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.

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.

Nathalie B. is a Master Beekeeper, the host of the Natural Beekeeping Corner on the popular podcast, “The Hive Jive”, as well as the Vice-President of the Hays County Beekeepers Association, a thriving Treatment-Free focused beekeeping organization she started in Austin. She organizes the popular annual World Bee Day Natural Beekeeping Webinar. She is also the Founder of Bee Mindful, LLC, a Professional Beekeeping Services company that offers a comprehensive Apprenticeship for those serious about either becoming a proficient backyard beekeeper or bootstrapping a beekeeping business. True to her passion for community outreach, she has worked extensively with underserved rural communities when she was hired by the Congolese government to set up a training apiary, then design and lead a country-wide beekeeping training program as a means to improve the local economy and create opportunities for rural communities. This in turn inspired her to create, a thriving Beekeeping Training program for Congolese Women Refugees and a Youth scholarship for their children at Shamba Ya Amani, The Farm Of Peace, in Houston.

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 Ill 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 for the last 10. Have done over 2400 removals its how i got started.

George Cates

Brandon Fehrenkamp is the owner of Austin bees and has almost 15 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 and is the mentor for “Beevo”, the t.u. beekeeping club.

Jordan Twombly Ellis received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Insect Biology where he studied how Varroa mites affect honey bee development and behavior. He is now a third year PhD student in Dr. Rangel's honey bee lab where he studies premature self-removal behavior of honey bees.

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.

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 15 years

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. Though it seems like more than six years ago, she began her adventure in beekeeping at this very beekeeping school in 2016.

Todd Marquardt is the sole owner and managing attorney of Marquardt Law Firm, P.C, with offices in both Texas and New Mexico. His main mission is to help adult children care for their elderly parents and to advocate for business owners using his God-given talents. He has expanded his legal expertise to include his hobby of beekeeping, and willingly shares this with fellow beekeepers.

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.

Cyrus Nasr owns and operates Hive Bee Farm, a local producer of Honeycomb and Honey in the Houston area. Sandi Murray and Cyrus Nasr specialize in treatment free colonies in partnership with organic farms to create high quality honey products for our communities and local restaurants. Hive Bee Farm started in 2016 with 2 hives in their Garden Oaks backyard and has expanded to 150 colonies over five locations. Passionate about the health of our communities and honey bees, we provide Apitherapy coaching and Beekeeping Workshops to those looking to deepen their experiences in apiculture. They also sell honey directly to restaurants, at the Farmers markets, and offer agricultural property tax valuation services.

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 was born in Columbia, South America. She obtained a BS degree in 2004 from the program of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at the University of California, San Diego. In 2010 she obtained a Ph.D. from the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. From 2010-2013 she worked as an National Science Foundation Postdoctoral and Research Fellow at North Carolina State University, and as coordinator of the North Carolina Queen-Rearing and Bee-Breeding program, training over 2,000 beekeepers. In January 2013, Juliana became Assistant Professor of Apiculture in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. Her research program focuses on the biological and population genetics of feral honey bees, and the quality and diversity of floral sources collected by honey bees in developed areas across the country. She is also an active member of the Texas Beekeepers Association and has spoken to numerous beekeeping associations in Texas and across the USA. She was the 2014 President of the American Association of Professional Apiculturists.

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 Senior Research Associate 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.

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.

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!