE, which now can be reached at 2130 Stella Court, Columbus, Ohio, 43215; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nlae.org; or 614-487-1117. NLAE, founded in 1947, is a national organization of green industry association executives working cooperatively to solve problems facing the industry and their associations; to develop and improve services to each member and their respective associations; to disseminate information to its members; and to provide educational programs on association management.