The 2010 Fellows

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Tia Ferguson

As Project Coordinator at Dowling Company, Tia’s provides analysis and feedback for legislation related to real estate development in Maui County and Hawaii. Her responsibilities include assuring project compliance with zoning and permitting regulations, community plans, and the proposed Countywide Policy Plan and Maui Island Plan. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Tia also contributes to the green development aspects of Dowling Company projects. Tia is actively involved in assessing project proposals’ level of sustainability as well as their affordability given available financing options, including federal grant monies as well as state and federal tax incentives. Tia has participated in writing grant proposals for two federally-funded renewable energy projects for Dowling Company. Additionally, Tia has been involved in promoting a vision of sustainability for Makena Resort. Her efforts include working to secure funds for a planned 5-megawatt solar farm and planning the creation of an Artificial Reef at Makena. Tia also works to promote educational awareness of sustainability within the Maui community through the utilization of new media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, and through more traditional means of exchange such as a blessing ceremony commemorating the installation of a solar photovoltaic system at the Makena Wastewater Reclamation Facility. Tia was born and raised in Kula, Maui. Tia recently completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University, where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and a minor in Cultural Anthropology. In her free time, Tia enjoys reading, running, and paddling outrigger canoe.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Liz Foote

Liz was born in Connecticut, and from a young age constantly sought opportunities to learn and teach about marine science. Before settling on Maui in 1998, Liz worked as a whale watch naturalist in Massachusetts, volunteered at aquariums in Connecticut and California, taught coral reef ecology aboard a schooner in the Virgin Islands, studied orcas in British Columbia, and assisted reef researchers in the Florida Keys. Liz earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from the University of California, San Diego, and worked in research laboratories at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. After shifting her focus from marine research to marine education, she obtained a master’s of science degree in science education/marine science from Oregon State University. Liz serves as the Hawaii Field Manager for the Coral Reef Alliance and also oversees the local nonprofit organization she founded in 1999, Project S.E.A.-Link. Her professional interests and activities focus on collaboratively developing and coordinating marine science and education programs, facilitating community-based conservation efforts, coordinating citizen-science monitoring, and promoting science literacy.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Angela Gannon

Angela has been employed with Maui College for 25 years now in both the Academic Affairs department and currently as an Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs. Prior to working for the University of Hawai`i she was employed by the Second Circuit Court Judiciary in both the Adult and District Court Probation Offices. While with the Maui College she has been involved with opportunities such as being both President and Advisor for the Hawaiian Club, representative Steward, Unit 03 secretary and Union Gap Newsletter Editor for the Hawaii Government Employees Association, and is also currently a lifelong learner, pursuing con-current Associates and Bachelors Degrees in Business. She also received both her Associate’s Degrees in Administration and Liberal Arts from Maui College. She has more recently partnered with the Local Delinquency Prevention Programs Maui County Team and assisted in the development of a pilot Title V supported “In-School Suspension Program” partnered by the Maui Police Department, the Upcountry Boy’s & Girl’s Club of Maui and Kalama Intermediate School. She also enjoys supporting community functions such as being co-chair for St. Joseph Church Annual Feast’s Live Auction committee. She has three children and three grandchildren and is happily married, living in Upcountry Maui.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Dean George

Dean was born and raised in Hawaii growing up on the island of Maui. He received a degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Biology. After college Dean worked as a Systems Analyst at a local hospital before moving back to Maui to further his career at the Maui High-Performance Computing Center as a Systems Administrator. Currently, he is the Manager of the System Services group. Dean enjoys playing tennis, hiking, traveling and spending time with his family. He is married and has a daughter.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Jordan Hart

Jordan was born on Maui and grew up in Haiku. Graduated from Maui High School in 1996, went on to Northern Arizona University to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in 2003. Did some traveling in North, Central and South America as well as in Europe. Returned to Maui in 2004 to begin a career. Enjoys surfing, hiking, economics, comedy, and politics.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Kainoa Horcajo

Kainoa was born and raised on the island of Maui, running through the mountain trails and swimming in the ocean waters. He is the product of two dedicated, loving parents who shared what they knew about business, life, love, service to others, and community. He graduated from Seabury Hall and went on to obtain his B.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego. A constant student, Kainoa tries to learn as much as he can from the surrounding environment, the Hawaiian culture, and the people he meets from all walks of life to inform his view of creating a better future for Maui.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Craig Kinoshita

Craig was born on Maui and raised in Wailuku. Education: H.P. Baldwin High School, U.H. Manoa BBA Accounting C.P.A. Career: Deloitte & Touche LLP, Senior Auditor, Rojac Construction/Trucking Inc., Accounting Manager, Maui Pineapple Company, Accounting Manager, Wailuku Federal Credit Union, CEO/Manager. Family: Married to Lori with three children: Aden, Kaz, and Sammi. Interests: Tennis, diving, coaching kids.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Tiare Lawrence

Tiare was born in raised in Lahaina, Maui. After attending Lahainaluna High School, she worked at Tokyo Disneyland dancing hula. After a year contract, she moved to Canada and attended an acrobatic school in Montreal. She then became an aerialist in the Ulalena Show in Lahaina. Due to an injury, she moved to Oahu to pursue school. She attended the business program at Kapiolani Community College. In 2008 she moved back to Maui and also attended the Core Four Business Planning Course at Maui Economic Opportunity. Tiare now works as the outdoor pursuits and beach activities director for Makena Resort Services. On her spare time, she enjoys surfing, paddling, and hiking. Tiare is also a coach at Hawaiian Canoe Club.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Ryan Ouye

Ryan was born and raised on the island of Maui. He is currently the General Manager for Service Rentals & Supplies, Inc., his family’s own business. He has worked in the family business for over 20 plus years and he currently manages four locations, two on the island of Maui, one on Kauai and one on the Big Island. A graduate of Baldwin High School, Ryan received his Bachelors of Arts from the University of California at Long Beach. He is married and has four children, Rysan, Rachelle, Raina, and Randi. He currently serves as a board member for the following organizations: the Boys Scouts of America – Maui County, the Maui Chamber of Commerce, the Wailuku Hongwanji Preschool and the Family Business Center of Hawaii. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Velma Panlasigui

Velma hails from an agricultural family in Honolua that devoted its livelihood to the last standing pineapple plantation in the state. As a child, she was actively involved in dancing hula with Napili Kai Foundation, a long-standing youth organization perpetuating the Hawaiian culture. Velma’s love for the ocean flourished when she became a youth paddler for Napili Canoe Club, and she is currently a member of Lae Ula O Kai Canoe Club. During the past three years, she has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association. Velma attended Lahainaluna High School, Maui College, and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and earned an undergraduate and graduate degree in Speech. In 2001, she felt life had come full circle as she was able to return to her home island, and give back to the community through a position as the Coordinator and Student Advisor for the University of Hawaii at Manoa Outreach Program, serving Maui students in distance degree programs.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Chris Speere

Retired 2020, Associate Professor / Culinary Arts Food Innovation Specialist / Coordinator of the Maui Food Innovation Center at UH Maui College.  

Mr. Speere’s culinary training began in San Francisco, California where many European Master Chefs influenced him.  He received his Associate in Arts from the City College of San Francisco and completed an American Culinary Federation Chefs Apprenticeship concurrent with his college studies. After working in Switzerland and several small and large establishments in California, he moved to Maui, where he worked as chef with the Maui Prince Hotel. 

When the opportunity presented itself, he willingly consented to serve as an instructor at UH Maui College in 1989. He quickly distinguished himself as a leader with great creativity.  He received the Hawaii State Department of Vocational Education Postsecondary Teacher of the
Year Award in 1993, was an honored recipient of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995, the NISOD Teaching Award in 1997, the Mayors Award for Excellence in Culinary Arts in 2006, and in 2007 was selected as a Hawai’i delegate to the
Terra Madre/Slow Food Global Conference in Turin, Italy, to promote cultural food traditions, bio-diversity in food crops, and the rediscovery of locally grown and artisan foods on Maui.  Mr. Speere authored the “Taste of Maui” cookbook in 2008, which highlights the rich cultural diversity and food traditions of the UH Maui College culinary arts program. 

Mr. Speere presently owns and directs Hale Ihe Consulting, working closely with food and beverage industry partners to bring financial resources and innovative agricultural system programming to Maui’s farmers, chefs, and food entrepreneurs.

Bio and headshot updated on 3/13/2024


2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Bill Stevens

Bill is originally from the Pacific Northwest, Bill lived all over the country before finding his home on Maui. Employed by the University of Hawaii, he is currently the Information Systems Security Manager at the Maui High-Performance Computing Center. He earned a degree in Computer Science and a graduate degree in Computer Resource Management, culminating in nearly 30 years experience in the high-tech field. Last year he became a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, one of the few on island. Bill strongly believes in and supports quality education and providing a safe and nurturing environment for kids. He enjoys volleyball, soccer, biking, participating in and supporting youth sports, and the joys and challenges of raising a family.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Emily Erickson

Emily Erickson has worked diligently on Maui to support the growing efforts of the renewable energy movement, with specific expertise in the solar industry. Before joining Hawaii Energy Strategists as the Renewable Energy Director, she was Director of Operations for Maui Solar Project. Previous to that she served as Director of Marketing at the University of Hawaii Maui College, where she was made keenly aware of the challenges our community faces in being a small island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Also an avid filmmaker, she moved to Maui in 2007 and worked as the Director of Productions at Akaku. She has also held many interesting positions over her career including working as an Assistant Director on film and television shows, and a clown for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Emily is a member of the prestigious Ka Ipu Kukui Leadership program, Maui Young Business Round Table, Maui Polo Club, and serves on the Board of the Directors for The Maui Farm, a non-profit organization providing life services to families in transition. Originally from Montevallo, Alabama, she was raised on an expansive 300-acre Christmas tree farm. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major from Colorado State University in Journalism and Equine Science.

Emily lives with her husband and dog Pepper in beautiful upcountry Maui where she enjoys horseback riding, golf, and kayaking. Emily’s current role is Director of Renewable Energy for Hawaii Energy Strategists (HES). HES develops large scale utility renewable energy projects. Our goal is to help Hawaii achieve its renewable energy goal of 100% by 2045.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Kimberly Unemori Skog

After graduating from Seabury Hall, Kimberly attended Pomona College where she began to pursue a degree in Astronomy. However, seeking to broaden her horizons, she transferred to James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, where she would receive her degree (BSocSci Honors) in Anthropology. Since starting her life on her grandfather’s pineapple farm, and having lived and studied abroad, Kimberly has developed a profound appreciation for Maui’s unique natural environment and multicultural dynamic. Kimberly began working as a land use planner with Munekiyo & Hiraga, Inc. in 2007, and she has previously worked with the Maui Economic Development Board, Inc. and the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui. When not in the office, Kimberly is likely enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. Participating in sports since a young age, Kimberly can often be found on the tennis courts or on the soccer fields where she coaches. While at home in Ha‘iku, she spends time reading and tending to her garden.

2010 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Sharon Zalsos

Sharon was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. A graduate of Maui High School in 1997, also a proud member of the JV Wrestling Team. In the same year won Miss Maui Filipina Scholarship Pageant and represented the community as an ambassador of goodwill to the neighboring islands as well as the Philippines. In 1998 left Maui to serve in the United States Air Force and received numerous letters of appreciation and awards to include Personnel Manager of the Year for McChord Air Force Base in 2001. Owner and operator of Metzler Enterprises in Olympia, WA for over nine years and currently own Valley Isle Legacy, a consulting entity specializing in Human Resource Management. She is also an Executive Travel Consultant for Noble Travel in Wailuku. A proud public servant working for the County of Maui with the Department of Environmental Management. Pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and Humanity with a big mahalo to the M.GI Bill. Actively involved with Miss Maui Filipina 2010 Scholarship Committee, member of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce and also participated in the November 2009 Trade and Humanitarian Mission to the Philippines as a delegate of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. Above all, Sharon is a very proud mama of her little angel Dustin D. Metzler Jr.

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows
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