After a 14-tenure with the American Horticultural Society (AHS), Executive Director Tom Underwood will step down in mid-February to take the helm of the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Garden in Birmingham, Alabama. Holly H. Shimizu, a member of the AHS Board of Directors, will serve as Interim Executive Director while the organization conducts a national search to fill the position.

“Tom has ably led the AHS through several years of tremendous growth,” says Amy Bolton, chair of the AHS Board of Directors. “This includes overseeing significant improvements to the Society’s River Farm headquarters, strategically building a solid membership base, and achieving financial stability despite a soft economic climate. Thanks in large part to his leadership and our exceptional staff, we have an almost unprecedented organizational capacity that will sustain us through this next chapter.”

Shimizu will work closely with the staff and Board to guide the AHS through the leadership transition. A proven administrator and nationally recognized horticulturist, she served as executive director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., from 2000 to 2014. She also has served as managing director of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia; worked as a curator at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.; and hosted the Victory Garden television program for PBS for several years. She has frequently served as an advisor or consultant to various horticultural organizations across the country, including the AHS.

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The American Horticultural Society (AHS), founded in 1922, is an educational, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that recognizes and promotes excellence in American horticulture. One of the oldest and most prestigious gardening organizations, AHS is dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. Its mission is to open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the Earth, to celebrate America’s diversity through the art and science of horticulture; and to lead this effort by sharing the Society’s unique national resources with all Americans.