Meet the Board, Staff, and Advisors

The Board of Directors


Bret Adee- President
Bret grew up in a beekeeping family – his father, grandfather and four uncles were involved in the bee business. Family get-togethers were mini beekeeping conferences where the primary topics were bee management, queen selection and disease control. Bret graduated in 1984 with a degree in accounting and entered the family business in 1986 as a full-time beekeeper. In 1991, Bret entered the California pollination business with contracts for 2,000 hives of bees. That figure has grown to 60,000+ hives in California.  At present Mr. Adee has bees in 10 states. Bret has been active in the South Dakota Beekeepers Association, serving as Secretary and Treasurer for a number of years.  He was a representative to the National Honey Board election committee and alternate for the Area Three Board of Directors. Bret has served as the AHPA representative to the National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) beginning January 2010, and was appointed co-chair of NHBAB in June 2010. Additionally, he has been the co-chair of the Pollinator Protection Work Group of the EPA Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC).


Rick Smith- Vice-President
Thomas R. (Rick) Smith is a native Arizonan. He and his wife Mary, of 38 years, operate a commercial beekeeping business and 500 acres of farm land irrigated from the Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona. He received a B. A. degree from the University of Arizona majoring in Biology with minors in Range and Watershed Management. He has been a Sioux Honey Association member for 37 years. Rick is a fifth generation beekeeper. Four generations ago the family discovered that farming and beekeeping worked together well. Cotton and Durum wheat are the major crops that they grow today. Rick is a Private Applicator and Fumigator and applies many of the farm chemicals used on the farm. They have two children, Justin and Stacey, both married and two grandchildren. He enjoys hunting and saltwater fishing as hobbies.


Steven Coy- Secretary/Treasurer
Steven Coy is a third generation commercial beekeeper and honey producer. He is a owner of Coy Bee Company. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Plant Science and a Master’s Degree in Biology, both from Arkansas State University. He is a charter member and current President of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association as well as an Executive Board member of the AHPA. Steven manages the queen rearing and honey production in southern Mississippi. In addition to his work as a beekeeper, he also worked as a research assistant on the control of Tarnished Plant Bug in Cotton at ASU, and as a research technician at the USDA Biological Control Research Unit in Stoneville, MS.


Jeff Anderson- California-Minnesota Honey Farms
Jeff Anderson was born and raised on a dairy farm in Minnesota, he is familiar with the need for, and has applied crop protection products. After graduating high school he changed from ‘farming’ cows to bees and currently owns and operates California Minnesota Honey Farms, a family run commercial migratory bee operation. CMHF bees are utilized early spring in California pollinating almonds, early and late blooming cherries, and apples. Bees are then moved to Minnesota for summer honey production. Jeff brings some hard earned understanding of the legal system to this group as his operation had a fight for its life with International Paper and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the early 2000’s over pesticide misuse on hybrid poplar tree plantations in Central Minnesota. During that 5 year fight Jeff lost about 11,000 of the 5000 hives he ran to pesticides.  One of the interesting outcomes of the settlement negotiations was a brochure produced by the Minnesota DNR for its foresters, Protecting Pollinators in Minnesota Woodlands. Jeff became involved with NDPF as pesticides are again threatening, this time not just “California Minnesota Honey Farms”, but beekeepers nation wide. On rare occasions when Jeff can be pried away from his bees and seeing to their well being, he can be found with his wife (of 36 years) Christine, his kids and grandkids chasing gecko lizards across sand in Southern California or dipping his paddle in one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.


Zac Browning- Browning Honey Company

Zac Browning is a fourth generation commercial beekeeper from Jamestown, North Dakota. His business is engaged in honey production and crop pollination in North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, and California. Zac is a past president and current legislative committee member of the American Beekeeping Federation. He also serves on the EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue committee pollinator work group and was recently the North American beekeeper representative at SETACs Pellston global pollinator toxicology workshop. Zac actively contributes to pollinator research and is a current board member of the National Honey Board and Project Apis Melifera (PAM) and serves on their respective research committees.


Beth Conrey

Beth Conrey, Bee Squared Apiaries
Beth places hives in multiple counties in Colorado, and owns Bee Squared Apiaries which produces honey, beeswax candles, and all natural soap.  She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1981, and a Master of Business Administration in 1982.  Previous to beekeeping, time career in food service.  She has been married to Michael for 33 years.  They have 2 sons, Patrick (21) and Christopher (17).

Bill Rhodes

Bill Rhodes. Bill Rhodes Honey Co.

Bill is one of Florida’s leading honey producers and the owner of Bill Rhodes Honey Company. The Umatilla business began as a one-man operation in the early 1970s after Bill returned home following a two-year career in the Canadian Football League.  “I got interested in the bee business through a friend,” says the former Florida State University lineman. “I started with 50 hives and before I knew it I had 400.”  Today, he has anywhere between 8,000 and 10,000 hives and 15 employees. He has a plant in South Dakota as well as a farm in Georgia where he “runs” the bees. He also pays “bee rent” to farmers who want their crops pollinated. His company produces 1,500 to 2,500 drums of honey annually, but those numbers can fluctuate wildly from year to year because of weather and a variety of other factors.  “Bill was instrumental in helping Florida become the first state in the nation in 2009 to set industry standards,” says Doug McGinnis, co-owner of Tropical Blossom Honey Co. in Edgewater. “He is passionate about making sure honey is pure, and we need more beekeepers like him.”  When Bill has a bit of downtime from producing honey, the Umatilla native enjoys spending time with his wife, Anna, and their grandchildren. Their son Billy manages the family’s farm in Quincy, Florida, and their other son, Bobby, is a local contractor and proprietor of a solar energy company. When the family isn’t discussing business, they are talking football—both sons followed in their father’s footsteps as FSU players in the late ‘90s.

Program Director

Colopy photo

Michele Colopy has more than seventeen years of experience in a variety of nonprofit organizations.  She holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The University of Akron.  Her experience includes organizations in the performing arts, housing and homelessness, foreclosure prevention, community development, and health and wellness. Her father raised bees for his small apple orchard in Ohio, and she helped with the honey harvest.  She manages her own bees in the city.



Susan Kegley-Pesticide Research Institute, Inc.
Susan Kegley is a beginning beekeeper and a PhD organic chemist with a strong interest in the effects of pesticides on pollinators. She runs Pesticide Research Institute, Inc. (PRI), a consulting business in Berkeley, CA with a focus on how pesticides move through the environment after they are applied, and the effects they have on humans and the environment. She works with beekeepers to provide guidance on how pollinators may be exposed to pesticides and which pesticides are likely to be most problematic for bees.  In 2012, Susan and the PRI staff worked with commercial beekeepers to develop a survey to assess which crops are most correlated with acute bee kills, and will be continuing that work to refine the analysis. She is currently a member of the EPA Pesticide Program Dialog Committee, providing stakeholder input to US EPA on pesticide policies and risk assessment. Susan lives in Berkeley with her husband Geoff, where they have a large garden, two cats, 11 chickens, and two beehives.


Pollinator Stewardship Council, Inc.

1624 Idlewood Ave., Akron, OH 44313