Debra ’83, ’91 MA and William Tomaszewski ’82 aren’t just a couple; they’re a team. Together, they operate the Marin Bee Company, a San Francisco-based business committed to protecting and replenishing Honeybee populations by promoting organic beekeeping.
Debra and William met as undergraduates at Montclair State University. They both have fond memories of attending school there. Debra worked in the Student Center Cafeteria, where she ended up meeting William. The couple remembers Montclair State being a big school with a small school feel. After graduating, they continued to work in the Montclair area. Debra was an art teacher for 10 years and then oversaw student teachers in art education at Montclair State University and taught at the County College of Morris. She later drew upon this experience to craft and teach workshops about beekeeping.
After starting a family, they moved to the Bay Area of California, where Bill works as attorney as well as being the founder of Marin Bee Co. with Debra.. Here, they realized the impact that Sudden Colony Collapse has on bee populations and, ultimately, the human food supply. Sudden Colony Collapse is the phenomenon of formerly healthy bee populations dying all over the world. They decided to take action to protect the bees and ensure a healthier future for their children. Thus, the Marin Bee Company was born.
The Marin Bee Company sells beehives and the equipment necessary to maintain them. It also provides instructions about how to nurture a healthy, chemical-free hive. They currently work with the community, non-profit organizations, public schools and corporations to promote beekeeping. They continue to expand this component of their mission by partnering with public schools to educate students about the impact they have on the environment and how they can help to reverse the damage. They also plan to create an internship program with San Francisco State University.
Aside from educating the public and building hives, the Marin Bee Company sells organic skincare products. These products are made from certified organic honey from the Brazilian rainforest.
“Montclair State offered a lot,” Debra said of their experience at the university. “It opened my eyes to see how many different ways there are to do something right,” Debra said, “I had great teachers, and a truly excellent experience. You get the benefits and attention of small class size. And I was lucky enough to work with NYC artists, who were also my teachers.” Now, like their company’s tagline, they’re changing the world, one bee at a time.