|President - 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. Bee Girl projects are focused on regenerative beekeeping, bee habitat research and education, and kids’ programs. 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. In addition, she is excited to have begun her tenure as the Western Apicultural Society’s 42nd president. She will do her best to represent beekeepers of the Western states with integrity, and will host the 2019 WAS conference in Ashland, Oregon. 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.
|Past President - Steve Sweet
Steve Sweet is a professional engineer in Boise, Idaho, and also an engineering graduate of UC Davis. While in Davis, he took the first of many beekeeping courses and participated in the campus work study program at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Since then he has kept bees continuously in California, Washington and Idaho. Over the years he has been active as a founding member of the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club and also served a brief stint on the Idaho Honey Industry Association Board as their Hobbyist Representative.
Steve began serving on the WAS Board as the Idaho Director in 2015. He has obtained a Journey Beekeeping certification from the Oregon State University/Oregon State Beekeeper Association Master Beekeeper Program and is currently seeking to satisfy Master certification requirements. Steve’s on-going activities in the bee yard include running 20-40 colonies, depending on the time of year, and an on-going commitment to “managing his mites.”
|1st Vice President - Phylicia Chandler
Phylicia grew up in the Midwest and has always loved nature. A fond memory she has about bees is when she was little and was helping her dad, a park ranger, around the park when they discovered a tree had fallen across the road. They were going to cut the tree up to remove it, but discovered a nest of honeybees living inside. Phylicia’s dad called a local beekeeper to come and remove the bees. While the beekeeper was looking at the nest, he picked out a drone and placed it on Phylicia’s hand! The beekeeper assured her that she wouldn’t get stung! She was intrigued and fascinated with this amazing little insect! Little did she know 20 years later she would be working for Bee Girl!
Phylicia’s love of nature led her to pursue a bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Dubuque. After working as a Teacher-Naturalist with Delaware Nature Society for four years, Phylicia was inspired to continue her education. In 2015, she graduated from Southern Oregon University (SOU) receiving a master’s degrees in environmental education and teaching.
In 2014, Phylicia had the opportunity to intern with Bee Girl during her time at SOU and this was when she really learned a lot about honeybees and beekeeping. She briefly moved away from Southern Oregon, but quickly returned after realizing how much she missed the area! She is so happy to have flown back into the Bee Girl Hive! Phylicia is excited to educate current and future generations about bees and beekeeping!
While she is not working on all things Bee Girl, you can find her out hiking or birding on the trail with her husband Tom, or cuddled up on the couch with her two cats Apollo and Hermes!
|2nd Vice President - Jaylene Naylor
(see Montana Director)
|Secretary - Cyndi Smith
Cyndi is an LPN and medical transcriptionist who accidentally got involved in the beekeeping world through her husband Jim. Over the years her respect for these fascinating creatures has grown, and she has learned so much about their world. Cyndi has served in the past as secretary to the Washington State Women’s Council of Realtors and numerous other smaller groups over the years. She likes working outside in the garden, showing her granddaughter the beauty and wonder of nature.
|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 - 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.
|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.
|Colorado - Ray Story
I own Bees Gone Wild Removals LLC, a structural honey bee extraction and relocation service. This affords me to have observation hives other then our beloved honey bees. In 2018 I had 4 Bumblebee observation hives (3 Huntii, 1 Morrisonii) and 2 Ariel Yellow Jacket hives used for education/outreach purposes. During my recent exploits, I've collected an undiscovered Cuckoo Bumblebee in Colorado that is now on display at the CSU Entomology Museum.
In the past I have volunteered with Childrens Hospital of Colorado, President of Friends of Childrens Hospital. I have been very active in the Handicapped Sports Program where the kids taught me to enjoy the simplest things in life. I started 2 Geology clubs K-12 when my kids were in school, had 100-plus students attending the monthly meetings. While on a field trip lead by the USGS and The Denver Museum of Natural History I was fortunate to find a very rare rock/mineral that is now housed in equal parts at the Museum, USGS, and my personal collection.
My passion is trying to get generations much younger than mine interested in Pollinators, Organic Practices, and Understanding Invasive Plants/Animals/Insect Species through education and outreach programs. I look forward to networking with anyone interested in outreach/education.
|Hawaii - Noelani Waters
Noelani Waters is a beekeeper and educator in her home town of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii and has been keeping bees since 2011. She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a degree in Tropical Plant Science and Agroecology and a Certificate in Beekeeping. Most recently, Noe worked for 3.5 years as an apiary specialist and inspector for the Hawaii Apiary Program, a statewide program with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture that focused on honey bee biosecurity, queen breeder inspections, education, outreach, and national honey bee surveys. This work brought her to all corners of the state to work and learn from beekeepers of all sizes and focus. As of March 2018, she has recently transitioned to join a VSH breeding lab on the Big Island led by Hawaii Island Honey Co and Arista Bee Research Institute.
Noe is a member of the Big Island Beekeeping Association and has had the sweet opportunity of being a judge for the Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge for the last three years. She has had the extreme pleasure to work on women-led beekeeping teams and hopes to inspire more young women to pursue beekeeping and pollinator protection careers through continued community outreach and education in the Aloha state and beyond.
In her spare time, Noe is an avid gardener, potter, and hiker. She and her husband, Aaron, their dog, Mauka, two cats, and six chickens live on a tiny homestead outside of Hilo up the Hamakua Coast.
|Idaho - Steve Sweet
(see Past President)
|Montana - 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. 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.
|Nevada - Del Barber
Beekeeping has been a part of my life since I was a boy. In our small western South Dakota town, my grandfather was the go-to-guy for catching swarms and solving honey bee problems. An early memory is when I joined him to help remove honey stores from the walls of an old two-story farm house. I still remember putting my ear to the walls inside and listening to the bees working. Amazingly, we scooped more than ten 55-gallon drums of comb and honey from those walls.
As an adult, my interest and fascination with honey bees continued. It infiltrated my high school Biology teaching career where I taught Bee Biology to the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Later, as I approached retirement from education and medicine, I was able to establish an apiary in Oregon and met many fascinating fellow beekeepers who invited me to join them at the Coos County Beekeepers Association. Though it was the nearest local beekeeper organization, it was a 75-mile drive one way to monthly meetings. Through this association I became involved with the Oregon State Beekeepers Association where I served as the south coast representative. Subsequently, OSBA establish a collaboration with the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program where I served as an instructor and mentor for the Apprentice level.
My wife, Myrna, and I solved the long drive dilemma by organizing a new Oregon beekeepers club, Southern Oregon Coast Beekeepers. A short two years later we migrated to Nevada and established another beekeepers club, Great Basin Beekeepers of Nevada. I am a currently a Life Time member of both clubs. These organizations were a family affair. We served as the inaugural President and Secretary-Treasurer. Both clubs are active and thriving today.
Beekeeping has become an avocation. I am always interested in continuing my beekeeping education. The challenges of beekeeping have grown more complicated as the years have passed. I seldom miss an opportunity to share with other beekeepers though local meetings, area conferences and formal coursework. As I enter the eighth decade of my life, I continue to encourage young beekeepers and invited two mentees of the Great Basin Beekeepers of Nevada to join me in the pursuit of the University of Montana Master Beekeeping Certificate. Under the tutelage of Dr Jerry Bromenshenk and his instructional staff, we are nearing completion of Master Level of the UM Beekeeping Program.
Every beekeeper that I’ve met in life has broadened my knowledge and contributed to my efforts to support beekeepers and to educate the public about honey bees and beekeeping.
|New Mexico - Melanie Kirby
Melanie Kirby is a Native New Mexican (Tortugas Pueblo) who began beekeeping by assignment as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer over 20 years ago. After her service, she worked for several large-scale queen operations in both Hawaii and Florida. In 2005, she teamed up with Superior Honey Farms (Upper Peninsula-MI) and launched Zia Queenbees Farm & Field Institute in the southern Rocky Mountains. ZQB specializes in the heritable longevity-based selection of honey bee stock chosen by beekeepers for beekeepers, pollination services, consilience (multi-disciplinary) research, exquisite hive products and apitherapeutics, and outreach. Melanie has been the recipient of several research grants from both Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research Education) for queen breeding, and also from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for value added hive products.
Her dedication to the industry has additionally taken her internationally to serve as an apicultural consultant. She has served twice for the USAID Farmer to Farmer program and independently for development organizations. She is grateful to have learned and worked with beekeepers and their bees in various Native American tribal communities in the southwest and pacific northwest, and with beekeepers across the U.S., Central America, the Pacific Islands, South America, the Caribbean, Canada, North Africa, and Europe. Melanie is a freelance writer for The American Bee Journal and Bee Culture magazines, a blogger for Mother Earth News, and has served as the editor of Kelley Beekeeping online, monthly newsletter for the past 5 years. She is currently working on a graduate degree at the WSU Sheppard Honey Bee Lab (www.bees.wsu.edu). Melanie is committed to supporting the beekeeping industry as a career and livelihood. She served as the NM-WAS Director from 2007-2012 and as the 2013 WAS President. She feels optimistic to return to WAS as the NM Director and to support the organization's efforts.
|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.
A native of Kentucky, Rosanna has enjoyed teaching university-level courses as well as high school science and math, editing research papers for technical journals, and providing editing, layout, and publishing services for clients writing both nonfiction and fiction. She continues this work through Meta Writing and Education Services LLC, located in Portland, Oregon. Her formal education in the biological/ecological sciences (University of Louisville, Michigan State University, and Oregon State University) and research on streams and rivers inform and add perspective to her years of keeping bees. Organisms in both a stream and a beehive effectively assimilate/integrate what takes place in the surrounding landscape; in essence, they reflect the profound interconnectedness of the all that occurs on this good earth. They have much to teach us of time, place, and life.
Author and publisher of Honey-Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She Does, Rosanna shares her love of bees through various other writings and by editing the newsletter and keeping the website of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association. She also participated as a member of the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program planning committee at the program’s inception.
Rosanna is honored to serve as editor of the WAS Journal and very much welcomes input from WAS members and leadership.
Note: As we now know, Fran Bach has made good on her decision to retire, which she announced in the February 2018 issue of the WAS Journal. Although I intend to do right by the journal she has cared for since 2003, it is only with full understanding that there is no replacing Fran.
|RETIRED 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.