In 1970, Herman Meinders founded American Floral Services, Inc., an international flowers-by-wire service based in Oklahoma City. AFS began in a garage apartment and initially consisted of 137 subscriber florists. From that beginning, AFS grew to become international in scope and ranked as one of the largest floral wire services in the world. In November of 2000 AFS merged with Teleflora, a competitor, to better serve the floral community.
Originally from Pipestone, Minnesota, Herman attended Oklahoma City University in the 1950’s. He strongly believes in and supports higher education, and has shared his success through endowments to numerous colleges and universities, including his funding of the new Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business dedicated in January of 2004. He currently serves on the board of trustees for OCU, and formerly was chairman of its executive committee.
Herman and his wife, LaDonna, support local literacy programs designed to aid students needing special educational assistance. Their philanthropic projects have a broad base, including The Meinders Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City, major National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum improve-ments, and the Meinders Scout Shop in Oklahoma City. They have provided funding for a number of church-related projects, including the Meinders Chapel at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa and the Meinders Hall at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. They have contributed funds to build several houses for Habitat for Humanity. They were major supporters of the Oklahoma Capitol dome project, and funded the Meinders Hall of Mirrors at the Civic Center.
Herman has been highly honored by the floral industry, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Wholesale Florists and Florist Suppliers of America, and the Industry Service Award from the American Institute of Floral Design.
In 1992, he was inducted into the Sales and Marketing Executives International Academy of Achievement for his contributions to the free enterprise system. Other awards include the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor, OCU Distinguished Alumnus Award, Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree from Oklahoma City University, the Liberty Bell Award from the Oklahoma County Bar Association, Melvin Jones Fellow award from Lions International Foundation, Downtown Oklahoma City Lion of the Year, Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Order of Achievement and the Order of Merit from Lambda Chi Alpha national fraternity. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Heritage Association Hall of Fame in November of 1998.
Herman and LaDonna share their time between their home in Oklahoma City and their ranch in Cookson, Oklahoma.