Meet our team.
Name: Richard Weedle M.Sc, Data Scientist, ApisProtect
Why did you join the team at ApisProtect?
I happened to attend a short lunchtime talk, where our CEO, Fiona, was talking about how the company got started. The talk was mostly targeted towards aspiring entrepreneurs and the challenges of start ups, but I sat there captivated by the fact that this lady was sticking sensors into bee hives and trying to understand what was going on inside.
My background had been mostly working in investment banks, so I had never heard of anything like it. I later discovered they were recruiting and applied the same day. Working in a start up environment has been demanding but very rewarding. I joined the company at an exciting time of constant innovation and we’re now on the cusp of delivering something truly great.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy the collaborative nature of a lot of the work we do. We are small team with a diverse skill set, which often means that the lines are blurred between our job descriptions. I’ve learnt some basic graphic design, helped in writing funding proposals, learnt how to solder with a broken hand and I think I can safely say that I’m now in the top 3 beekeepers in the company.
Why did you specialize in Data Science ?
Data Science has applications in almost any industry you can think of. It typically involves statistics, programming and domain knowledge. I’ve experience in both statistics and programming, but my knowledge of bees and beekeeping practices was non-existent. This is why I spent the majority of my time at the beginning reading through every book and article I could find and picking our CSO, Pádraig’s, brain to learn as much as I could.
The AgTech industry is growing every day, with novel applications of advanced monitoring and data analysis making agricultural processes more efficient. By specializing in Data Science, I was able to secure this job and be a part of this exciting space.
What has been the most interesting aspect of your role?
During my interview, I expressed a passing interest in beekeeping, I thought it might help me get the job. My bosses didn’t forget this, and so a few months after starting, I found myself on a flight to the US to assist in the collection of detailed inspection data. In two weeks, we managed to fully inspect over 200 bee hives.
Putting on the bee suit and seeing how the bees work first-hand was truly fascinating and invaluable in furthering my own knowledge. This data is pivotal to our Machine Learning approach, and enabled us to create our algorithms that make predictions about the conditions within the bee hive. I gained an appreciation for what insights would be truly valuable to a beekeeper and worked to deliver them. These enable the beekeepers to greatly increase the efficiency of their operations.