Beekeeper Stage






Billy Synk

Director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m. works with growers in California to help them integrate bee forage into their operations.  He manages the ‘Seeds for Bees’ bee forage cover crop project. Billy comes to us from UC Davis, where he managed bees and participated in bee research projects with Drs. Brian Johnson, Neal Williams and Elina Niño.  He was trained in beekeeping by noted bee breeder-geneticist Sue Cobey at the Ohio State University, where he received a BS in environmental policy and management.  Billy worked with photographer Anand Varma on the “Quest for a Superbee” article published in the May 2015 edition of National Geographic and the incredible honey bee metamorphosis video.

Dr. Elina L. Nino

Niño, an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, specializes in apiculture. Niño completed her Ph.D. in entomology at The Pennsylvania State University before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2014. Her research interests are: Honey bee biology, health, and reproduction, pollination biology, insect ecology, evolution, genomics, chemical ecology and reproductive physiology.

James E. Sherman
Pollinator Partnership

A graduate of UC Berkeley in evolutionary biology, Jamie has been an energy project financier, C-level finance and operations manager, and water resource executive. He has also served on the boards of private and not for profit organizations, the later in chairman and development roles. In addition to natural history, Jamie enjoys fishing, ranching, sailing and woodworking. A fifth generation San Franciscan, he has lived and worked in Chicago, London, Sydney, and Los Angeles during his career. Jamie is married to his high school sweetheart, and is the father of three children, and a faithful Labrador.

As managing Director of the Pollinator Partnership in San Francisco, Jamie has met extensively with beekeepers, honey producers, and agricultural groups to discuss honey bee health and pollination practices. He is currently leading the Bee Friendly Farming  program, and working with the team developing a national bee mite census that will be rolled out this spring across North America.  Jamie is responsible for friend-making and fund-raising at Pollinator Partnership, and is pleased to discuss both of those with you!

Margaret Lombard, Executive Director, National Honey Board

In her nearly 25 years in the food industry, Margaret has held a variety of leadership positions, including Vice President of Marketing for Raley’s Supermarkets and Vice President of Shopper Marketing for a national advertising agency. She has a proven track record for successfully driving innovation and growth. Her past clients include Mission Foods, Blue Diamond Almonds and Avocados from Mexico. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Design from the University of California Davis, and a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University Sacramento. Her background in food and her commodity board experience make her ideally suited to lead the next phase of the NHB’s growth and success.

Gene Brandi

Gene Brandi has operated a bee business in Central California for honey production, as well as pollination of almonds, alfalfa seed, cherries, and melons for the past 40 years. He as been on the Board of Directors for the California State Beekeepers Association since 1978, and he has served as its Legislative Chairman. Mr. Brandi served on the Board for the American Beekeeping Federation from 1988-1992 and was chairman of the National Honey Board from 2001 – 2004. Gene is the current President of the American Beekeeping Federation.