Conference Speakers

The 2021 SAAA Conference will feature a range of local, interstate and international speakers.

Speaker Profiles

The SAAA is pleased to introduce prospective conference delegates to the team of international and national speakers who have very kindly agreed to participate in our conference either by Zoom or Face-to-Face. These presenters will be joined by an exciting team of local speakers, whose involvement will be confirmed in the very near future. The photos and bios of new speakers will then be added to this page.

Dr Jamie Ellis

Jamie Ellis is the Gahan Endowed Professor of Entomology in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida. He has a BS degree in Biology from the University of Georgia (USA) and a PhD in Entomology from Rhodes University in South Africa. At the University of Florida, Jamie has responsibilities in Extension, instruction, and research.

Regarding his Extension work, Jamie created the UF/IFAS Bee College and the UF/IFAS Master Beekeeper Program. As an instructor, Jamie supervises PhD and Masters’ students. Currently, Jamie and his team have over 30 active research projects in the fields of honey bee husbandry, conservation and ecology, and integrated crop pollination.

Randy Oliver

Randy Oliver owns and operates a small commercial beekeeping enterprise in the foothills of Grass Valley in Northern California. He and his two sons manage around 1500 colonies for migratory pollination and produce queens, nucs, and honey. He has over 50 years of practical beekeeping experience, plus holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biological Sciences.

Randy analyses and digests beekeeping information from all over the world, as well as performing field research of his own, in order to not only broaden his own depth of understanding and knowledge, but to develop practical solutions to many of today’s beekeeping problems, which he then shares with other beekeepers through his various articles in bee magazines, his speaking engagements worldwide, and on his website: www.scientificbeekeeping.com

Lindsay Bourke

Lindsay Bourke is the ‘face’ of Tasmania’s valuable honey industry, highly regarded as both a world class producer and industry leader. Also a successful businessman with an extensive property portfolio, including hotels, he has served on high powered boards.

Lindsay’s passion for beekeeping was sparked during his early 20’s, and today he is the proud owner of Australia’s largest, and most technologically advanced, honey extraction plant which is located at Sheffield. His company, Australian Honey Products, now boasts more than 4,000 hives, and is also
the country’s largest multi-variety crop pollinator.

Internationally recognised with accolades at the honey industry’s premier event, Lindsay’s leatherwood honey was named world’s best at APIMONDIA South Korea in 2015, and in 2017 his honey mead won world’s best at APIMONDIA Turkey.

National accolades have included, Australia’s best honey; National Export Award for Agribusiness; and National Biosecurity Farmer of the Year.

Lindsay is also a passionate industry leader, serving as Australian Honey-Bee Industry Council Chairman; Tasmanian Beekeepers Association President; National Disease & Quarantine Committee Chairman; and Australian Crop Pollinators Chairman.

Bruce White OAM

Bruce White started his interest in bees while still at school and was encouraged by doing a beekeeping project with Junior Farmers who had supervisors as part of the Education Department. Being in Junior Farmers also developed an interest in showing produce at Agricultural shows. This led to decades of love and dedication to the apiculture industry and currently is the Chief Judge for the Sydney Royal Easter Show, National Honey Show. In 2018 Bruce was named RAS show legend – the highest RAS award.

Bruce spent 41 years in NSW DPI retiring as Technical Specialist (Apiculture).
Since retiring, Bruce has donated countless hours of running education programs on Biosecurity, Colony Management and Flora. He has also conducted Honey Tutorials to train Honey Judges and was invited as an International Judge to Apimondia in the Ukraine to judge honey. Bruce c0-wrote the original Certificate III in Beekeeping and has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. 

Bruce is currently the Biosecurity Officer and a past President of the NSW Amateur Beekeepers’ Association that has a current membership of 4,500 members and thirty three clubs. He has been involved in overseas aid projects in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, United Arab Emirates, Thailand and last year Uganda.

Bruce managed the honey bee quarantine station and was part of a government delegation to exchange beekeeping knowledge with the Russian Federation and bought back Russian Caucasian stock into quarantine.
He was involved in a number of research projects, the most significant of which was the irradiation of beekeeping equipment to eradicate American Foul Brood spores from material and the chemical control of Small Hive Beetle.

Bruce is currently involved in a project to produce videos on various  beekeeping topics for the Illawarra Beekeepers for distribution on YouTube.

Trevor Weatherhead AM

Married to Ann, Peter has four adult children, nine grandchildren and lives
in Barmera.

Peter was first elected to Council in 1987 with the District Council of Barmera and continued until 1993 when he and his family moved to Berri and did not seek re-election. He decided to nominate as a Councillor again with the Berri Barmera Council in 2000 where he has remained. In November 2006, Peter was successful in becoming Mayor, a position that he holds with great honour and respect and will continue at least until 2022.

Diana Leemon

Dr Diana Leemon recently retired from the Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries where she was a research scientist specialising in the biological control of agricultural pests for 21 years. During that time Diana led three AgriFutures Australia (formerly RIRDC) funded projects investigating the control of Small Hive Beetle. Diana now acts as an advisor to a number of research projects involving both honeybee pests and diseases and the biological control of agricultural pests. She is also serving her second term as a member of the AgriFutures Australia Honey Bee and Pollination industry advisory panel.

Trevor Weatherhead AM

Trevor started keeping honey bees in 1972. He spent time in the Queensland Forestry Department (1967 to 1983), and in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries as an Apiary Officer from 1983 to 1988.

In 1988 he started a partnership with his wife Marion, breeding queen bees for the domestic and overseas markets, plus honey production until the business was sold in 2012.

Trevor has been active in the beekeeping industry since joining the Queensland Beekeepers’ Association in 1977.

Positions and achievements in the industry have included:

  • President and Life Member of the Queensland Beekeepers’ Association (QBA), plus President of the Brisbane Branch of the QBA.
  • President and Secretary of the Australian Queen Bee Breeders’ Association.
  • Active in securing markets for queen bees overseas in such places as Canada and the USA, when it was open.
  • Treasurer of the Federal Council of Australian Apiarists’ Association.
  • Secretary for the Second and Third Australian Bee Congresses held in 1988 and 2018.
  • Involvement with the Brisbane Show (Ekka) since 1979.
  • Filled many roles as the Honey Court Manager, Honorary Council Steward and honey judge.
  • Executive Director of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council from 2012 to 2019 plus several terms on the Executive prior to taking on the Executive Director role. Awarded the Goodacre Memorial Award for Meritorious Service to Apiculture in 2002.
  • Active in biosecurity within the industry and awarded the David Banks Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
  • Made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2018 for services to the beekeeping industry, particularly in biosecurity.

Helen GoodalL

Helen comes to AHBIC with over fifteen years experience within the not for profit sector, holding senior management and executive level positions. She began her career working for the ANZ Bank, followed by roles in finance and program management. 

Helen is a strong business development professional with a Masters degree focused in Business from the University of NSW (UNSW). She also holds a Graduate Certificate of Management from UNSW and is a member of Women on Boards. Being enthusiastic about making a difference and with a common sense and hard work approach, Helen is keen to enhance and build on the work of AHBIC for the benefit of the honey bee industry.

Dr Madlen Kratz

Madlen’s background is in research on honey bee nutrition, foraging behaviour and pollination. During her PhD she studied the effects of nutrition on colony health and crop pollination efficiency. Since last year, she joined the Department of Primary Industries in NSW at the Tocal Agriculture Centre. In her role as the Honey Bee Industry Development Officer she is focusing on applied research to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the beekeeping industry. She is currently conducting research on the palatability and utilisation of protein supplements, and on honey bee pollination of blueberries grown under protective covers. 

Kevin Tracy

Kevin Tracy has worked across a range of beekeeping practices, including honey production and selling, pollination of crops, and Queen bee production and breeding. He holds a Certificate III in Beekeeping, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is a member of the SAAA, QBA, NSWAA, AQBBA and ABA. Kevin has also invested time working with Trainees entering commercial beekeeping. 

Some SAAA members may have previously taken courses with Kevin as the Trainer. Last October Kevin trained Beekeepers in South Australia (Adelaide, Kangaroo Island) for the SAAA, equipping people for producing their own Queen bees.

Kevin has recently resigned from working at Tocal College, NSW, where he has been a Lead Trainer/Educator in the Certificate III in Beekeeping .

In the near future, Kevin will be moving to Queensland where he will be working with Foundation Training Australia (FTA) as the trainer for the Certificate III in Beekeeping.  He also intends to work privately on a more advanced training course focusing on Queen bee breeding and production.

Dr Nadine Chapman

Dr Nadine Chapman is a researcher at the University of Sydney with a primary focus on applied research of interest to the Australian beekeeping industry. Currently Nadine is working on the Plan Bee National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program and she volunteers for the extensionAUS Professional Beekeepers’ Community of Practice. Nadine is passionate about bees and the
beekeeping industry and communicating the latest research on matters of importance or interest to beekeepers.

Nadine received first class honours and the Spencer Smith White Prize for her work on task specialisation in honey bees with Ben Oldroyd and Bill Hughes in 2004. Nadine completed a PhD on worker reproductive parasitism in three species of honeybee at the University of Sydney in 2009, supervised by Ben Oldroyd and Madeleine Beekman, winning the Jabez King Heydon Memorial Prize for this work.

Since then, Nadine has worked on industry-funded projects, including creating a genetic test for Africanized killer bees, investigating queen mating quality and working on a trap to catch queens. The killer bee test resulted in a CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship Science and Innovation.

Nadine won an Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and a spot in the finals for the Rural Research and Development Corporation’s Eureka Prize for Rural Innovation in 2015. 

Jamie Ayton

Jamie joined NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) in 1995. He completed a Masters Degree at the University of Western Sydney in 2006. The main focus of his thesis was investigating the effects of irrigation and harvest timing on olive oil quality.
 
Jamie is a member of the NSW DPI team which currently holds accreditation from the International Olive Council (IOC) and is an Approved Chemist with the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS). He completed a comprehensive literature review on the chemistry of honey for the Australian Honey Industry in 2018. He is also a member of the technical committees for Standards Australia, Codex Alimentarius, US Pharmacopeia and the Australian Oil Seeds Federation.
 
Jamie and his team hold ISO17025 accreditation from NATA for laboratory quality assurance and has published several scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as comprehensive reports for funding bodies.

Don Muir

Don Muir is a Director of B-QUAL Australia. He is also the Project Manager for the Australian Honey Library Project which is being delivered in collaboration with Dr Liz Barbour (CRCHBP), Professor Sharon Purchase (University of Western Australia) and a team of exceptional researchers.

Don is a member of the GS1 Traceability Steering Committee and a Reference Group member of the Hort Innovation Project PH17001. He is also a member of the Victorian Apiarists’ Association Constitutional Committee.

Elizabeth Frost

Elizabeth Frost is the Technical Specialist Honey Bees with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

In this role, Liz manages research and development projects with outcomes for the NSW Beekeeping Industry focusing on queen bee breeding and pollination. She also provides technical advice to the beekeeping industry, government, media and the public, and contributes to the delivery of accredited courses through the registered training organisation – Tocal Agricultural College in the specialist areas of queen bee breeding and insemination and pollination.

Kelly Menadue

Kelly Menadue is the Program Manager, Bushfire Recovery, Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA)

The bushfires of the summer of 2019/20 had a significant impact on key South Australian primary production sectors. The collective impact of these fires was directly felt by an estimated 1200 primary production businesses across more than 184,000 hectares. The Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) worked closely with impacted industries and communities during the initial response to these fires. Almost 18 months later, this work continues with PIRSA working closely with key industries and communities to identify opportunities to support recovery and build resilience to future events.

Deidre Jaensch

Deidre is the Industry Development Manager – Almond Board of Australia.
Deidre joined the ABA in October 2019 as Industry Development manager. She holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and has worked in irrigated horticulture within the government, industry and private sectors for over 28 years. Deidre manages the research and development program working with growers, researchers, suppliers and service providers and industry collaborators to enhance industry’s competitiveness and further development in line with the almond industry strategic plan.

Deidre and the Industry Development team have worked closely with apiarists and growers to develop a range of products (videos; webinars; guidelines) on best management practice for almond growers who are looking after bees while they pollinate their orchards. https://australianalmonds.com.au/topic/pollination/?v=6cc98ba2045f

The ABA is a gold+ friend of AHBIC, and supports the bee keeping industry to encourage high health hives for pollination services.

Marc Webb

Marc served almost 18 years in intelligence roles within the air force, including domestic operations and middle eastern deployments. After suffering an injury in Afghanistan that was the precursor to his medical discharge and subsequent diagnosis of PTSD, Marc accidentally found solace in the world of honey bees. Today he runs Aristaeus Farms with his wife and daughters, a Permaculture Farm in the Adelaide Hills where everything they do can be linked back to bees in some way. In 2021 they launched “Hives for Heroes”, a not-for-profit network linking veterans with beekeeping mentors to aid in their recovery and return to civilian life.

Helen SMITH

Since joining Rural Solutions last year, Helen has led teams in developing engagement strategies across a number of projects. With consulting experience in the private sector, she supports colleagues in building partnerships and collaborative solutions. The Pollination project has been an opportunity to explore a range of issues and challenges currently facing the industry sector.

Claire DEnnerlEy

Claire is a sustainable agriculture professional working across South Australia. She is passionate about South Australian producers realising their highest value in a progressive industry. Claire has diversified her project delivery experience to include soil, pastures, livestock, dung beetles, cropping, seed production, markets and now bees.

Bonnie Armour

Bonnie started with PIRSA in June 2020 as a Graduate Sustainable Agriculture Consultant, based in Nuriootpa. She has worked across the board on hot topics such as carbon farming, regenerative agriculture, soil acidity, soil erosion and pollination. Having a couple of hives herself and growing up in a family of apiarists, sparked her love for the practice and so working with Claire and Helen as well as the apiary industry has been an absolute thrill. She hopes to continue to work in this area and see it flourish and thrive.

Brenton Davis

Brenton Davis grew up on the family farm on Kangaroo Island and helped his father, Peter, with the beekeeping and honey extraction that supplemented their mixed farming enterprise.

Earliest memories include extracting with a 2 frame manual Pender extractor and at age ten, getting many stings after opening a hive without smoke to impress a backpacker from Sweden.

A fulltime beekeeper from 2001 – 2010, Brenton then concentrated on growing the adventure tourism business of Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action (KIOA) which he had purchased just prior to the 2007 fires on Kangaroo Island.

Brenton, and his partner, Verity, have since built Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action into one of the premier adventure tourism businesses in South Australia, winning multiple awards and employing up to fifteen people during the peak season.

Following the bushfires of 2020, Peter Davis decided it was time to retire and Brenton and Verity agreed to purchase Island Beehive.
Island Beehive currently manages around 750 hives and operates an extraction facility and retail outlet on Kangaroo Island.

With close to 50% of the beehives on KI being lost in the bushfires and nearly half of the island burnt including most of the native vegetation, the recovery of the apiary industry will be an ongoing process.

Brenton is excited to again be working with the bees and sees great opportunities for the future providing we can protect and promote the Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee Sanctuary and the apiary industry of the island, our state, and Australia.

Michael Stedman

Michael Stedman is the Program Coordinator – Apiaries for the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). He has been involved with primary industries in many areas, including scientifically and commercially with a range of pollinators including species of honeybees, bumblebees, leafcutter bees, mason bees, and flies in New Zealand, America, Canada, Israel, Denmark and India.

In line with PIRSA’s strategic objectives to prepare for, prevent where possible and respond to emergency events and the long-term risks that threaten South Australia’s primary industries and regional communities, his role within the Apiary Unit includes working with government, the honeybee industry and allied industries, and the public across a range of industry programs and issues. Some specific roles include managing and implementing the SA components of the National Bee Biosecurity Program and the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, developing policy, providing extension and advice, improving industry biosecurity, and auditing compliance.

Brett Simes

Brett Simes is a Senior Policy Officer in the Department for Environment and Heritage where he develops strategy and policy primarily associated with access and use of the state’s National Parks and protected area estate.
Brett joined the department in 2002 after an 18 year career in retail and commercial banking. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Management from Uni SA and has worked on a wide range of strategic park management policies ranging from mountain biking and whale watching, right through to cage diving with white sharks.

Brett thrives on resolving the complex and often competing issues that emerge when looking to balance the conservation and use of protected areas. Brett possesses strong analytical skills which he believes are the foundation to critical thinking and problem solving in what can often be a challenging environment and looks forward to being able to resolve the bees on park puzzle.