At ITS, we’re dedicated to celebrating both our professional and personal accomplishments. This week, we’re putting the spotlight on one of our most dedicated team members – Bruce Rick!
When meeting with Bruce for the first time, I quickly learned that outside of his passion for IT, programming, and coding he is also an ardent beekeeper, horticulturist, and arboriculturist. I’m not going to lie, I had to google what all of these specialties mean, so I learned a lot that day.
Bruce started his bee side gig years ago when he and his wife wanted to create some stocks in case of emergency. About 10 years ago, they bought land and realized they really like the outdoors. “I really enjoy just living and playing in the dirt and having fun with the mud,” Bruce says.
Talking with Bruce, I learned a lot about bees. For example, buying bees can be like going through a McDonald’s drive-thru – you get your cash ready and go for it. You can purchase different sized hives and the ones with a queen are more expensive. I was shocked when he told me that one hive contains about 60,000 bees.
I also didn’t really think you have to feed your bees. “They like sugar water – but you can also purchase a special food for them. If they have enough honey, you don’t have to worry about feeding them,” Bruce informed me.
As of right now, Bruce has three hives left and is planning on purchasing more in the spring. And what do you do with bees? You get to open the bee boxes, watch them, feed them, get some honey, and get stung by them. That’s what I would call true love.
As I mentioned above, Bruce is also a horticulturist and arboriculturist. If you didn’t know, horticulturists and arboriculturists are people that love to work with living things – trees, bushes, and plants. Bruce has pretty much any tree you can think of. He has a rare variety of trees like the peanut butter tree, orange tree, and banana tree. I mean, how do you grow these kinds of trees in Michigan? Bruce does!
How amazing is it that Bruce’s neighbor’s daughter has a peanut allergy, but she can have a treat from his tree that tastes just like PB&J, without triggering her allergies? And Bruce recently completed a hydroponics course so he can try other planting methods. He takes his hobby very seriously.
As you can tell, Bruce really has a green thumb. If you ever need help with planting anything in your garden, or thinking about purchasing some beehives, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bruce. He loves to share his passions with anyone. On top of his greenery, veggies and fruits, he also has chickens and a sweet dog named Ivy to help spruce things up around his house.
He and his wife are dreaming of building a year-round greenhouse, and I wish him all the best to make their dream come true.