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IBRA Coucil Members
publication date: Sep 1, 2010
Hans Kjaersgaard - IBRA Chairman
I was touched when I was asked to take over the Chair of IBRA and although I took a few days to agree it was because I had to make sure that I can give IBRA the support I feel is needed from a Chairman.
I would like to make it clear that I do not know a lot about bees or apicultural sciences but I have been a council member for nearly 30 years and followed IBRA's fortunes (and misfortunes) closely. I was born and grew up in Denmark. I moved to England in the mid 1970's and I started a career in international business. Part of my responsibilities in one of my first jobs was to represent Eastern European state exporters and one of these sold Acacia and other honey. As I knew little about honey I looked for an organisation that had knowledge and came across IBRA. On my first visit to IBRA at Hill House I met Dr Eva Crane who was very helpful and enthusiastic. Armed with books from the IBRA library, I set about trying to equip myself with sufficient knowledge. When Eva retired her successor, Margaret Adie suggested that I join council as someone with a business background and I happily agreed.
In the following years I was one of only a handful of people who traded honey internationally, which took me to beekeepers and cooperatives in many countries. Whilst I was also trading other food commodities (e.g. tomato paste, fruit juices, tea etc.) honey remained my favourite and during this time I became familiar with all the major honey producing countries in the world and also some smaller countries with highly specialised honey. During that time I was regularly in contact with Eva Crane and involved whenever there were commercial aspects of honey on her horizon.
Before retiring I was International Sales Manager at a subsidiary of McCormick (the worlds largest spice company) and then moved to The Netherlands to work for International Flavours and Fragrances which is one of the largest companies in its field. At IFF I was responsible for flavour sales in the Middle East and later managed Project Teams and Agents/Distributors in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Throughout my working life I have enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. Whenever I have had a chance I have sampled the local honey and this resulted in some very interesting experiences in exotic places like Yemen, Guatemala, Sri Lanka...I could go on.
Now back in England, and retired I do a little consultancy, spend time with my family, do some voluntary work and as I live in Windsor I can easily pursue my interest in history. Needles to say but I am relishing the opportunity to be more involved with IBRA.
More information about our Trustees will follow soon.