Beekeeper of the Year



Keeping the Bee in Business

Beekeeper of the Year

Beginning in 1987, The Washington State Beekeepers Association wanted to recognize the importance of Washington State beekeepers who make a significant impact on the industry.

Local Associations may submit a candidate of their choice to receive the WASBA Beekeeper of the Year Award, to be voted on by the WASBA Executive Board prior to the annual meeting.


The beekeeper of the year must have significantly promoted and demonstrated good beekeeping, improved the public image of the industry and volunteered in civic and other projects. The candidate must be a current member of the Washington State Beekeepers Association.

To nominate a beekeeper, write a one-page summary outlining the candidate’s qualifications as outlined above.

Current Beekeeper of the Year: Ellen Miller

Ellen’s nominators wrote (in part):

Being a former reference librarian, Ellen channels her love for fact-finding, interacting with the public, and wealth of personal experience to help her fellow beekeepers in their pursuits. It is rare to find her without​ her phone within arm’s reach to field calls from former students, neighbors, bee enthusiasts, and​ published researchers. She patiently listens to the situation and asks the beekeeper to describe what​ they see to the best of their ability before recommending a course of action, and will travel hours to help​ catch swarms, and redistribute hives and resources to those in need.


Ellen began backyard beekeeping in 1979 and has researched most aspects of the process to determine​ best practices for people living in the West Plains region; which she has in turn eagerly shared with The​ West Plains Beekeeper Club while holding respected positions.

Community Outreach

Being very people-oriented, Ellen excels in the public arena, and delights in creating new avenues for​ teaching/learning to spark interest in all age groups. She has set up interactive booth displays in​ neighborhood farmers markets, and has partnered with a collection of state and regional organizations​ including: WASBA, Inland Empire Beekeepers, EWU, WSU, Airway Heights Correctional Facility, Project​ Hope, and Girl Scouts of America.

​Each year seems to present new and different challenges for honeybees and those who strive to help​ them maintain our delicate symbiotic relationship. Ellen is a champion for all pollinators in hopes that we​ can maintain a bountiful and prosperous future. She is a dogged researcher, vibrant teacher, and​ opportunistic collaborator, who deserves recognition for her good works.​

Past Beekeepers of the Year:

2018: Ellen Miller
2017: No nominations
2016: Tim Hiatt
2015: Lauri Pyne
2014: Alisa Shorley
2013: James Bach
2012: No nominations
2011: Jerry Tate
2010: Mill Markus
2009: Paul Lundy
2008: Bob Arnold
2007: No nominations
2006: Louis Matej
2005: Van Sherod
2004: Wesley B. Tate
2003: Eric Olson
2002: John Timmons
2001: Miriam Bishop
2000: Alice VanWechel
1999: Patrick Ray
1998: Bob Smith
1997: Arlene & Lee Massey
1996: Bob Stump
1995: Jim Pefley
1994: Bob Zahler
1993: Ron Babcock
1992: Ancel Goolsbey
1991: Merrill Kuehn
1990: Dick Hunger
1989: Carl VanWechel
1988: Elwood Sires
1987: Alice Bounces