Friend of the Industry

An individual from outside the association who has contributed to the advancement or improvement of the nursery and landscape industry. To nominate an individual for this award, contact FNGLA's Ben Bolusky.

2017 Recipients

Frye Frye

Jackie Moalli & Melissa Hunt
both from Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services | Fresh from Florida

Jackie Moalli is the Assistant Director of the Director’s Office at the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS). Moalli provides administrative oversight for the Division of Marketing and Development, its bureaus, offices and programs. She manages the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign which has a proven track record in marketing Florida agricultural commodities domestically and internationally. Moalli is often found at FNGLA Board of Directors’ meetings updating Association leaders on how Fresh From Florida is assisting FNGLA members in cooperative branding and marketing efforts.

Melissa Hunt is a Marketing Representative and Client Relations Manager for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Hunt is a valued member of its industry relations team and she is also a liaison to agriculture associations and advisory councils. Hunt serves on FNGLA’s Marketing & Membership Committee where her enthusiastic expertise helps to shape FNGLA’s membership recruitment and retention efforts with industry marketing.

Moalli and Hunt are the creative sparks behind the hugely successful Fresh From Florida landscape plant TV/cable advertising campaign in Florida, as well as the Florida tropical foliage promotions throughout the nation. Widely recognized as energetic supporters of Florida’s nursery and landscape industry, Moalli and Hunt are also influential and high-spirited FNGLA cheerleaders.

2016 Recipient


Deirdre Irwin
St. Johns River Water Management District, Palatka, FL

FNGLA is excited to announce the recipient of its celebrated Friend of the Industry Award for 2016 is Ms. Deirdre Irwin – the Water Conservation Coordinator for the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Deirdre Irwin administers Florida Water Star. As the program was taking off, she reached out to FNGLA and the result was creation in 2010 of an agency-industry partnership for water conservation training in landscape and irrigation. Since then, more than 500 industry professionals have learned how to create water efficient landscapes. Irwin has coordinated training throughout Florida with FNGLA administering the Accredited Professional exams.

Deirdre Irwin always seeks and explores innovative ways to work together achieving an abundance of win-win scenarios. Irwin consistently uses her 25 years of experience at the St. Johns River Water Management District to encourage and support Florida’s nursery and landscape industry. In addition to working with FNGLA, Irwin serves on the boards of the Florida Green Building Coalition; the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology; the statewide Florida Friendly Landscaping™ Advisory Committee; and, the Communities in Excellence Awards program.

FNGLA proudly congratulates Deirdre Irwin as the 2016 recipient of the FNGLA Friend of the Industry Award!


2015 Recipient


Tyson Emery
FDACS Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, FL

Tyson joined the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in April 1996. Prior to becoming Bureau Chief of Plant and Apiary Inspection, Tyson held several positions within the Bureau: Plant Inspector, Plant Inspector Supervisor, Certification Specialist and Assistant Bureau Chief. Tyson has more than 18 years in State government and three years as a Production Manager growing tomatoes in Naples, Florida. He is a graduate of University of Florida with a Bachelors degree in Agriculture and was born and raised in St. Augustine, FL.

2014 Recipient


Ananth Prasad, P.E., Secretary
Florida Department Transportation
Tallahassee, FL

2013 Recipient


Commissioner Adam Putnam
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

2012 Recipient


Dr. Hannah Carter
Wedgworth Leadership Institute

Watch the video


Dr. Terril Nell
University of Florida / Environmental Horticulture


Charles Bronson
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services


Not awarded

Marty Bowen, Speaker Pro-Tempore of the Florida House of Representatives
Dr. Jimmy Cheek, Senior Vice President of the University of Florida - IFAS

Mario Diaz-Balart - U.S. Congressman
Ken Kuhl - FDACS Office of Water Policy

Kevin Kelley - Florida State Director - USDA

Leslie Palmer - Federal State Director - FDACS
Richard Gaskalla - Director - Division of Plant Industry

Richard Gaskalla - Director - Division of Plant Industry

Belinda G. Chason - Florida Department of Education

Representative Richard Machek - Palm Beach County Area

Lois Ann Sorensen - Southwest Florida Water Management District