Michael Derouin, a main-stage presenter at the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) National Symposium, “Awaken,” in Las Vegas, Nev., July 6-11, is a second-generation floral designer, raised in his family’s floral business, Derouin’s Florist in Waterbury, Conn., which his father founded in 1960. After three weeks in college, Michael realized what he wanted to do with his life, so he came back home and continued his father’s legacy for the next 10 years.

After closing the family business in 2007, Michael joined McArdle’s Florist and Garden Center, in Greenwich, Conn. Today, as the director of floral design, Michael manages the design department and leads the floral design team.

By the time he was 31, Michael had fulfilled a personal goal he set as a teenager: becoming a member of AIFD, the American Academy of Floriculture (AAF), the Professional Floral Communicators International (PFCI), and the Canadian Academy of Floral Art (CAFA). He is one of only five people in the world who are members of all four organizations.

Currently, Michael serves as vice president of the Connecticut Florists Association (CFA) and on the education committee for the association’s floral design school, the Northeast Floral Education Center, in Cheshire. Previously, he was the chairman of CFA’s Northeast Floral Expo. In 2001, the same year he was inducted into AIFD, Michael won the CFA “Designer of the Year” award. Also in the early 2000s, Michael worked on the Smithers-Oasis Company design team, teaching classes at wholesale florists throughout the country.

Teaching and sharing his lifetime of knowledge is Michael’s greatest passion. “There is an immense sense of fulfillment when sharing knowledge and teaching others,” he says.

“The feeling pales in comparison to most others. I was initially inspired by a designer who presented at the first design show I ever attended, who made a lasting impression on me. I knew at that moment I wanted to do the same thing, hoping I might have that same effect on someone some day.”