Bee School Speaker Bios

Tony Andric is a recovering computer/electrical engineer, addicted beekeeper, makes doors for chickens?, has zero life insurance, lives near Lockhart, TX (BBQ capital of TX), old, fat, white, bald, bearded guy (1967 model), married, yet it's lonely inside that suit, uses Langstroth mediums only w/ top entrance, survival genetics & is treatment free.

Daniel Brantner started beekeeping in 2013 after attending a two hour introduction to beekeeping class offered through Groupon. As an architect who was raised on a farm in Minnesota, he quickly realized that beekeeping provided a unique opportunity to combine his passions for the outdoors and the environment with his woodworking hobby. Seeking to expand his beekeeping knowledge and skills, he joined the Texas Master Beekeeper Program. Dan found the Texas Master Beekeeper Program to be a tremendous information resource and the Public Service component of the program provided him the opportunity to discover the joy of sharing information regarding the fascinating world of beekeeping with youth, school, & civic organizations.
In 2014 Dan, and his wife Donna, founded Texas Honey Company which currently produces honey, comb honey, creamed honey, and meade. Honey produced by the Texas Honey Company has won 1st place at the State Fair of Texas as well as the Texas Beekeepers Association annual Honey Contest.

Chris Barnes is a Texas A&M Aggie, class of ’87 (pause for “whoop”).  Social clubs & organizations is something Chris & Dalene have been involved with for over 35 years.  Prior to getting involved in beekeeping, they raised & trained Labrador Retrievers, where they served in the local “retriever club” as President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, as well as chairman of national events.  They have also served on the Board of Directors of their local Homeschool Cooperative, helping to form one of the largest homeschool athletic groups in the state.  They started beekeeping in 2013 when Dalene signed Chris up for the Central Texas Beekeeping School– without his knowledge.  She wanted a couple of hives to go with her garden and chickens; they now have 60+ hives over several locations in Brazos County.  Chris performs structural bee removals and serves on the Board of Directors as Membership Director of the Texas Association of Professional Bee Removers.  Chris & Dalene are founding members of the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association in Bryan/College Station; Chris is a past-president and is currently serving as the Youth Program Director (now the largest youth program in the state).  Chris has also been chairman for this beeschool for the past 6 years.

Dalene Barnes, with her husband Chris, have been beekeepers since 2012 when she signed them up – without his knowledge – for the Central Texas Beekeeping School. She wanted a couple of hives to go with her garden and chickens; they now have over 50 hives in several locations in Brazos County. Dalene manages the books and records for Cornerstone Honey Bees. Additionally, she has been the secretary and/or treasurer for a variety of clubs, non-profits, church, and homeschool groups over the past 30 years. While not an accountant or tax expert, she has successfully navigated state & IRS required paperwork and taxes for many years on a variety of levels. Dalene & Chris are founding members of the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association in Bryan/College Station, where she currently is on the Board of Directors as the club Treasurer.

Tara Chapman is the founder and owner of Two Hives Honey, a beekeeping services and education company located  just east of Austin. A former intelligence officer, Tara gave up a life working in Afghanistan and Pakistan to hang out with bees.  Tara has served as the State Honey Queen Chair for the Texas Beekeepers Association and as the Vice-President of the Travis County Beekeepers Association. An accomplished speaker and educator, she is asked to speak and educate beekeepers across the United States each year, and has taught thousands of beekeepers in her almost ten year tenure. Tara has also taught beekeepers in Malawi and Morocco. Twice a year Two Hives runs an intensive Apprenticeship program, currently in its 14th cohort.  She has been featured on the Today Show, VICE Media, Amtrak's magazine The National, and numerous other state-wide publications. Tara has an upcoming book on beekeeping from the University of Texas Press expected in Spring 2024. Tara has a Level One Certification in Honey Sensory from the American Honey Tasting Society.

Nathalie B. holds an MBA from Ohio State and a Master Beekeeper certification from Texas Apiary Inspection Service. She owns, where she manages almost 400 colonies through several counties around Austin, TX. A passionate and engaging natural beekeeping expert, she offers beekeeping apprenticeships and classes in sustainable and natural beekeeping, as well as professional AG exemption services, affordable horizontal hives, and treatment-free bees. She is a contributor to the American Beekeeping Journal magazine; the founder of the first Natural Beekeeping club in Texas; and of the World Bee Day Natural Beekeeping Webinar. She also hosts the "Natural Beekeeping Corner" on the popular “Hive Jive” beekeeping podcast, as well as weekly segments. In the past she has served as the President of the Hays County Beekeepers Association, VP of the Travis County Beekeepers Association, a Director at the Texas Beekeepers Association, and Chairman of the Real Texas Honey non-profit. Nathalie is passionate about community outreach and volunteering, and has set up free training programs and teaching apiaries for refugees in the Congo, Nigeria, and Texas, donating and leveraging simple, cost conscious, easy to manage and sustainable horizontal frameless hives in the process. Nathalie may be contacted @

Steve Butler lives in Franklin, but will seemingly drive to all corners of the state to do bee removals. In addition to being an expert at structural removals and forced absconds, Steve also holds a Master Electrician license.

Steve Brackmann was raised on a dairy farm in Northern Illinios and lived there until 1985, when he moved to Texas. Steve began his beekeeping career over 25 years ago; starting out by doing over 2400 removals. Today he focuses on being a queen breeder and leasing his hives for Ag Valuation purposes.

George Cates

Brandon Fehrenkamp is the owner of Austin bees and has almost 18 years of experience working with the live removal of honeybees and is in the Texas Master Beekeeper program and enjoys tinkering with gear and top bar hives. He also manages the observation hive at the Austin Nature and Science Center, bleeds orange, and is the mentor for “Beevo”, the t.u. beekeeping club.

Myra Dickey ...

Carolyn Gibson and her husband Gerald are owners of Dogwood Gardens Organic Farm. They were beekeepers until Gerald became allergic to bees and had to give them up. They grow pollinating plants for honey bees. Carolyn, author, organic farmer and family herbalist. She fell in love with herbs and natural healing in the 1970’s. She has been making and using herbal since then. She shares her passion through her books and YOUTUBE channel @CarolynGibosnHerbalist. She is also a contributor writer for The Texas Beekeepers Association Journal. Visit their booths for plants, books and handmade skin products.

Ryan Giesecke is president of Trinity Valley Beekeepers Association and active in the Texas Master Beekeeper Program. Ryan is a sideliner beekeeper in the Dallas area where he runs a small company specializing in live bee removal. He runs foundationless hives and favors naturalistic management practices.

Dr. Kory Gill has been practicing medicine for the last 20 years and beekeeping for the last 10 years. The medical applications of bee products has allowed him to bring together two of his passions.

Nicole Gueck is an Insurance Agent with Specialty Risk Insurance, lives in Franklin, TX and is a hobby beekeeper herself. Prior to becoming an agent, she spent 17 years working in the crop insurance industry developing new products for the USDA Risk Management Agency with most of her work involving specialty crops.

Stan Gore My grandad was a beekeeper who worked hives in Montana where I lived for over 20 years. Currently work over 100 of my own Hives in 4 different counties. I graft and make a few queens. Owner of Texas Honey Bee Rescue where I help folks with their bee issues. I rescue bees, swarms and put them in a box and nurture them. Part of the end process is to mentor/train new beekeepers in order to keep bees alive. One of the goals is to decrease the 80% number that new beekeepers give up after 3 years of beekeeping by providing education and training. On the Board Of Advisors for Central Texas Beekeepers and Hives For Heros. Owner/Admin and Chief Goober of Texas Friendly Beekeepers with over 7,600 members. We run a safe friendly place to hang out and talk bees. Our goals are too educate, equip and encourage new and old beekeepers. We don't allow any trash talking or me monsters on the page. Humility is part of the rules. We openly share our Gooberish mistakes and what we learned and what we hope to learn each day as beekeepers. Beekeeping to me, is my calling my passion, not a hobby. I am a Disciple of Christ disguised as a Beekeeper.

Dennis Herbert is a native central Texan. He attended Texas A&M and Stephen F. Austin where he graduated with a BS in Wildlife Biology. He was employed at Fort Hood for 33 years as Chief of the Natural Resources Management Branch. As a result of his accomplishments at Fort Hood, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association, for his work in wildlife management for the Department of Defense. Also, he was the first civilian to be inducted into the Fort Hood Garrison Hall of Fame for his leadership in natural resource management. Dennis drafted the original legislation for the current bee law that assists small landowners to receive their agricultural valuation if they wish to raise bees on their property. He helped shepherd the bill through the legislature in 2011, it became law on January 1, 2012. He has been a beekeeper in Bell County for 18 years

Dan Jones began his beekeeping journey in 2010 when his neighbor had a colony of bees take up residence within the eaves of his home. From that moment he became curious about the species and their habitat. Soon after, a beekeeper friend invited Dan to join him as he inspected his hives. Two days later Dan assisted in removing a colony of bees from under a trailer house. He was amazed by the entire experience and has been hooked ever since.

Erin Jones is an instructor of Integrated Pest Management in the Agriculture Department at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. Her main focus at the university is entomology however, she also teaches plant pathology, greenhouse management, horticulture, and other plant science classes. Erin also serves as a County Extension Agent specializing in Horticulture for Randall County. She is the President of the Palo Duro Bee Club and a PhD student at West Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on honey bee pollination studies.

Lynne Jones is a small-scale beekeeper in Sealy and owner of Brazos River Honey. She serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Fort Bend Beekeepers Association and is a member of the Central Texas Beekeepers Association. She is an original member of the Real Texas Honey program and is currently at the Advanced level of the Texas Master Beekeeper program. She began her adventure in beekeeping at this very beekeeping school in 2016.

Randy McCaffrey, aka 628DirtRooster, has 32 years as a contractor and structural claims specialist. At the age of forty he developed a fascination with honey bees. He discovered beekeeping after assisting his brother, who is also a beekeeper, with the live removal (cut out) of a bee hive in an old furniture warehouse. In 2010 armed with his knowledge of construction and his newfound fascination with bees he began removing and relocating feral bee colonies from commercial and residential structures along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As of May of 2023, the number of cut outs he has done total more than a thousand and swarm catches total approximately five hundred.
Randy typically keeps forty to fifty colonies. His family, including himself, his father and his brother, keep approximately two hundred and fifty colonies total. He conducts studies in much of his work such as mite count and disease studies in feral or otherwise chemically untreated bee colonies. He video records much of his work and shares this work through social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok to educate, entertain and inspire current and future beekeepers. His work can be found on most large social media platforms under the channel name 628DirtRooster with the tagline “Where Hobby Beekeeping Is a Way Of Life”.

Scott McKane became interested in owning bees in 2011, and after attending a beginner’s beekeeping class that January, he started his journey of becoming a beekeeper with the purchase of his first hive. Over the next few years he studied bees and beehive styles. In 2019 he traveled to Europe to research beekeeping techniques in Slovenia and Germany. In 2020 he moved to the Austin, Texas area. McKane Apiaries is now supplying Austin with hive leasing contracts, colony removals, beekeeping classes, and a hive management service. He is growing the apiary to have a vast array of hive styles found around the world. From the typical Langstroth hive to his favorite Slovenian AZ hive."

Tim Miller operates a 32-acre master planned certified organic permaculture farm in Kyle Texas. Getting his hands dirty at a very young age learning along the way, after college he moved to Austin in 1984 from Wisconsin and realizing then climate change is real. Working at Austin Community Gardens for 9 years he started his farm with over 140 fruit and pecans advocating water conservation without ever pumping any aquifer water. He is the winner of the Blue Legacy award in 2015 for water conservation in Texas as a Producer.

Chris Moore is a former President of the Texas Beekeepers Association. He began beekeeping in 1998 after meeting veteran beekeeper Glen Mace at church. He currently operates a “small” commercial operation with ~2500 colonies in four SE Texas counties. He provides pollination services for California almonds & Texas watermelons.

Dr. Monte Nesbitt is a state-wide fruit specialist from Texas AgriLife Extension at A&M University.

Dr. Ferhat Ozturk is an assistant professor of practice at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He currently supervises the CURE program of the Integrative Biology Department and teaches “Medicinal Properties of Honey” class to undergraduates. Dr. Ozturk specializes in medicinal use of honey with a strong Ph.D. background in gene therapy, molecular and cellular biology, bioinformatics, and biochemistry research. He has taken this knowledge and applied it to the unique biological and chemical makeup of different mono-floral honey from around the world allowing him to unlock the hidden knowledge of age-old wisdom regarding the healing benefits of honey. His current research is helping to identify U.S. based honey sources that contain high bioactivity levels and medicinal properties that can not only compete with but outperform those of current medical grade honeys.

Kyle Patterson recently retired from the College Station Police Department after 29 years in law enforcement. In preparation for his upcoming life of leisure, he began beekeeping when a crazy man knocked on his door and told him he could help him fill up the empty top-bar hive he had sitting in his front yard. So for the past 7 years he has been relocating bees from structures onto his property in Robertson County, where the bees usually decide to live in the trees on his property rather than the nice hives he built for them. But at least he will never have his hives stolen.

Robert Peebles is a graduate of Texas A&M University (pause for whoop) with a degree in Accounting. He is a Systems Engineer by trade with almost 30 years of experience and been building “stuff” for almost 40 years. Have built hundreds of bee hives including standard langstroth, layens, and dozens of long langstroth hives. He calls himself a "newbee beekeeper", but has successfully kept bees for 3 years and has 32 hives.

Taylor Powell is the new Chief Apiary Inspector for the Texas Apiary Inspection Service.

Dr. Juliana Rangel obtained her PhD in 2009 from Cornell University working with Dr. Tom Seeley. In 2010 she joined the laboratory of Dr. David R Tarpy at North Carolina State University as coordinator of the "Born and Bred in North Carolina: Queen-Rearing and Bee Breeding Program" through which she trained over 1,000 beekeepers across several states in the North Eastern United States. In 2010 Dr. Rangel was awarded one of 15 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Biology. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Rangel conducted field and laboratory experiments aimed at determining the mechanisms and causes of queen replacement in honey bees, one of the biggest problem facing the beekeeping industry today. In January 2013 she became Assistant Professor of Apiculture in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2018. Her research program focuses on the biological and environmental factors that influence the reproductive quality of honey bee queens and drones, the population genetics of unmanaged honey bees, and the nutritional ecology of honey bees in a changing landscape.

Ashley Ralph along with her husband Justin, own Prime Bees and Aggieland Honey and has built their business from 1 hive to over 300 in the past two years. Ashley currently serves as a Director on the Texas Beekeepers Association Board of Directors as well as Past-President of Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association where she often teaches both adult and youth classes. She is also very active in promoting bees and beekeeping throughout the state of Texas. Ashley enjoys educating the public, children, and beekeepers of all levels and is passionate about continuing her education in the Texas Master Beekeeper Program.

Skip Richter received his degree in Horticulture from Texas A&M and has been with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service for the past 32 years. He was previously located in Montgomery, Travis, & Harris Counties, but is not stationed back home her in Brazos County. He is a published author (his book is available at his table in the vendor area) as well as writing for The Eagle newspaper and Texas Gardner magazine. He can also be heard on his weekly radio show called “Garden Success” on KAMU.

Justin Russell along with his wife Ashley, own Prime Bees and Aggieland Honey and have built his business from 1 hive to over 300 in the past two years. They have enjoyed helping people create their own apiaries, making honey, and producing healthy bees for beekeepers. They've grown their apiary from 0 to 1200+ hives in a short time, leading to lots of lessons and a chance to play with 10,000,000+ bees on a regular basis! His approach to beekeeping is a practical one and is often focused on saving time, energy, and money. Justin is an Advanced Level Candidate in the Texas Master Beekeeping Program.

Dr. Tonya Shepherd is a Research Specialist in Dr. Juliana Rangel’s lab. She helps with various research projects, mostly mitotyping as well as manages the molecular biology lab. Dr. Shepherd also lectures in the Department of Entomology on Honey Bee Biology, both online and in person.

Katherine Sherrod (Aggie Class of 2013) is a former social studies educator-turned-mama of three little girls under the age of 7. She stays at home with the girls and helps her husband run their company, Greener LawnScapes. A few years ago they got bees to “save money on taxes”, but quickly became obsessed with beekeeping and the beekeeper community. After a challenging first year, Katherine grew her apiary by chasing swarms in her minivan (with all the kids in tow), doing lots of splits, and even tagging along on a removal or two. Now that she has more bees than she knows what to do with, Katherine sells nucs and honey in the Brazos Valley. Above all else, Katherine believes in the power of vulnerability (any Brene Brown fans?!) and uses her story of failure to encourage people to give beekeeping a chance (or two) even if it has a steeper learning curve than you expected.

Blake Shook got started in beekeeping when at 12 years old, he was accepted into a youth beekeeping program in north Texas. By age 17, he became president of that local club and went on to develop Desert Creek Honey into a commercial bee operation as well as starting Texas Bee Supply, which now has offices in north Texas, east of Houston, and east of Austin. Blake is a former president of the Texas Beekeepers Association and a director for the American Beekeeping Federation.

Rex Smith has been beekeeping for 11 years; for the last 9 years as his full-time vocation. His passion for bees started after being challenged to make his garden produce more - without using chemicals. After seeing the differences himself - of a crop without pollinators vs a crop WITH pollinators - he fell in love with the bugs. Rex provides beekeeping services in the form of livestock for land agriculture valuation, honey production and sales, colony sales, and removal of bees from structures. He resides in North Texas and is current President of the Texas Association of Professional Bee Removers trade organization.

Mandy Tabrizi is a County Executive Director with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Texas. She represents Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, and Walker counties. After receiving her Masters in Agricultural Development, she started her service career with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. After 5 years with the TAMU system, she became a trainee with FSA in Falls County. Over a year ago she continued her adventures with the agency to Montana and provided boots on the ground during the historical Yellowstone River Flood in June 2022 for Carbon and Yellowstone counties. She has now returned home to Texas to help producers navigate FSA programs and utilize those programs in the wake of disasters.

Michael Vidrine is a TAMU graduate class of '73 in electrical engineering. He has always had a garden wherever he have lived - northern Brazil (12b), Midwest (6b), three locations in Texas (9a to 8B). Currently growing fruits, vegetables, pecans and bees on 8 acres. Michael is a Texas Master Gardener Certified and teaches various classes on gardening for extension as well as for other organizations.

Ed Veiseh is founder and CEO of Ed's Bee Wrangling, a professional bee removal service that specializes in live and safe honey bee removals and domestication through hiving colonies. Ed is currently servicing as one of the founding board members of the Texas Association of Professional Bee Removers in the role of association Secretary. Ed currently manages over 300 colonies of honeybees in 34 "Ag Valuation yards". If you're wondering, his last name is pronouced "Vey Sa".

Danessa "Nes" Yaschuk is the owner and creator of SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique. She and her husband Brent Yaschuk manage approximately 250 hives and sell their honey products at many retail locations in Houston, TX and surrounding areas. Danessa has served three years as the Vice President for the Fort Bend Beekeepers Association and is currently the Vice Chairman on the Real Texas Honey board as well as an Administrative Assistant for the Real Texas Honey Program. Danessa’s passion for bees began at an early age. She would catch and release bees in her front yard for fun. Little did she know that one day she would become a full-time beekeeper and pollinator advocate. Nor did Brent for that matter! He is now elbow deep in bees and honey with her! Danessa’s love of bees and beekeeping and his love of business combined has made them an awesome team! They are honored to share their knowledge about Honey Extraction with you!