Guest Speakers



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.



Marie Simmons

Marie Simmons is an award-winning cookbook author, food writer and story-teller. She is a passionate and dedicated cook inspired by other great home cooks. Included in her body of work is a column written for Bon Appetit, or one of the many cookbooks she’s written including: The Good Egg and Lighter Quicker Better, Fresh & Fast, Fig Heaven, the Amazing World of Rice. But perhaps her most well know is the Taste of Honey book in which she explores the varietals and nuances of cooking with honey.


Frank Golbeck

CEO, Co-Founder, Head Mead Maker / UC Berkeley, Naval Officer

Frank’s love for mead started with his grandfather. He was an apple rancher in Oak Glen, California. He retired from apple ranching and stayed busy making fruit wine and hard cider, grape wine and some mead.

Frank’s first memory of mead was at 8 years old, peeking over the back of the bar while his grandfather poured samples of mead to people. They were laughing and having a great time.

As he grew older Frank read Tolkien and Beowulf. Shakespeare and Harry Potter… Mead kept coming up in these epic tales. Then, when he was home from college, his grandfather gifted him the last bottle of his mead. 12 years aged.

He took his grandfather’s mead to university and shared it with his friends and his now wife. Frank started making mead and discovered more about its magic, and the way it made people dance.

Frank was in the navy after graduating from UC Berkeley and was able to collect honey from all over the world. One day, his wife asked what he would do with all of the time, money and energy in the world. He told her he wanted to make mead and share it with people. He has done just that.

Toby Barajas

Although professionally trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Toby Barajas got his culinary start early but working in his parents’ Mexican restaurant in Knights Landing. Now the executive chef at Savory Café on Main Street in Downtown Woodland, Toby says he is always inspired by food fresh from the farm and that includes honey from local beehives. Toby is an engaging and wonderful speaker who delights in teaching others how to cook.




Casey D. Willard

Chef Casey D. Willard is the executive chef for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and grew up in Northern California surrounded by abundant farms and fields. Trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Casey has worked in top restaurants across the nation before coming back to Northern California to create the food program for the Tribe’s school, Tribal council and community activities. Working with the Tribe’s culinary brand, Seka Hills, Casey has access to unique honey flavors crafted from hives that populate the tribal lands. His cooking is informed by his early farm-to-table experiences in his grandfather’s garden and he loves teaching others how to use fresh ingredients to make great meals.

Stanislav “Stazi” Dulman CEC, CCE, CMT
Corporate Executive Chef at Nugget Markets

With years of experience as a chef, teacher and innovator, Executive Chef Stazi Dulman is right at home at Nugget Markets. Along with developing new dishes and programs, he leads each store’s chef de cuisine and kitchen team in the quest for constant culinary improvement. Bringing his passion for food to the table every day, he goes above and beyond to give Nugget Markets’ guests a gourmet grocery experience.​





Ellen Zagory serves as a spokesperson for the UC Davis Arboretum in their education and outreach program promoting more sustainable garden plants and practices.
She has appeared on Hewell Howser’s PBS Road trip, DIY TV and KFBK’s Get Growing with Farmer Fred. She also has written a series for Pacific Horticulture Magazine on the UC Davis Arboretum All Star program, and travels the state lecturing to UCCE master Gardeners and regional garden clubs about beautiful heat-tolerant and low-water-use plants. A resident and gardener in the Central Valley for the past 24 years and a knowledgeable horticulturist, she recently has become more interested in the interactions our gardens have with the fauna of surrounding wild lands, and how our constructed landscapes can help support the biodiversity of native insects and other wildlife


Dr. Christine Casey

As the Program Representative for the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the University of California, Davis, Christine manages the operations, outreach and education program of a pollinator eduation and research garden that has 5000 visitors per year. With a PhD in entomology from UC Davis, Christine has a long history of working with gardeners and sharing important information about pollinators such as honey bees.