Meet the Board, Staff, and Advisors

The Board of Directors


BretAdeeBret Adee- President
Bret grew up in a beekeeping family – his father, grandfather and four uncles were involved in the bee business. 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. 


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARick Smith- Vice-President
Thomas R. (Rick) Smith is a native Arizonan. He and his wife Mary, 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. Rick is a Private Applicator and Fumigator and applies many of the farm chemicals used on the farm.



Beth ConreyBeth Conrey, Treasurer, 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).


Jeff_AndersonJeff 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.  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.


zacbrowningZac Browning- Browning Honey Company–Zac 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.




Steve Ellis, is a Minnesota beekeeper and owner of Old Mill Honey Co.. He has served on the National Honey Bee Advisory Board for many years.  He has extensive knowledge of pesticide issues concerning pollinators.


Jim Garrison is the president of Tennessee Beekeepers Association. He has served in several leadership roles of beekeeping organizations in the State of Tennessee and the surrounding States.  Jim keeps honey bees as a sideliner/backyard beekeeper in Tennessee.


Robert (Bob) McDonell is a backyard beekeeper in Illinois with 40 consecutive years of beekeeping experience.

David Miksa, a Florida beekeeper, is a producer of queen bees and queen cells.


Bill RhodesBill 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.  “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.”


Program Director

Colopy photoMichele 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.

Science Advisor

Skegley_9961Susan 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.


Pollinator Stewardship Council, Inc.

1624 Idlewood Ave., Akron, OH 44313