OBA President Dan Davidson

OBA President Dan Davidson

Busy as a … President

By Andi McKillop, Editor of the Ontario Bee Journal

Benjamin Franklin was once quoted as saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person.” If this quote holds true, then Dan Davidson was the perfect choice as the new President of OBA. A father of four, Dan and his wife Sarah know what it is to be busy. With four boys (ages seven, five, two and five months), a large beekeeping operation and an active lifestyle, it’s a wonder that Davidson finds time to be President.

“I’m always going to volunteer my time for my community or kids,” says Davidson. “I think it’s important that everyone volunteers for something, or nothing would ever get done. I’ve helped coach hockey and been involved in our Optimists Club. Those two things will have to take a back seat for now because of my responsibility to OBA.”

The Davidson family began beekeeping in 1918 when Dan’s great-grandfather started as a teenager. Though Dan’s grandfather kept bees, his parents were more interested in farming – the Davidson’s farm about 500 acres for cash crop. As a teenager in 1996, Davidson was asked to care for Dan Walker’s bees while the Walker family moved to Australia for a year on a teaching exchange.  This opportunity helped foster the interest that Davidson had and so began his career as a beekeeper.

Since beginning with 35 hives in ’96, Davidson has built his business to 1500 hives. In the spring, Davidson sells his excess bees. He also sends bees to New Brunswick for blueberry pollination and harvests about 200 barrels of honey each year, in addition to doing some custom extraction. He has sold bees in western Canada and has had the opportunity to travel much of the country with his work. Now his focus is his family and working for Ontario’s beekeeping industry.

“As a beekeeper, I have the highest respect for Dan,” says board member, Tim Greer. “He has a very good grasp on the best way to manage his operation for strong surviving colonies. Dan has been an excellent addition to the OBA board for several years. He brings a sense of calm and an opinion that is always well thought out and based on the reality of the situation more so than on speculation. I’m looking forward to serving on the board under his leadership.”

Those working on the board with Davidson recognize his quiet strengths. Not only is he a knowledgeable and progressive beekeeper, Davidson has a good understanding of the issues and is willing to ask questions. While he appears to be quiet, he’s not afraid to speak his mind once he has formed a view based on thoughtful insight and consideration of the facts. He’s kind, honest, hardworking, dedicated and passionate about bees and the success of Ontario’s beekeeping industry.

“I know Dan is a committed beekeeper,” says Hugh Simpson, OBA’s 2nd Vice-President. “He has his personal and professional life fully invested around the bees and beekeeping. This is a good thing for all beekeepers in Ontario that the President has significant skin in the game – he will take the issues seriously and look for the best outcome for bee health and the interests of beekeepers.”   

The board members that have the opportunity to work with him on and off the board will tell you how busy Davidson is. First Vice-President, Tibor Szabo commented on Davidson’s successful business and how much he values his family life. Like most of the board, Szabo is always willing to help Davidson in any way he can.

“We have a really good board,” says Davidson. “I think we have the best board that we’ve had since I’ve been involved actually. They’re always willing to help when called upon. The way our board is structured, everything runs through the president, so you have to know what’s going on for everything. If there’s something that needs to be done, there always seems to be someone willing to help.”

Lucille Ball is known to have rephrased Franklin’s quote, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” Davidson is committed to working for the betterment of the organization and Ontario’s beekeepers, running a successful beekeeping business and focusing on his family life. Still, he’s willing to try and work in a few other goals too.

“It’s too bad I’m a beekeeper,” he jokes, “because I really love to fish. We did get away on a family vacation last summer – I think it’s important that you find time to do that too.”