Beekeeper of the Year Award

Beekeeper of the Year and Pioneer Award are awards that can be won only once. Beekeeper of the Year is for a WHPA member who has contributed much to the association and the beekeeping industry. The Pioneer Award is for someone that has been a longtime beekeeper and in good standing. Other special recognition awards are for individual contributions to beekeeping and WHPA (examples: Education Award, Friendship Award, Above & Beyond). The Youth Awards recognize Wisconsin youth who are nominated for their efforts in beekeeping.

All award recipients must be nominated by WHPA members and are determined by committee made up of past Beekeeper of the Year recipients.


2015 Beekeepers of the Year
Dan & Karan Buch - Potosi, WI

This couple has been a cornerstone in the beekeeping industry for years. They have grown a successful operation to include not just beekeeping, but retailing their own honey to many local stores throughout Wisconsin. They are respected by the consumers in their area and the beekeepers of our state. Both have held officer positions in the Southwest District for many years - either as chairman or secretary/treasurer - and also hosted a district princess. The Southwest District remains a leader in the state due to the high standards that they have set for their successors and other districts. They were key players in the Wisconsin Honey Certification Bill - working to get the bill passed and never asking for expense reimbursements. They work full time in our industry, and will continue to do so. But, perhaps their biggest achievement, and greatest reward, is that they have brought their daughter and son-in-law into the business – passing on their knowledge and success to the next generation. We honor DAN & KAREN BUCH as Beekeeper of the Year.



2015 Promotional Award 
Kent Pegorsch - Waupaca, WI

A couple of years ago this individual approached the then-Vice President of WHPA and expressed an interest in getting more involved with WHPA.  Little did he know that he was going to be dragged into – ah, we mean how great the opportunity for him to get involved would become.

At the time, the WHPA was struggling with how to go about revamping its website.  This person had experience with a website used in his own business and had good insight about what would work well. This individual became a key member of the website committee.

As the website was developed, this individual agreed to become the website manager, and has guided WHPA’s use of social media into a valuable tool that provides information to our members, the public, and the entire industry.  We are grateful for his time and expertise that he has contributed to WHPA over the last few years.  Our website and Facebook success would not be what it is without the hard work of this individual. The WHPA Promotion Award goes to KENT PEGORSCH.



2015 Special Recognition Award
Nick Thill - West Bend, WI

This individual was stung with the love of beekeeping and honey bees at a very young age. I first met this person when he was a high schooler working behind the WHPA State Fair Honey booth. This person later became the chair of the State Fair committee and has worked tirelessly to improve the functionality, profitability, and overall management of the Honey Booth. With his help, the WHPA receives media coverage each year through the beautiful honey exhibit. He is always looking for ways to keep our organization’s image professional and relevant. WHPA bestows a Special Recognition Award to NICK THILL.


2015 Education Award

Craig Petros

This individual served as a state bee inspector for years, but also served as a leading “answer man” for many in our state. Always making himself available to answer any question, he has helped so many. We honor CRAIG PETROS with the WHPA Education Award.



2015 Pioneer Award

Carl Christiansen – Genoa City, WI

Carl Christiansen  has been a consistent leader in researching best practices in beekeeping. He has taken classes in queen rearing and shares this information with fellow beekeepers without reservation.  He started by offering queen cells to those of us wanting locally bred queens. He is also selling bred queens at a reasonable price to beekeepers in his area. He continues to read, research, observe and share with his fellow beekeepers to advance the new and changing challenges we all face. Carl attends local and WHPA meetings and conventions to keep abreast with activities in the state. WHPA honors Carl Christiansen with the 2015 Pioneer Award



No Youth Award








Past WHPA Awards