After 22 seasons, Gordon Waller is retiring from his position as an inspector with the apiary program at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Gordon spent his summers visiting beekeepers around NW Wisconsin checking hives for diseases and pests. Beekeepers welcomed his broad and deep knowledge of beekeeping, and his visits were as much about education as inspecting. We have been incredibly privileged to have Gordon on staff with us.
Gordon summarizes his journey best; “Fifty years ago I loaded our family and moved them from Logan, Utah, where I had been the fortunate recipient of a three-year NDEA Title-IV fellowship for graduate study at Utah State University. We soon “landed” in Tucson, Arizona, where I joined a team doing bee research at the USDA Bee Lab at the University of Arizona, and where I was able to teach classes and advise graduate students working for MS or PhD degrees. For a short time I also became a bee breeder and developed a line of bees resistant to the tracheal mite. Now, for twenty-two years I’ve been a bee inspector with WDATCP. This has all been a really “good trip” working as a “professional” beekeeper for half a century. I’ve been blessed with a wide variety of activities doing research in several states of the Southwest and making many overseas trips where I worked with and visited the bee experts of the world.”
He is himself a sideline beekeeper and has been mentoring his grandson to take over many of the daily responsibilities of beekeeping. He has been one of two apiary inspectors with DATCP. Dan Ziehli is the second inspector, covering the southern half of the state, who will continue in that capacity. Gordon is now looking forward to having some free time as he decides what he would like to be doing for the next twenty years.
The department will be hiring a successor. The job is seasonal, with inspection periods typically running from May through late June or early July, and from mid-August through October. The job entails considerable statewide travel with some overnights. Inspectors need education and/or experience in apiary inspection or closely related fields, and knowledge of apiculture, bee pests and diseases. The candidate should also have strong communication skills including public speaking, outreach and education. For more information and to apply for the position–now posted–visit http://wisc.jobs and from the Agency/Campus dropdown select: Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.