Team Members

Les Eccles, B.Sc.

Tech-Transfer Program Lead

Les Eccles has been the Tech-Transfer Program Lead since 2011. Les has both a Diploma in Agriculture and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph. Les first developed his interest in beekeeping at the UoG Apiculture Research Centre with Paul Kelly and Ernesto Guzman. Les is also an instructor at the Niagara College Commercial Beekeeping program, and co-operates his own commercial beekeeping business with his wife. Les’s special interest is in honey bee breeding and stock replacement. Over the years he has focused on the development of the Ontario Resistant Honey Bee Selections (ORHBS) program.

Melanie Kempers, B.Sc.

Research Technician

Melanie Kempers grew up on a dairy farm in Prince Edward County. It was her love of agriculture that brought her to Guelph (Moo-U) to obtain a BSc in Agriculture. Not really knowing much about bees, she applied for a summer student job with the “Bee Girls” and stood amongst a swarm in her first week on the job. With that amazing experience, she was hooked. She’s the only TTP member to not have bees outside of work, but that’s because she’s busy with sports, her friendly sidekick Violet and the gym. Melanie loves that beekeeping is never dull and keeps her on her toes!

Daniel Thurston, B.A.

Research Technician

Daniel Thurston - After attending a beekeeping workshop with TTP, Dan began working as a summer student with the program while studying at the UoG. His interest in beekeeping only grew from there and has been with the team ever since. He enjoys meeting and chatting with other beekeepers (super chatty guy) and collecting things he finds in the field. Dan spends his time away from TTP working on his own beekeeping business - Thurston Honey Bee Co.

Daniel Borges, M.Sc

Research Technician

Dan Borges received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. His passion for insects and entomology led him to the University of Guelph, where he completed a master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Ernesto Guzman. His master’s work focused on the treatment of Nosema ceranae using natural compounds and probiotics. Dan also teaches at Niagara College, disseminating knowledge about bee biology and entomology. Dan is from the Tri-Cities area and currently lives in Kitchener. He runs a small bee operation, selling honey and nucs.

Kelsey Ducsharm, B.Sc.

Research Technician

Kelsey Ducsharm has been with TTP for over 4 years, the newest kid on the block. She began as a summer student while attending school at the University of Guelph. After completing her Environmental Science degree, she decided to continue working with honey bees full time. And because that wasn’t quite enough bees for her, she now keeps a few hives of her own in her spare time as well. Kelsey is known as “the muscle” around the office. 

Pat Westlake

OBA-TTP Special Projects Administrator

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.