Derek joined the floral industry at the age of 16 where he began learning floral design in vocational school and working for a local florist. Since then, he as continued to study the trade through institutes such as Michigan State University, the Great Lakes Floral Association (GLFA), and the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). In 2008 he launched his own business, Floral Underground. Derek is a captivating speaker who specializes in “today’s consumer” connecting and engaging them through different types of media including demonstrations, subscription services and hands-on workshops with both plants and flowers. In addition to being an educator, Derek is considered a “National Floral Design Champion” spending many years polishing the practice of live floral design competition. This love of competition has won him numerous awards in the industry, including the GLFA's Chuck Bannow Award and Designer of the Year (twice), AIFD's Bobbi Cup (Thrice), Chicago’s Best in Blooms Competition, second runner-up on a national television floral design competition reality show called: "The Arrangement", is the 2016 Sylvia Cup Design Competition Champion and was the runner-up in the 2018 FTD America’s Cup Competition.