OCBA Officers

Don Chesak

President

Don and his wife Barb run a small farm in Oldham County. They’ve worked hard creating a wildlife sanctuary for their bees and wildlife. They’ve built several miles of wood-chipped and grass trails they enjoy walking with their beloved dog, Scout. They currently have around 45 bee hives. They also raise chickens and have a nice greenhouse. Don works full time at GE where he is in his 36th year with the company and plan on retiring soon! Don’s apiary is a favorite for bee clubs to hold field days.

Chuck Aquadro

Vice President

Chuck and his wife, Carrie, operate Brittany Lane Apiary. They inherited a single hive that was on their property when they moved to Oldham County in 2016. They joined OCBA that same year and currently run 12 hives. Chuck is the public relations behind the Oldham County Beekeepers Association. He is always manning the table at a variety of events around the county. He loves to provide education about beekeeping and increase awareness about the importance of local bees.
Chuck is now a proud grandpa and loves spending time with his grandson. Chuck and Carrie are also avid gardeners and enjoy making mead.

Melissa Ledford

Secretary

Melissa’s love for honeybees began in 2019 when she and her husband purchased 37 acres in La Grange. The property had an active beehive on it. Knowing absolutely nothing about bees and being quite fearful of them, she decided to find a mentor and immersed herself in self-educational material to successfully care for the bees. Melissa is the definition of a “go-getter” and true to her nature she quickly got over her fear and now runs many colonies. Melissa is dedicated to conservation, invasive plant identification, and promoting pollinator habitats. When not beekeeping or gardening, Melissa takes care of her chickens, horses, dogs and cats. She enjoys fishing, hiking, canning veggies from her garden, and watching NHL hockey and college football.

Melissa Wassing

Treasurer

Melissa was born and raised in Oldham County, Ky. As a child, you could find her on her bike, in the pool or creek, or riding a horse. She has always had a love for nature and the woods, but her biggest love in life is animals. 

She previously worked as an account executive with a foodservice company. She now lives on 260 acres with her husband and daughter. Their farm has earned the Master Conservationist award through the Oldham County Conservation District. It has always been a goal to be a good steward of the land and protect farms in this growing county that she has always called home. 

Beekeeping seemed to be a natural fit in pursuit of her conservation goals. She started out with her first hive in 2021. Without having the OCBA club and a wonderful mentor, raising bees would be a much tougher task than imagined!

Melissa currently serves on the OCBA board as treasurer and maintains 11 hives. She is learning everyday. When not attending to her bees, you will find her boating, fishing or riding around in the woods on her four-wheeler. On certain days, you may still find her in the creek!

Jake Beeman

Education Program Coordinator

Jake is a Cornell & EAS Master Beekeeper and runs around 100 hives annually in the greater Louisville area. He is a nationally sought speaker and writer, focusing on queens, genetics, and integrated management. He is passionate about education and is involved in all aspects of the OCBA as Education Coordinator. When not tending to bees, helping local beekeepers, writing, presenting, and working with nonprofits he trains for the physical aspect of beekeeping with National Treasure; Chuck Norris. He also is focused on proving that humans can indeed survive on no sleep with the help of caffeine and a proprietary propolis tincture.

Club Contributors

Reuben Sizemore

Reuben has been keeping bees for approximately 10 years. His first encounter with bees was when he was 10 years old. A colony of bees live in a locust tree in the yard. Not knowing anything about bees, he built a fire smoking the bees out. He then took an axe to expose the honey and gathered a bucket of honey without getting a single sting. He currently runs about 10 colonies. He is a proud Air Force veteran and retired from UPS after 25 years as an aircraft mechanic. Reuben enjoys hunting, fishing and hiking. He also plays the guitar and banjo. Reuben truly enjoys mentoring new beekeepers to help them achieve success their first year.

Claude Nutt

Claude has been keeping bees for about 40 years both in urban and rural areas.  He currently has 15
hives at Yew Dell Botanical Garden in Crestwood and 16 hives at Mason Homes in Louisville.

Dave Handsbury

Dave and his wife own Handsbury Honey Bees. They have been keeping bees for about eight years and run an average of 140 colonies. Most of Dave’s time is spent making sugar bricks, syrup, buying and setting out pollen , and generally feeding his 8 million bees. He also enjoys hunting, hiking, tent camping and is loving life.

Troy Simpson

Troy Simpson is a 24-year beekeeper and is the owner and operator of Honey Ridge Farm. He currently maintains 50 colonies on 12 acres and intends to increase to 100 and go full time with his bees in retirement from Ford. He is an avid woodworker and serves as treasurer in his local beekeeping club.