Meet Our Board Members

The Holland Area Beekeepers Association began in the 1950's as an opportunity for local beekeepers to meet and share ideas.  We strive to carry on their endeavor as we continue to meet and share resources to educate and encourage all those who love the honeybee.

On January 14, 2020, elections were held to seat our board for 2020. The current board positions are:

  • Erin Von Tom - President
  • Ron Rhoades - Treasurer
  • Barry Miller - Member at Large
  • Rachel Barger - Member at Large
  • Rick Arnold - Member at Large
  • Anthony Thompson - Member at Large
  • Alan Dreyer - Member at Large

Bios and photos for the new board members will be posted once they are recieved!

Meet Our Board Members

Erin Von Tom, President :

I started my journey into beekeeping in 2013/14 as an advocate for backyard beekeepers, working with the City of Grand Haven to establish a beekeeping ordinance. My husband, Phil, and I obtained the first permit to install two hives in the city in 2015. My beekeeping is driven by my passion for gardening, specifically growing my own fruits and vegetables. Prior to keeping bees, I harvested an average amount of produce from my backyard garden. Since installing the hives, garden production has increased significantly.

Over the years I have developed an interest in learning about the biology, genetics and the nutritional needs of bees. I try to plant as many pollen and nectar rich plants in my yard as space allows. I also enjoy photographing bees as they collect pollen, nectar and water from my 'backyard buffet'.

What began with two hives in our backyard has expanded to four apiary sites throughout West Michigan, including Langstroth (wood and foam) hives; a Langstroth horizontal hive, and most recently the Layens horizontal hive with extra deep frames.

I work full time for the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety and have extensive experience with grant writing and working with non-profit agencies. I look forward to volunteering my time and talents with HABA.


Ron Rhoades, Treasurer :

Ron started beekeeping as a teenager and was up to eleven hives by graduation. He passed those along to another beekeeper when he attended college to earn a BS in Business Administration and a MA in Management. Ron served in the Army as an infantry officer and aviator with overseas tours in Vietnam and Europe. Since retiring, Ron has gotten back into beekeeping.


Barry Miller, Member at Large:

An active member of the club, Barry has been involved throughout the past couple years with hospitality and as a volunteer at Bee School.  I started keeping bees in 2013 with one top-bar hive. I started because I like honey, and it looked easy. I now have 3 top- bar hives that I hope will survive winter, so far I have not had any of my hives survive winter. Just think about how much honey I could have bought with the cost of those bees.

Rick Arnold, Member at Large :

Rick is a 5th generation beekeeper who grew up working bees with his father’s commercial bee business of 1,500 colonies.  He spent many winters in his teenage years nailing boxes and frames and assisting with the fall harvest extraction process.  His dad sold the bee business when Rick was in college and a professional career and building a family consumed his free time.
With passing of his father in 2017, Rick decided it was time to carry on the legacy when he formed the Holland Heritage Bee Co. with his wife, Shelly.  The main goal of HHB Co. is to raise environmentally sustainable colonies with over-wintered Michigan bees, support pollinator habitat, sell NUCs to new beekeepers, extract some honey and make mead.  
Rick enjoys continuous learning about the fascinating bees and being in fellowship with other beekeepers.


Rachel Morales, Member at Large :


My passion for becoming a beekeeper started back in February 2019, My fiance and I moved to Grandville and i was looking for date night ideas. I stumbled upon Schuler Books and their bee club meetings. We decided to make it a date and went to our first meeting. My Aunt is a beekeeper along with her 10 year old daughter and they suggested a few books and before I knew it I received my very own hive and beekeeping starter package in October for my birthday. I like to be outdoors, gardening, exploring and have had multiple run-ins with honey bees. I hope to expand my knowledge from other beekeepers and contribute new ideas.