How a Common Love for Bees Brought the Whippany Bee Team Together

Harvesting HoneyJust like every bee has its role in the hive, every employee at Bayer plays a unique role in helping the company propel the future of science and technology forward. For nearly 30 years, the Crop Science division of Bayer has supported the health and protection of honey bees and other pollinators. More recently, however, interest in supporting pollinators has gone beyond just Crop Science.

At Bayer Corporation’s main U.S. offices, in Whippany, New Jersey, around 20 employees work together as volunteer beekeepers. What’s special about this group is that despite working in different roles and departments across Bayer, they came together as a team in April 2018 through a mutual love for bees and for making a difference in local environmental sustainability.

Beekeeper havestingLed by Adrienne Shipps, these volunteers were trained in beekeeping and set up three hives with an initial count of 90,000 bees. Since then, their apiary has grown significantly, becoming home to seven hives that house more than 210,000 bees! The team also installed and maintains nearby pollinator gardens that feed not only honey bees, but monarch butterflies, too.

Whippany Signs

Take a moment to meet several members of the volunteer bee team who selflessly dedicate their free time to tending the honey bee hives housed on site at the Whippany campus.

Meet the Bee Team

Adrienne ShippsAdrienne Shipps
Adrienne Shipps is deputy director of public policy for Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health. She inherited her son’s beekeeping hobby when he left for college, and when she heard of the opportunity to replicate the Bayer Pittsburgh site’s apiary, she jumped at the chance to get involved and share her affinity for honey bees with local colleagues.

Branka PalicBranka Palic
Branka Palic is a senior study manager in TSO US for Phase I studies. Growing up, Branka’s grandfather loved beekeeping and had beehives of his own that produced lots of honey. Her grandfather always talked about the benefits of honey for our health and wellbeing, and, because of him, Branka grew up enjoying honey as an alternative sweetener to sugar. The opportunity to get involved with beekeeping and harvesting honey at work allows her to rekindle happy childhood memories with her grandfather every day.

Cindy RuizCindy Ruiz
Cindy Ruiz is strategy and operations lead for Bayer Pharmaceutical’s New Product Commercialization and Portfolio Strategy. She joined the Whippany bee project given her longtime interest in preserving the environment, which she wanted to extend to the care and sustainability of local honey bee populations.

Karen DyrnessKaren Dyrness
Karen Dyrness is director of patient assistance in the Pharmaceutical Division at Bayer. In her day job, she cares for patients and helps them get access to the Bayer medicines they need, even if they are unable to afford them. Outside of work, Karen has a major passion for animals, so joining the bee team has brought another dimension to her love of all animals.

Ismet HussainIsmet Hussain
Ismet Hussain is deputy director of compliance and contract management, Bayer U.S. LLC, Oncology and Pharmaceuticals. She has always been intrigued by bees, and volunteering as a beekeeper at the Bayer Whippany site gives her the marvelous opportunity to learn more about them and share her experiences with others.

James TsengJames Tseng
James Tseng is project manager of product supply for Consumer Health at Bayer. After reading an internal news update about a bee swarm in the Whippany parking lot, James was intrigued by the beekeeping community and interested in finding out more. In wearing the cool bee suit and regularly checking on the beehives, James becomes more aware of his natural surroundings and appreciates the simple beauty in them. He loves this amazing bee fact: Did you know that bees never sleep?

Jennie CoughlinJennie Coughlin
Jennie Coughlin is the patient support program lead at Bayer. A biologist by degree, she has always been fascinated by bees, and she took the unique opportunity to learn more about beekeeping by working with her colleagues to contribute the Whippany beekeeping initiative.

Dhaval DoshiDhaval Doshi
Dhaval Doshi is manager, project management processes and systems, for Bayer Consumer Health. What led him to join the bee team? He has always coveted pure honey and been amazed at the entire process of beekeeping and honey production. The ability to experience an apiary at work was a great opportunity for him to learn and contribute.

Jennifer SamokJennifer Samok
Jennifer Samok is central receipt and triage senior specialist in Global Pharmacovigilance (that is, drug safety). This has been a very unique and special opportunity for her to have hands-on experience working with honey bees and learning the science behind beekeeping. She has met so many wonderful people outside of her department at Bayer because of this project and is grateful to be part of such an energetic and inspiring team.

Wayne Bockhorn
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Wayne Bockhorn is a systems analyst and developer in the IT business at Bayer. His interest in volunteering with the bee team was simply due to the opportunity afforded him and his Bayer colleagues. “Where else are we able to work in an office by day, and then head outside to actively participate in something as unique as bee care?” says Wayne.