Team Members

Les Eccles, B.Sc.

Les Eccles
Tech-Transfer Program Lead

Les Eccles is the Tech-Transfer Program Lead. Les started his agricultural career 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 was instrumental in various research projects and presentations. Les returned 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, B.Sc.

Research Technician

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.

Daniel Thurston, B.A.

Research Technician

Daniel Thurston grew up in the Kawarthas on a small beef farm. While attending the University of Guelph, he took an introductory beekeeping class his first year. Intrigued by this introduction to bees and beekeeping, Daniel spent a season working for his uncle, a commercial beekeeper just east of Peterborough. He spent the following summers working on a pesticide and bee related research project, and as a summer intern at the Tech Transfer Program. Now a full time member of the program, Daniel continues to enjoy learning about the beekeeping industry while keeping some of his own hives on the side.

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 the honey bee fungal parasite Nosema ceranae using natural compounds and probiotics as alternatives to antibiotics. While finishing up his master’s, Daniel was hired as a full-time research technician with the Tech-Transfer Program. He is enjoying being a member of the team and the opportunity to learn and gain more experience in the beekeeping industry. Daniel is from the Tri-Cities area and currently lives in Kitchener. He has a couple hives of his own and hopes to increase that number in the future.

Kelsey Ducsharm, B.Sc.

Research Technician

Kelsey Ducsharm hails from a small mining town in Northern Ontario. She moved to Guelph to attend university and received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. A school project that involved honey bees led her to her first encounter with the TTP, and when a student position became available, she jumped at the chance to join the team. Excited but terrified, she began her journey with honey bees and hasn’t looked back. She enjoys learning new things about the beekeeping industry every day and manages a couple hives of her own.

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.