A longtime member of the agricultural community in southwest Saskatchewan is being mourned today.
Brad Nelson, former General Manager and Chief Financial Officer of Honey Bee Manufacturing, passed away on April 8 at the age of 63. Nelson was born and raised in the Frontier area and worked with Friggstad Manufacturing and Flexi-Coil Ltd. before joining Honey Bee and its co-founders Greg and Glenn Honey as the business moved to Frontier, Saskatchewan, in 1987.
“We were organized as a company prior to 1987, but we had kind of reached a crossroads where we had to decide whether we were going to get serious about manufacturing or just drop it,” said Honey Bee President and Co-Founder Greg Honey. “At that time, Brad was managing the Flexi-Coil plant at Frontier… they were moving everything to Saskatoon, and this plant was going to be vacant.
“As it turned out, [the plant] ended up back in Friggstad's hands, so my brother and I approached Brad to see if he would be interested in managing the business side of Honey Bee if we were to make a deal to rent space over here,” he added. “We moved here with eight people in the fall of ’87 and started building machinery out of here, and he’s been with us for 30 years.”
Honey Bee has become one of the most well-known names in farm equipment, with the company’s Grain Belt and Air-Flex headers and swathers and Rod Master weeders being sold in over 50 countries worldwide.
“He had some pretty good business experience through the Friggstad and Flexi-Coil days and had a wide range of people that he knew in the business, and was involved in boards and well-connected with dealers and suppliers alike,” Honey added. “He had a very good general knowledge of the whole ag business.”
Back in October, Nelson along with Greg and Glenn Honey received a Canada 150 Medal in the National Building Category from Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP David Anderson for their contributions to agricultural manufacturing in Western Canada.
The staff and management of Golden West along with Provincial Ag Specialist Glenda-Lee Allan Vossler express their heartfelt condolences to Brad Nelson’s family and to the staff at Honey Bee Manufacturing.