Annual Awards

Each year, at MDBA’s October end-of-year celebration BBQ, two awards are presented:  the ‘Beekeeper of the Year’ award and the ‘Gary Lawrence Volunteer of the Year’ award.

Nominations are solicited in September at our monthly meeting.  Members vote for individuals who have gone the extra mile all year for MDBA, its members and the honeybees.  Up to three (3) members may be nominated for each award.  BOY and VOY nominations are submitted to Lois Kail on the night of our September meeting or may be emailed directly to our Secretary, Lois Kail, at 

Beekeeper of the Year

The ‘Beekeeper of the Year’ is a member who has gone out of his/her way to coach and encourage other members to be better beekeepers; or whose efforts resulted in improvements in the ways our association functions as a club for the benefit of our members.  The winner of this award receives free lifetime dues.

Note:  past winners are NOT eligible to win the same award again.

Recipients of ‘Beekeeper of the Year’ award are listed below:

2002 – Marilyn Mangle
2003 – Gary Lawrence
2004 – Major Branzel
2005 – Steve Gentry
2006 – Stan Thomas
2007 – Gary Eubanks
2008 – Judy Casale
2009 – Lois Kail
2010 – Rick Kautch
2011 – Mike Stephanos
2012 – Bill Cervenka
2013 – Jan Pinkerton Spieth
2014 – Dan Goemmel
2015 – Mary Andre
2016 – Norman Lott
2017 – Judy Weatherly
2018 – Wayne Scott
2019 – Mike Vigo
2020—Sung Lee

Gary Lawrence Volunteer of the Year

The ‘Gary Lawrence Volunteer of the Year’ award is given to a member who over the course of the year actively and consistently volunteered at meetings or created special projects to enhance the wellbeing of members; served at educational events in support of MDBA’s mission or whose ongoing efforts promoted awareness and importance of honeybees in our communities.  The winner of this award receives a generous gift certificate to Mann Lake.

Note:  Past winners are NOT eligible to win the same award again.

Recipients of the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award include:

2018 – Jan Pinkerton Spieth
2019 – Ellen Walters
2020 – Lois Kail

Steve Gentry Master Beekeeper Scholarship

I am pleased to announce the inaugural and annual Steve Gentry Memorial Scholarship that will be awarded to up to 2 members of MDBA in good standing who choose to further their beekeeping education by participating in a master beekeeper course. The Board has elected to grant up to $750 to each recipient provided they satisfy the scholarship requirements listed on the application.

Steve was not only one of the founding members of Mt Diablo Beekeepers Association, he was also a constant teacher, mentor, active volunteer within the club, Beekeeper of the Year recipient and owner of Steve’s Bees. For those of us who were lucky enough to call him a friend or a mentor, we were saddened to hear of his passing in January of 2020.

This scholarship grant has been offered to memorialize the many contributions Steve made to MDBA, its members and the honeybees themselves who he truly loved.

Mike Vigo
Past President