Derek joined the floral industry at the ripe age of 16 where he began learning floral design in vocational school and working for a local florist. Since then, he has continued to study the trade through institutes such as Michigan State University, the Michigan Floral Association (MFA), and the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). In 2008 he launched his own business, Floral Underground, which as gone through many a metamorphosis to become the business that it is today. Derek is a captivating speaker who finds joy in helping audiences find inventive ways to use new and existing products. As a member of the Syndicate Sales Design Team, Derek has a “big picture” perspective on industry trends, and how florists can make the best practical and artistic use of materials. He enjoys presenting on stage, in hands-on workshops, and online to audiences of floral designers and consumers alike. In addition to being an educator, Derek considers himself a “competition designer” spending many years polishing the practice of live floral design competition. This love of competition has won him numerous awards both in and out of the industry, including the MFA’s Chuck Bannow Award, MFA’s Designer of the Year (twice), and AIFD’s Bobbi Cup (twice), second runner-up on a national television floral design competition reality show called: “The Arrangement,” and is the winner of the 2016 Sylvia Cup Design Competition.