Geoff Williams, President
Geoff Williams is an Assistant Professor in Auburn University’s Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology. Dr. Williams grew up in Western Canada and obtained a B.Sc. from the University of Alberta. He then headed east for doctoral studies at Dalhousie University, before hopping across the Atlantic – to the University of Bern – for post-doctoral work. During this time, Dr. Williams gained valuable bee experience across North America, Europe, and Asia. Auburn’s Bee Lab is primarily focused on understanding the effects of exotic parasites and agricultural chemicals on honey bees, as well as developing new Best Management Practices for beekeepers.
George Hansen, Vice President
After a short six year career as a public school teacher, George transformed a hobby beekeeping operation into a commercial endeavor. The business started from a few swarms and a collection of retrieved nuisance hives, but now runs 5000 + colonies in three states. Sons Matt and Joe are incrementally taking control of the business, as George moves towards an as yet undefined retirement. Although the name of the company never changed, the focus of the beekeeping is now primarily pollination service, with honey, wax and bee sales making up no more than 30 percent of gross revenues. George is an active member of the beekeeping community, promoting the industry’s interests as past president of the American Beekeeping Federation, a producer representative on the National Honey Board as well as a trustee on the Foundation for the Preservation of the Honey Bee. Currently George represents the industry on the national Honey Bee Health Coalition, and in Oregon on the Governor’s Task Force on Honey Bee Health. For twenty years, he has hosted an annual Bee Day workshop and orientation at the Foothills Honey Company home site.
David Mendes, Treasurer
David Mendes has been a commercial beekeeper for 35+ years. He is the owner of Headwaters Farm, of N Fort Myers, FL, which provides hives to pollinate California almonds, Maine blueberries, and Massachusetts cranberries. David has been an active proponent of bee research and extension to improve beekeeper management. He is the former President of the American Beekeeping Federation, a member of the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, a Board Member of Project Apis m, and a Trustee of the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey bees. He is also a life member of the Florida State Beekeepers Association and the Eastern Apicultural Society. When not tied up in conference calls and Board meetings, he operates 12,000+ beehives for pollination and honey production. He is very appreciative to his manager and great staff that keep the bees alive and healthy.
Robert Sears, Secretary
Bob Sears has been a hobbyist beekeeper since 1993. He maintains hives in the Central West End in St. Louis and in Franklin County. He is President of the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association.
Katie Lee is a researcher and the Apiculture Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota. Katie received both an MS and PhD in entomology from the University of Minnesota. She developed a sampling protocol for the parasitic mite Varroa destructor that is now a nationwide standard. Katie founded two of the Bee Informed Partnership’s Tech-Transfer Teams that provide services for commercial beekeepers by assessing colony health and testing breeding stock for disease resistance behavior. Her research focuses on Varroa destructor, metrics that indicate queen bee and colony health, and the benefits of pollinator plantings on honey bee health.
Julia Mahood is a Master Beekeeper from Atlanta Georgia, where she keeps bees in her front yard and on an urban farm. She is fascinated by drone honey bees and created a citizen science project to map out drone congregation areas (mapmydca.com). Active in state and local bee associations, Julia loves educating folks about bees. Since 2015 she has been teaching beekeeping at the largest women’s prison in Georgia. When she’s not poking around in bee hives, Julia works as a graphic artist.
Meghan Milbrath is an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University. After she received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, she completed a post doc at MSU studying transmission and risk of Nosema disease. Her research currently focuses on honey bee disease transmission risks, and her extension work covers all aspects of honey bee care and management. Dr. Milbrath started keeping bees over 25 years ago and is interested in all aspects of bee health.
Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Her research efforts focus on understanding and breeding for bees’ natural defenses against diseases and parasites. She and students also study ways to propagate floral rich and pesticide-free landscapes to support the nutrition, health and diversity of all bee pollinators.
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We are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization governed by a nine member board. Our board members represent a mix of commercial beekeepers, top beekeeping scientists and epidemiologists as well as leaders in other honey bee organizations.
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