Don Shump – President: Philadelphia resident, husband & father of 3 (soon to be 4) boys . I’m the owner of the Philadelphia Bee Co., specializing in honey production, bee removals and educational outreach. I got my start in beekeeping more than 8 years ago. I volunteered my time in the Southwark/Queens Village Community Garden managing their quarter century-old apiary. The following season I started my own hives in Delaware County & later moved all of them within the city limits. I left my job as a web developer to start the Philadelphia Bee Co, now managing more than a dozen apiaries in Philadelphia
My main yard is in West Philadelphia and consisted of more than 30 hives this year. I still manage bees at the community garden in Queens Village and am the head beekeeper at Greensgrow Farms in Kensington. My company is made up of three parts. We produce honey which we sell to residents and local businesses, including Paradiso, Sofitel Hotel, Franklin Fountain, and Cookie Confidential. We also handle bee removals throughout the tri-state area. Finally, we offer educational programs and outreach to teach others about the importance of bees and beekeeping. I’ve given talks to schools, libraries and institutions including the Barnes Foundation and will be returning to present on opening day at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
I believe that the Guild is a vital resource for beekeepers in the region and should be one of Pennsylvania’s strongest beekeeping organizations. My experience as a full time beekeeper, as well as being the Vice President for two years will be a boon for the Guild and its members. It is my hope that I can apply my deep passion about bees and beekeeping to the benefit of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild.
Dave Harrod – Vice President: I live in East Mt. Airy and was involved in the early meetings of the group that became the Guild. I served on the board in the position of Minister of Propaganda for about a year. It seems that the Guild has eliminated that position for some reason! I started the Philadelphia Beekeepers Facebook group before the Guild formed and after it became a thing I dedicated it to the Guild. I still maintain it.
I’ve been keeping bees since 2006 and currently have two apiaries in Roxborough with about 15 colonies total. My long term goal as a beekeeper is to have the bees provide part of my livelihood after I retire.
As Vice President I intend to nurture the amazing work that the Guild has done in terms of outreach and education. This work has made the Guild a recognized player in the food and horticultural communities of Philadelphia and beyond. We have an opportunity to build on this success and I think it’s very important to focus on efforts that will – in the long run – make Philadelphia safe for professional beekeeping. The next steps to creating a Philadelphia that is the first great beekeeping city include: expand the Guild’s fledgling queen rearing program, support a nucleus hive program to reduce reliance on southern package bees, and seek opportunities to partner with other organizations in the city to promote pollinator health. I will pursue these opportunities to expand the footprint & success of our young beekeeping industry here in the cradle of American beekeeping.
Amy Hsu – Treasurer/Membership Coordinator(incumbent): Not long after moving to Philadelphia in the summer of 2011, I met the Eckel brothers at a honey tasting at Earth Bread & Brewery. It had never occurred to me before then to keep bees, but the idea took hold. I took MontCo’s beginner course in 2012 and got my first colony in 2013 (a nuc that absconded in August). Undeterred, I went “all in” my second year, ending up with five colonies at three sites, as well as managing the Guild’s two hives at our teaching apiary at St. James School.
The thing I value most about the Guild is getting to beekeep (I know this is not a word, but it should be) with other beekeepers. I discovered this past year that, for me, beekeeping is social; bee rounds are way more fun with a friend and you learn more inspecting with another person than you would think possible. Mentoring is an important aspect of the Guild, and there is no better way to learn than by sharing what you know with others.
As for my beekeeping “philosophy”: I just try to stay out of the way, and be open to what they are telling me. My favorite decision so far in how I keep my bees has been the decision to go foundationless — watching the bees build (and rebuild) comb the way they do is wondrous, and I feel it tells me more about what is going on inside the hive.
Professionally, I have ten years experience in nonprofit fundraising, including grantwriting and grant management experience. As Treasurer, my primary goal for the year will be to complete our 501(c)3 certification. When not beekeeping, I work at the Herbiary in Reading Terminal Market, volunteer as a tax preparer during tax season, and spend as much time as I can outside, farming, gardening, or foraging in the woods.
Russ Alexander – Secretary(incumbent): One day in 2012 I noticed a honeybee conscious-raising campaign at Whole Foods Market at 20th and Callowhill. I realized that I had not seen a honeybee for years. I decided I wanted to do something about the loss of honeybees. This led me to the Philadelphia Beekeeping Guild and the realization that, thanks to the support of the PBG I could actually start an apiary in Philadelphia! I invested in my first two “newbee” hives in April 2013. I completed the Montgomery County Beekeeper’s Association’s eight-month course in September 2013 and attended the Eastern Apiary Society’s week-long seminar in West Chester in August 2013. Obviously, I still had/have a lot to learn! 2014 represented my second year of beekeeping (two hives) and my first year of board membership (secretary). We do good work. I would like to continue this work for another year. I follow these conceptual approaches to honey beekeeping:
- I do not own the honeybees; they belong to God. I just manage the honeybee space,and try not to get in their way because they know what to do!
The Guild’s work is so important because we:
- Educate beginning and experienced beekeepers;
- Introduce beekeeping to the general public, with a hope of increasing the number of beekeepers;
- Grow the honeybee population in Philadelphia;
- Raise the public’s awareness of the importance of honeybees to our planet;
In my other lives I:
- Manage an apartment building for folks 62+ for Simpson Senior Services, a not-for-profit organization;
- Am a real estate broker and investor;
- Serve as a trustee for Arch Street United Methodist Church;
- Am a volunteer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s Penn Wissahickon Hospice.
I hope you will join us on this mission to foster the honeybee population!
Leah Troiano – Information Coordinator: For the last 20 years, I have worked as a professional member of the media. In my career, I have worked my way up to the esteemed position of Editorial Director, from staff writer, editor and managing editor. In these positions, I initiated and maintained a professional website for the publisher and supported the site by writing and creating marketing materials. Prior to this position, I was employed for three years writing professional newsletters, holding the titles of writer, editor and Managing editor in this field.
After starting my own editorial services company, I created my own WordPress website, which I maintained for three years, while using social media to promote the business. I also worked as a freelance writer, contracting with New York-based and local companies, which included the position of columnist in such magazines as the Philadelphia-based Grid.
As part of running my own companies, I created and maintained a second website for an additional three years. In this role I also used many forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Meet up, as well as participated in industry forums. I also created my own monthly newsletter using MailChimp to deliver email campaigns and maintain website readership.
Working in the area of media relations for both companies, I appeared on two major TV news shows, as well as in a number of nationwide and local publications, which generated more clients and more awareness. This national exposure created the image of being an expert in my field, which generated more interest in my skills and my company.
As part of my most recent (part-time) position, I have begun working in the areas of media relations, marketing and social media again. These works includes creating and send out email campaigns (via MailChimp) to create awareness and generate interest. I also attend conferences and work as the spokesperson for the company.
I believe my combined experience as a professional writer, editor, web editor, media relations and marketer – along with my passion for beekeeping and interest in promoting the awareness of keeping bees/bee health — makes me nicely suited for the position of Information Coordinator.
Wynn Geary – Member Rep/Social Media Coordinator (incumbent): I’ve lived with my family on the border of Manayunk and Roxburough for 17 years; I’m a graduate of The Miquon School and Project Learn and am currently a Senior at Science Leadership Academy. This is my family’s second year keeping bees and I have just completed my first year as a board member for the Guild servings as webmaster and social media coordinator.
As a 17 year old I’m able to offer insight into all this newfangled technology and for the past year have been working to update and maintain the Guild’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages. In the next year before I leave for college, I’d like to leave the Guild with a new website that’s user friendly and can be easily maintained.
Mike Gonzales – Member Rep/Newsletter(incumbent): I am a long-time resident of the West Poplar neighborhood (A.K.A. Eraserhood) in Philadelphia who is seeking to renew my position as an elected Member Representative for the Board of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild. I graduated from Temple University in 1997 with a bachelor of science in Environmental Engineering, and currently work for an engineering firm servicing the petro-chemical and refining industry. This Spring will be my third year beekeeping and I hope to expand to a nearby community garden. I maintain an organic, hands-off approach to beekeeping but enjoy tinkering with hive architecture.
My other interests include finance and economics, bitcoin technology, cooking, and family life. I hope to bring strategic management skills and a fresh perspective to the existing talents of the board members. The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild is an invaluable resource to both new and experienced beekeepers. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve a second year as a Member Representative.
Austin Martin – Member Rep(incumbent): As a child my uncle kept bees in my Lancaster County backyard, which fascinated me to no end—I shadowed him and picked up the basics. Later in college I started my own colonies along with an educational apiary on the campus of Eastern University in partnership with the University’s Earthkeepers Club.
I now live in South Philadelphia and keep bees on my rooftop. I’ve completed three seasons as a state apiary inspector for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, through which I’ve become very familiar with the various diseases, pests, and maladies that plague honeybees in the area. My interest in environmental and food issues, particularly the interface between society and the natural world, keeps me fascinated with urban beekeeping in particular.
My experience as an apiary inspector familiarized me with the beekeeping communities of southeastern Pennsylvania. I hope to use this networking along with my knowledge of honeybee diseases to benefit the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild as a member of the board.
Norris Childs – Member Rep: I grew up in Wyndmoor and Mt. Airy, attended Germantown Friends School and now live in Germantown. I have been keeping bees since 1981, about 33 years (that confers old age – NOT expertise.) I learned it from a Missouri farmer with whom I served in the Peace Corps in India. I currently manage 7 hives in Germantown (three on my roof and four in the yard; roof is better). I also manage 7 hives at my house in Walnut Creek, CA, one hive at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek California as well as one hive in the Sierra foothills in Grass Valley California. I retired on September 21, 2014 after having worked for 34 years as a general surgeon in Philadelphia and a trauma surgeon at John Muir Hospital in California. My interest in bees is enduring, despite the stings and ups and downs. I have two successful protege beekeepers in Philadelphia (one in East Falls, one in Roxborough) and several in California where I am a member of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Organization (allegedly the largest local club in the country; over 120 attend each monthly meeting.) Now that I am retired I anticipate more (predictable) time spent in Philadelphia as I don’t have to commute back and forth to California on a regular basis.
Karen Cherubini – Member Rep: I am a Philadelphia resident (Art Museum area) where I live with my husband, two children, two cats and a dog. I have been gardening in The Spring Gardens community garden since 1995. I began keeping beehives there about three years ago thanks to the support and educational opportunities provided by the Guild. I am also a science teacher at Germantown Friends School (GFS) where I am a faculty advisor for Environmental Action Club and clerk of the Campus Stewardship Committee. Environmental action is my passion. I find children are the most motivated citizens and year after year they surprise me with their insight and willingness to work hard for change. We are poised to begin student beekeeping at GFS this coming spring. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Delaware and a Master of Education from Temple University. Beek highlights this year included working a booth at the Franklin Institute Science Festival and helping to realizing a student’s dream to bring honeybees to the Old Tennis Court Farm in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.
Suzanne Matlock – Member Rep/Past President : I am qualified to be the Past President because I served as the Guild’s President for the past 2 years. Now, I’m tired!