Les Eccles is the new Tech-Transfer Program Lead. Les started his agricultural career on a dairy and beef operation, managing a 125 head dairy and beef herd, which included crop management, nutrition, and a genetic program. Les's educational background includes both a Diploma in Agriculture from the Ontario Agricultural College and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph.
Les developed his interest in beekeeping and research at the University of Guelph Apiculture Research Centre with Paul Kelly and Ernesto Guzman, and has been instrumental in various research projects and presentations.
Les is returning to Ontario after spending two years in Mexico; working with beekeepers and development organizations to transfer beekeeping technology into the field, and certify beekeeping operations for honey exportation to European markets.
Melanie Kempers grew up on a dairy farm in Prince Edward County and it was her love of animals and the outdoors that led her to the University of Guelph in 2002 to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science. In 2006, with very little knowledge about beekeeping, Melanie was hired by the OBA Tech-Transfer Program as a summer intern. Even after many stings, she stayed on to work full time with the team and has been expanding her understanding of bees ever since.
Devan Rawn didn't have any hands-on experience with beekeeping prior to working for the Tech-Transfer Program. The idea of starting work with bees full time was exciting and a little bit nerve racking at the same time. With quite a few stings under his belt (including a couple good face ones), Devan is proud to say he's become a "Bee Boy". Now he's fully immersed in the job and enjoys it very much.
In his spare time, Devan enjoys pretty much anything outside in the natural world and is an avid disc golfer. Devan acknowledges many of the courses he's taken at University of Guelph for sparking an interest in insects and our fascinating environment.
Brian Lacey is the newest member of the team, having joined the Technology Transfer Program in early May, 2012. After many years of post-secondary drifting, he graduated in 2009 from the University of Guelph with a degree in ecology. Since that time he has worked as a research technician in an ethnobotany lab, specializing in woody plants.
Brian’s interest in beekeeping began with a summer job at the University of Guelph Apiculture Research Centre working with Les Eccles and Paul Kelly. He later worked for a season with a commercial beekeeper before returning to research with the Technology Transfer Program. Brian has recently become the father of a cheerful and unusually plump baby girl.
Pat Westlake is the Administrator for the Tech-Transfer Program. Although her roots are in Toronto, she enjoys living in a quiet rural community. After receiving her business education, Pat took the position of Administrative Assistant to the Purchasing Manager of Sheaffer Pen Canada. Pat began her relationship with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association in 1983 as the Editor of the first edition of their newsletter, The Sting. She was Business Administrator from 1984 to 2003.
Pat has managed and been an advisor to the Tech-Transfer Program since its inception in the early 1990’s. Pat and her husband Ron have a daughter and three sons, two grand-daughters, seven grandsons and live in Bayfield.