Brandi K. Beaudet, Land Manager, Parker Ranch Inc., Hawai‘i
Born and raised on Hawai‘i Island Brandi has BBA in Accounting from Chaminade University in Honolulu. His land management responsibilities include land use and strategic planning and implementation for many of the Parker Ranch assets, including the Waimea Town Center. He also oversees resource management on the ranch and is a director on the Kohala Watershed Partnership. His family manages a ranching operation on 125 acres of pasture on Hawaiian Homestead lands in Waimea.
“Working for an ag based organization that has been in operation for almost 170 years and is held in perpetuity by a Trust creates a work environment that is much larger than myself. To be a part of its history, working in the capacity that I do, really encourages me to make the best possible decisions I can to ensure this organization and its lands are left in a better condition than when I got here. That’s challenging!”
Christopher Shipman English, Vice President of Production, Ponoholo Ranch, Ltd., Hawai‘i
Born and raised on the island of Hawai‘i, Chris earned a BA at Oregon State University. After working in the beef industry on the mainland he returned to a family-owned commercial cattle operation. Additionally he is responsible for all daily ranch operations at Ponoholo Ranch. He is a director on the Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range and W.H. Shipman, Ltd boards and VP for Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council. Chris’ passion is to perpetuate the Hawaiian ranching tradition in a responsible manner and to provide a wholesome source of food for his community.
“I have always loved the outdoors and working with animals. No day at the ranch is the same as the last; new and unique challenges are the norm.”
Tyler Carter Jones, Assistant Forester and Plant Breeder, Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center, O‘ahu
Born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Tyler received a BS in Environmental Science from Duke University and an MS in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering from the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, CTAHR. Since living in Hawai‘i his focus has been on crop genetics and traditional plant breeding and he is currently working on disease resistant Acacia koa for restoration efforts and the development of improved energy cane varieties for biofuels. Tyler lives with his wife as the caretakers on an 80-acre experimental farm on windward O’ahu.
“I love my work for several reasons, but most importantly because it affords me the opportunity to make a living while working to develop solutions that will have economic, ecologic, and cultural benefits to the people of Hawai‘i.”
Sydney Keli‘ipuleole, Asset Management Director, Land Assets Division, Kamehameha Schools, O‘ahu
Born and raised on Oʻahu, Sydney received a BFA in Urban & Regional Design at University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa and an MBA in Business from Chaminade College. He is part of a team that manages land by balancing educational, economic, cultural, environmental and community values in order to carry out the Kamehameha Schools mission in perpetuity. He also has been a director on the Girl Scouts Hawai‘i board and President of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth board. After designing and building his home on Kāneʻohe Bay Sydney now enjoys puttering in the yard, paddling in the bay and watching Sunday afternoon movies.
“Diversified agriculture will reconnect native Hawaiians to our tradition of mālama ʻāina and build healthier tomorrows for our keiki. Successful agriculture businesses support Kamehameha Schools’ perpetual mission and can sustain livable communities in which native Hawaiians live, work and play.”
Kirby Luther Kester, Applied Genetics Manager, BASF, Kaua‘i
Kirby was born in an agricultural community in Nebraska and received a BS in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska and a MA in Agriculture at Iowa State University. Currently he is working to develop crops that are higher yielding, more nutritious, or provide renewable resources. Kirby is a director with the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association. Kirby’s favorite hobbies are dirt bike riding, running, bicycling, fishing, kayaking, and swimming and he spends time with his family in the water and coaching “ball” sports.
“I love my work because agriculture is absolutely necessary for man’s existence. It is rewarding to be working on something that has true meaning and value, food.”
Derrick Kiyabu, Assistant Farm Manager, MA‘O Organic Farms, Oʻahu
Born and raised in Hawai‘i Derrick received his BA in Agriculture from University of Hawai‘i -Mānoa and completed coursework in Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University. His work as assistant farm manager allows him to apply and develop his skills in sustainable and organic farming practices on a day-to-day basis. Derrick also engages in “big-picture” initiatives that aim to strengthen the local and sustainable agriculture industry in Hawaiʻi through his community work as a volunteer director with the Hawai‘i Peoples Fund and Hawai‘i Food Policy Council.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture! I’m excited to be a part of Class XIV and look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the breadth and complexity of issues surrounding food and agriculture in Hawai‘i.”
James Andrew Kwon, Botanist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, O‘ahu
Born and raised in Hawai‘i James received his BS in Biology-Economics from Claremont McKenna College and his MS in Botany-Conservation Biology from University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa. Currently he works to conserve and restore native biodiversity and ecological integrity of Pacific Islands ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations through leadership, science-based management, and collaborative partnerships. James enjoys running, swimming, cooking, learning about his Japanese and Korean heritage and volunteering in the community.
“I hope to increase my awareness and understanding of some of the successes and challenges of the agriculture industry, thereby, improving opportunities to discover common ground, share knowledge, and find innovative and collaborative solutions to maintain thriving native ecosystems and sustainable food and agricultural systems. I will be an advocate for local sustainable agriculture by buying local agricultural products, by improving conditions for those working in the agricultural industry, and by supporting land use policies that seek a balance between sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of native ecosystems.”
Jennica Catherine Lowell, Research Manager, Blue Ocean Mariculture, Hawai‘i
Jennica grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida and received her BS in Marine Biology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and her MS in Aquaculture from the University of Florida. She has worked as a marine finfish producer in Florida, Puerto Rico and currently supports her company’s efforts to increase their environmental sustainability and operational efficiency. When not working Jennica spends her time outdoors hiking, diving and surfing.
“Agriculture, along with manufacturing, is one of the primary industries we need to support ourselves. Beyond this basic need for food, agriculture/ aquaculture has the means to invigorate the environment and teach people the value of nature.”
Elton Mow, Owner and Manager, Orchid Plantation, Inc., Hawai‘i
Born and raised in Kalihi Valley on O‘ahu, Elton received his BS in Civil Engineering from University of Hawai‘i -Mānoa and is currently the owner and manager of an export flower, plant and orchid nursery with the mission of consistent high quality. He is on the board of directors of the Orchid Growers of Hawai‘i. Elton lives in Keaʻau with his wife and their 3 children growing food, including taro and sweet potatoes, chicken eggs and a pig using the natural farming deep litter system.
“I am convinced that there is room for all in Agriculture. Nothing should be excluded if done correctly considering Hawai‘i’s unique geographic location and varied growing conditions.”
Cynthia S. Nazario-Leary, Director New Farmers Network, Agriculture & Natural Resources Program, University of Hawai‘i Maui College, Maui
Cynthia was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Missouri, Mexico and Maryland before moving to Hawai‘i in 2000. She has a BS in Landscape Contracting from Pennsylvania State University and a MS in Horticulture from the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa. She is currently seeking a PhD in Natural Resources & Environmental Management at University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa and is a volunteer Board Member for Maui Nui Botanical Garden. Cynthia loves living in the quiet, tranquility and surrounding beauty of Kula with her husband and 4-year-old son where she cooks for friends and gardens, sings, dances and reads.
“There is a rising interest in food security, agricultural sustainability, and consumer support of local products as more people become aware of Hawai‘i’s dependence on mainland and foreign sources of food. In order to increase food security and long term agricultural sustainability in Hawai‘i, there needs to be stronger and improved support for new and existing farmers and the diversity of crops they grow.”
Judith Rivera, Station Manager Waimea Research Center, Du Pont Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int., Kaua‘i
Born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico, Judith has a BS in general agriculture and a MS in soil science from The University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez College and an MBA in Finance from Colorado Technical University. As station manager at the Waimea Research Center she is able to contribute to Pioneer’s goal of a sustainable global agricultural system that meets the food, feed, fiber, and industrial needs of a growing world. Judith is active on the board of the West Kauaʻi Rotary Club. As a new parent, she enjoys family time in Hawai‘i and Puerto Rico, loves to dance the Salsa and Merengue and eat Puerto Rican food.
“I like to work with people and promote local economy while making a difference and contributing to an innovative way of doing agriculture that aligns with the world needs. It is our responsibility to provide solutions to big problems under the big picture of humanity.”
Ashley Michelle Stokes, DVM, PhD, CTAHR Extension Veterinarian University of Hawaiʻi
Ashley is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and received a BA from the University of Alabama, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology from Louisiana State University. Along with her CTAHR Extension Veterinarian duties she works with animals and ranchers throughout the state conducting basic and applied veterinary research as well as time in the classroom teaching Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Ashley enjoys triathlete training with friends and has completed a full Ironman and other triathlete events. She used her training to “slow down” and have time to think!
“I love my work because I get to work with people already dedicated and working in Hawaii’s diverse agricultural industries, and with those who are being educated right now at UH to be the next generation in agriculture.”
Miki K. Tomita, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction/ULS Project Pono Advisor, University Laboratory School PCS, O‘ahu
Born and raised on Maui Miki received a BS in Biosystems Engineering at University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa‚ CTAHR and a Ph.D. from Stanford University‚ School of Education. Currently she is a teacher, researcher, administrator and service-learning coordinator and is dedicated to place-, culture-, and project-based education, environmental activism, and youth voice. Miki is active on the boards of the Hawaiʻi Public Charter School Network, the Oʻahu Farm to School Network and Phi Delta Kappa Hawaiʻi. Miki’s work is inspired by her daughter and, along with her husband and daughter, frequently dedicates her weekends volunteering in the loʻi, picking up trash on the beach or growing, gathering and distributing food to those in need.
“With our rich agricultural past and cultural legacy, our at times unspoken commitment to aloha and aloha ‘āina, and our unique assets in terms of biotechnological and natural resource conservation, I believe that Hawai‘i can become a leader in global cultural and environmental sustainability. This leadership and commitment must be shaped through our commitment to our children, and to helping them understand the world they live in and the ways their actions, every day and life-long, help to shape that world and the effect they have on themselves and others, present and future.”
Melissa Ann Zeman, Co-owner and founder, O‘ahu Fresh, O‘ahu
Originally from Maryland, Melissa (Lisa) received a BA in Psychology from University of Maryland Baltimore County and MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. As co-owner of O‘ahu Fresh, a local produce delivery company, she helps consumer’s access affordable local fresh produce while supporting local farmers. She volunteers with the South Oʻahu Soil and Water Conservation District, provides business support for Green Wheel Food Hub, conservation planning assistance to Sustain Pro Management and manages the Kunia Agricultural Park. Lisa enjoys the outdoors by relaxing at the beach with her dog Roby, cooking, reading and practicing her harp playing skills.
“I love working with farmers because they are the smartest and hardest working people I know–I continually learn from them and they are the truest entrepreneurs.”
Christina Yumi Zimmerman, Environmental Health Specialist, Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, O‘ahu
Born and raised on O‘ahu Christina (Tina) received a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa. Her work contributes to the regulation, registration, distribution and use of pesticides to ensure safe, efficient, and effective use of pesticides that minimize adverse effects on humans and the environment. Tina is an active volunteer in her community. Christina enjoys hiking the Koolaus, Thoreau, hot coffee, and her dogs but she is most passionate about her 11-year old daughter and being the best role model she can be for her.
“Pesticide regulation is essential in assuring that safe and effective pesticides remain available to growers of all types.”
Class XIV materials of note:
List of seminar speakers, site visits and leadership workshops
List of Capstone Projects
Capstone Project Web Site
Class White Paper, shared with Washington DC congressional delegates
Class XIV Blog – follow the class during their seminars