|President, Idaho - Steve Sweet
Steve Sweet is a professional engineer in Boise, Idaho, and a graduate of UC Davis, where he also took the first of many beekeeping courses and participated in the campus work study program at "Bee Bio", now the "Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Since then he has kept bees continuously in California, Washington state and Idaho, and more recently, become active in the Idaho Honey Industry Association and the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club that he helped found.
For the past two years, he has served on the WAS Board as the Idaho Director. Steve obtained Journeyman Beekeeping certification from the Oregon State University/Oregon State Beekeepers Association Master Beekeeper Program and is currently seeking to satisfy Master certification requirements. Steve’s activities in the bee yard include running 20-40 colonies, participating in the Bee Informed Program Tier 4 Real Time Disease Load Survey (2014-2017), and the National Honey Bee Health Survey (2015-2017).
|Past President - Eric Mussen
As a child, Eric preferred to be outside as much as possible. All things in nature interested him, especially insects. Encouraged by his self-taught, naturalist grandfather, Eric pursued those interests by obtaining a BS in Entomology at the University of Massachusetts (1966), and an MS and PhD (1975) in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. While at UMinn, Eric had Dr. Basil Furgala, a Professor of Apiculture, as a mentor. Eric studied sacbrood virus of larval (and adult) honey bees for his PhD thesis.
After a few months of postdoctoral work, Eric was hired as the Extension Apiculturist in the Entomology Department at UC Davis (1976). He served in that capacity for just fewer than 39 years. During that time, he published a monthly newsletter, “from the UC apiaries,” with more than a decade of back issues on his UC Davis Entomology website.
Eric became very well entrenched in both the non-commercial and commercial aspects of the beekeeping industry. He was involved with the initiation of the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) (1977) and the American Association of Professional Apiculturists. He is a member of the Western Apicultural Society, The California Beekeepers’ Association, the California Bee Breeders’ Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, and the American Honey Producers’ Association. He has served on committees with the National Honey Board and Project Apis m, and is well-known and respected by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Although he retired in 2014, Eric’s input and assistance is still in demand. He was pressed into service for a sixth term as president and conference coordinator of 2017 40th Anniversary WAS Annual Conference. He still reads and comments occasionally on the weekly announcements of requests for registration of pest control chemicals with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. He responds to some of the inquiries from the public or beekeepers that are submitted to the American Beekeeping Federation and he still responds to significant numbers of email contacts at his retained university address.
|1st Vice President, Alaska - Dr. Joe Carson
Dr. Carson grew up on a dairy farm in the Matanuska Valley of South Central Alaska. Joe and Holly have been married for 40 years and have 3 children and 13 grandchildren - along with the Honey Bees, Schnauzer Dogs, Dexter Cattle, Dorper Sheep and Red Wattle Hogs.
After entering college at the age of 16 Joe decided accounting, macro and micro economics with an emphasis in econophysics was for the birds!
After much schooling with a majors in microsporidial diseases and nutrition, Alaska Heavenly Honey was formed; followed closely by Complete Bee Honey Bee Food Supplements Company, eKoBeekeeping Supply and Dr. Carson’s Pet Food Supplements, Personal Care Products and Health and Wellness Nutritional Products. Dr. Carsons products are currently in about 32 countries around the world.
Dr. Carson has spent over 8 years on the Board of Directors for American Beekeeping Federation, past Chairman of Research for American Beekeeping Federation, Past American delegate for international beekeeping symposium “Apimondia”, State representative for American Honey Producers, Board of Directors for Western Apicultural Society for many, many years and current 1st Vice President.
|2nd Vice President, Oregon - Sarah Red-Laird
Sarah Red-Laird is the founder and Executive Director of the Bee Girl organization, a nonprofit with a mission to educate and inspire communities to conserve bees, their flowers, and our food. She is a graduate of the University of Montana's College of Forestry and Conservation with a degree in Resource Conservation, focused on community collaboration and environmental policy. Sarah also serves as the “Kids and Bees” program director for the American Beekeeping Federation. When she is not tirelessly working with bees, beekeepers, kids, farmers, land managers, and policy makers, Sarah loves to read historical fiction, ride her bike, hike in the hills, see new places and things, people watch, and snuggle any animal that she can catch.
|Treasurer - Sherry Olsen-Frank
I got into beekeeping in 2010 in a roundabout way. I read an article in Mother Earth that the bees were in trouble and how they were so important to our food chain. Included were plans to build a top bar hive (TBH). Since I am a woodworker, I decided it could help bees if I built a hive. But if you have a hive, I figured you should have bees in it. After telling my husband that I was going to get bees in spite of his concerns about urban beekeeping, I became a beekeeper, or more precisely, a bee guardian. I’ve built five TBH's and tried a few foundationless Langstroths. Some TBH's are located in our yard in the urban community where we live. The Langstroths are hosted by willing people in our surrounding area. Through this process, I have learned that my back isn’t strong enough to lift those deep boxes, so I’m going back to TBH's.
Out of curiosity about bees and beekeeping, I attended the 2012 WAS conference in Seattle. During that conference, I was recruited to be a member of WAS. Then at the 2013 WAS conference in New Mexico, I was elected Treasurer. I am also a member of our local beekeeping organization that strives to help new beekeepers thrive in this fascinating and rewarding endeavor!
I now have a four-year-old granddaughter who has been exposed to bees and beekeeping before she could crawl. She has all of the signs of becoming my beekeeping buddy!
|At-Large-Member - Jaylene Naylor
My beekeeping life began nearly without my knowing it. In January, 6 years ago, I heard my significant other get off the phone with the famous Vicki from Western Bee. He’d just ordered a package of bees and the beginner beekeeping kit. I was instantly petrified…we didn’t know anything about bees, and shouldn’t we know something before we get them?? Fortunately for us, we were able to enroll in the first ever face-to-face University of Montana Apprentice Beekeeping course with Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, Scott Debnam and Phil Welch that was to start before the bees arrived. The class was amazing and absolutely hooked me on beekeeping. I have to confess, though, that I used to don my entire beekeeping suit just to change the top feeder that first year.
The next year I started attending our local beekeeping meetings, Beekeepers of the Bitterroot. Because of the fantastic mentors in our club (some of whom have over 30 years of beekeeping experience), I decided to contribute to the club’s outreach efforts, and soon after became Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer for three years. In late 2016/2017 I assumed the role of President. Concurrently, I completed the Journeyman and Master levels of the UM Beekeeping courses.
I work in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in IT and as a physics lab instructor, planetarium manager and as the Assistant Director of UM’s Autonomous Aerial Systems Office (drones!), and I love being able to help others learn about science and critical thinking.
I very much enjoy being active in organizations, particularly because I see that it is difficult for people to step up to be leaders with so much going on in their lives. I’m really excited to be a part of WAS as the Member-At-Large. After years of working at a local level to educate and share my love of bees, I’m looking forward to doing even more at a regional level with WAS. WAS UP BOISE 2018!! See you there!
|British Columbia - Nancy Burkholder
Nancy Burkholder started keeping bees with her 13 year old son in 2009. She now has 50 hives in 3 vastly different apiaries. The majority of her hives are at their home on Martin Mountain in Pritchard, British Columbia at an elevation of about 3300 feet. Nancy has an ever growing interest in the wellbeing of the over 450 species of native bees in BC. While selling honey and other hive products at the local farmers market in Chase BC, as well as taking bees into the area schools, she educates people in the importance of all insects and the many benefits in maintaining and increasing their natural habitat.
|Saskatchewan - Doreen Bradshaw
Doreen Bradshaw is currently retired, living in Regina, and remains active with the Regina and District Bee Club as well as a member of the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association.
Doreen first got involved with beekeeping in 1974 with two hives. The two hives gradually increased to 75 hives in 2012 and then reduced again to two hives. In addition to being Secretary of the Regina and District Bee Club for 25 years, Doreen was also a volunteer for 28 years with the Canadian Western Agribition, promoting the honey industry. In 1981 the Bee Club entered an educational booth at Agribition (Agri-Ed Showcase) to inform school students and the general public about bees and beekeeping. Approximately 8,000 students register each year to attend the week-long event. In 1995, the Club also included a second booth for members to sell honey and promote the industry in Saskatchewan. In 1999, a Honey Show competition for products of the hive was implemented and operated until 2009.
Prior to her retirement, Doreen worked in banking for over 20 years and then with the Government of Saskatchewan for 24 years.
|California - Archie Mitchell
Archie Mitchell has done a lot of things in life. To name a few, he has traveled the world as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a chief master sergeant (the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force). He started a boxing club and worked as a newspaper reporter. Now, it’s all about the bees. He serves as regional director for the Western Apicultural Society, director of the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association, member of the California State Beekeepers Association and Santa Maria Beekeepers Clubs. He also teaches beekeeping classes at Allan Hancock College, leads honey-tasting events at area wineries, and enjoys teaching his grandchildren the joy of beekeeping. Somewhere in there, he finds time to run Lompoc Honey, a cottage business selling honey, beeswax, and bee removal services.
For over 30 years, Archie has lived on the Central Coast of California and worked passionately with honey bees. He represents California as Regional Director of the Western Apicultural Society and is a member of the California State Beekeepers Association. He is active in the Lompoc and Santa Maria Beekeepers Clubs, teaches beekeeping classes at Allan Hancock College, leads honey-tasting events at area wineries, and enjoys teaching his grandchildren the joy of beekeeping.
Mitchell blazed the trail in creating a beekeepers association in Lompoc and in teaching beekeeping courses at Allan Hancock College. He wrote a successful grant proposal seeking to provide environmental justice for honeybees and native pollinators. With grant funds, the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association seeks to underwrite the necessities to support large-scale education programs and to maintain honey bees in the Lompoc Bird, Butterfly and Bee sanctuary. More specifically, the Association promotes the advancement of beekeeping through best management practices, the education and mentoring of people about honey bees and beekeeping, and increasing public awareness of environmental concerns affecting honey bees.
Mitchell also seeks to change the bee ordinance in Lompoc.
|Montana - Jerry Bromenshenk
Ph.D. Entomology, minor in Chemistry/Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman, 1973
44 years of worldwide research and education focused on Honey Bees.
Grew up on a livestock feedlot and dairy farm near Billings, MT. Originated use of honey bees as wide area environmental sentinels and monitors (1974-2003). Integrated use of citizen science and geo-spatial statistics in combination with honey bees to achieve landscape level mapping of pollution sources, dispersion patterns, and impacts to bee colonies (1985). Brought about EPA-approved, bee-based protocols for Ecological Assessments at Hazardous Waste Sites (1989). Team leader with Colin Henderson for projects that produced (1) electronically monitored Smart Hives®, (2) microprocessor-controlled operant training systems for conditioning bees®(2005), (3) LIDAR for honey bee position and density mapping over fields with decimeter resolution® (2004, 2009, and 2011), and (4) acoustic recording and analysis® for monitoring colony health, including detection of exposures to toxic chemicals, presence of honey bee diseases, and prevalence of honey bee pests such as queen less colony, Africanized colony, Nosema spp. and mites (2009). Developed Infrared imaging as a management tool for beekeepers. With Scott Debnam and Phillip Welch, developed the first Master Beekeeping Program (2012) specifically designed to be an ADA compliant, media-rich, three level course for internet delivery. The program has now has reached all of the states in the US, all Provinces in Canada, and over a dozen other countries. A total of 814 Certificates of completion has been issued to successful graduates of these courses. Currently engaged in contract research in New Zealand. Primary focus, at the moment, is beta testing of an acoustic scanning APP for the detection and identification of bee pests and diseases.
|Utah - Albert Chubak
Albert Chubak migrated to Utah from Saskatchewan in the Canadian Prairies, where his heritage was in dry farming. He has 30 years experience in construction and is a Utah General Contractor. He attended University of Saskatchewan, University of Three Rivers in Quebec, University of Utah and is an Alumni with the Golden Key International Honor Society. He has served as the Program Director for both the Wasatch Beekeepers Association and the Greater Salt Lake Beekeeping Association. He also is serving as the Western Apicultural Society Director for Utah and is the delegate for Utah at the American Beekeeping Federation. Currently Mr. Chubak is the Utah State Beekeeping Association historian and is the president of the largest regional club in Utah, the Wasatch Beekeepers Association.
While keeping more than 250 of his own hives, Al Chubak started a bee removal business, a blending of his three loves - bees, construction, and problem solving. He has participated in perhaps a thousand live bee removals in Utah. He was a Bee Wrangler for Spike TV in the show Flip Men. Mr. Chubak experienced intimately what bees like in a natural habitat and what helps their colonies to thrive. With this knowledge he developed revolutionary beekeeping techniques and products. In 2011 he developed his Eco Bee Box product and began educating others on additional ways to keep bees. His focus is teaching natural queen rearing with a focus with children, seniors, and those with handicaps.
He continues to be an active beekeeping mentor to hundreds of beekeepers annually. He recently discovered a trove of documents related to beekeeping from the Territory of Deseret spanning half the 19th century and will be sharing as funds permit. Mr. Chubak has an Eco Bee Box Hive at Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has his unique design of Eco Bee Boxes in every state in the US and many countries around the world. Videos of his equipment are in National Geographic. Eco Bee Box was awarded Most Innovative Company in Utah for Best of State 2014. Was also nominated in 2015 Utah as Inventor of the Year. He was also awarded the prestigious Thurber Award for Inventiveness for developing the Eco Bee Box and his Mini Urban Beehive publication. Chief Editor of the Bee Culture Magazine reviewed this publication in fall of 2017, he wrote in part, “It defies description” and “If you like the first one, and you will, the rest are easy to get…” Beginning in 2011 Mr. Chubak began an online beekeeping blog that has now reached a million views. Last on his this list is his hobbies which include researching and acquiring historical beekeeping artifacts in hope of generating interest in a national beekeeping museum in the near future.
|Wyoming - Catherine Wissner
I kept getting calls in the extension office from people wanting to know-how to be a beekeeper, or had beekeeping problems. Being in extension it looked like a great opportunity to help not only beekeepers, but bees and tie into what I do as a horticulturist. So, I stared the Wyoming Bee College. Originally, just two days and three tracks per day including a beginning basic beekeeping that was back in 2014. In 2018 I will have the addition of the Wyoming Bee University and the Wyoming Bee College. The Bee University the day before the College tackling more in-depth concerns and the Bee College now up to 5 tracks per day for two days.
When I’m not doing bee conferences and education programs, I coordinate and teach the Laramie County Master Gardener program and run a summer Advanced Master Gardener program. I also do plant diagnostics, yard calls and on-line plant help.
I also run a small sheep herd of 45 ewes and an equally small herd of six Dexter cattle on the high prairie of southeastern Wyoming. My ranch help includes three Welsh Pembroke Corgis and a livestock guard dog called, Faith.
|Journal Editor/Historian/Membership - Fran Bach
A Canadian and a professional ag journalist, I have worked as a free lancer for most of Canada's major farm publications and some international ones for over 40 years. In 1990 I became owner of a general farm paper, about the same time the beekeeping industry in Canada began to demand newsletters. Although I have never kept bees myself, I have been around them most of my life. My Dad was a beekeeper when I was young; family and friends have been in the industry all my life. It was an easy step into editing some of these journals along side of my other projects.
From 1990 to 2003 I edited the British Columbia Beekeepers Association "BeesCene", did a 4-year stint as editor of the national Canadian Honey Council's "Hivelights" and even filled in a couple of years when the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association needed help.
Married to former Washington State Department of Agricuture Apiary Specialist Jim Bach in 2001, I was "imported" to the US and soon found myself accompanying him to beekeeper meetings south of the border. That resulted in taking over editorship of the WAS Journal in January of 2003 and in 2012, the Washington State Beekeepers Newsletter.
I am now 75 years old and needing to retire from the bees in order to put what energy I have left into family endeavors. The bee trail has been sometimes rough indeed, but forever interesting, and I treasure the many friends I have made along the way. However our paths diverge, I wish you all well and hope we will meet again.