The 2019 Fellows

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Neal Hoapili Ane

Neal Hoapili Ane, Hoʻoulu ʻĀina Farms and the Living Pono Project. Hoapili was born on Oahu and moved to Maui at the age of 10. He fell in love with farming and ranching while working on the Mendez Ranch and Haleakalea Dairy. Upon graduation from St. Anthonyʻs High School, he attended and played football for Snow Jr. College and Oregon State University where he studied animal husbandry. In 2001 he moved back to Oahu and became a teacher working with at-risk youth. After becoming a father he and his ohana moved back to Maui to start their own farm and live a more grounded lifestyle. Hoapili was also driven to start his own 501c(3) non-profit that serves as a bridge program for at-risk youth, people with disabilities, and formerly incarcerated individuals to gain work experience in sustainable industries. Through his farm Hoʻoulu ʻĀina Farms, Hoapili is dedicated to building food security in Maui by creating modern day Ahupuaʻa and food systems that take the teachings of the past to inform good farming practices in the present context. These include working as a community, living off of the land, understanding the mahina and how the moon cycles influence crop production, and developing financial models that support and connect farmers and consumers in their Ahupuaʻa and Moku. These efforts have led him to serve as a board member for Hawaii Farmers Union United, a Trustee and Vice President for the Maui Historical Society, and co-founder for the Living Pono Project. “I hope to become an ancestor that my future moʻopuna and the generations to come would be proud of”.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Sherman Baisa

Sherman was born and raised on the Island of Maui. He was taught by his Kapunas to respect his Ohana, as well as the Aina. He grew up in Makawao, graduated from Maui High School and the University of Hawaii – Maui Campus with a degree in Food Service. After working in the food industry, he was offered a job to work as a pipefitter for the County of Maui, Department of Water Supply. He has been a public servant for almost 29 years and counting. As a proud servant for the County of Maui, he has learned the value of our Water Supply System and has received numerous awards, as well as letters of commendation for his outstanding customer service and knowledge of our Water Supply System. He has volunteered with many non-profit organizations including but not limited to Maui Economic Opportunity, J. Walter Cameron Center and many others. He still remains active in the community by serving on boards, helping with the government process and volunteering his time and knowledge to help the people of Maui Nui. He was active for over (16) years with the United Public Workers as a member of the State Board, State Contract Negotiating Committee, Grievance Committee, and the treasurer for the Maui Board.
In his free time, he likes to go “HoloHolo” for food from our Aina by hunting (archery & riflery) and fishing. He also loves going to the shooting range but most of all LOVES spending time with his Ohana (family and friends).  Sherman is married to Candace Sakugawa Baisa. His daughter (Kecia) graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelors Degree in Human Development, specializing in Family Science and is currently working for the State of Hawaii. His son (Chaz) is currently in his senior year at Western Oregon University, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Physical Science, minoring in Biology and is in the process of pursuing a career as a Doctor of Chiropractic.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Robert Bennett

Robert moved to the Island of Lanai with his Fiancée at the time, now his wife back in 2005. He grew up on the east coast in the keystone state of Pennsylvania. Upon completing his degree BS in Criminology and doing an internship with the Pennsylvania State Police, he decided to go back to school for a degree in Information Sciences & Technology at Penn State University. He then moved to Tennessee where he was an assistant manager at a national retail chain and then finally found his way the wonderful Island of Lanai. He’s currently the Systems Administrator for Pūlama Lāna‘i where he has worked for the past 13 years. He along with 2 other people look over all aspects of running the IT department through Pūlama Lāna‘i’s three offices throughout the state. Robert donates his spare time by helping the local community when computer help is needed. He also helps with the local bee population by answering calls to catch wild bee swarms and relocating them to Lāna‘i’s appropriate agriculture areas. Robert and his wife have grown roots on Lāna‘i which they now come home. In his spare time he enjoys reading, hunting, camping and researching the newest IT advances on the horizon.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Daryl Fujiwara

Born and raised on Maui, Daryl Fujiwara graduated from Lahainaluna High School in 2001. He continued his education at Chaminade University of Honolulu and received a degree in Communication Arts from Honolulu Community College. Daryl is the owner of Smythe Fujiwara Design. It started offering freelance graphic design and has since evolved and can be summed up as an advertising firm in one person — marketing, branding, event coordination, grant writing and management, and social media. Since January 2018 he also works as an executive assistant for council member Yuki Lei Sugimura.

In 2014 he won the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Na Hoku Hanohano award for Graphic Design on Hanu ‘A‘ala by Kamaka Kukona. Clients include the County of Maui, Maui County Farm Bureau, Kauhane Communications, Napili Kai Foundation, Maui Health System, Kalani Pe’a Music, LLC., Aha Hipuu, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, Hawaii Agritourism Association, GoFarm Hawaii and Miyake Concrete and Accessories.

Community events Fujiwara produces annually include: the Kamehameha Day Celebrations in Lahaina, the No Ka Oi Volleyball Tournament, the Maui Nui Canoe Race, Mele Mei Maui – the Na Hoku Hanohano Music Festival, Prince Kuhio Maui Ho’olaule’a, the Richard Ho’opi’i Falsetto Contest, the Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival and Festivals of Aloha.

Daryl supports many non-profits, boards, and committees. He is the board president of the Maui AIDS Foundation, board president for the Maui Dance Council, appointed Maui Commissioner for the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission and Pelekikena Iho Nei for the Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club.

A haumana of Halau Ka Malama Mahilani under the direction of kumu hula Cody Pueo Pata, in his spare time Daryl is a foodie and enjoys traveling.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Jonathan Jennings

Jonathan grew up in Tacoma, Washington and lived in Seattle for 7 years. He attended the University of Washington with a focus on American Indian Studies. Right out of college, Jonathan worked with various outreach programs designed to support Native American students. After visiting the islands many times to visit family, he knew Maui would one day be home. Jonathan made it a reality in 2014 and has not looked back since. He began working in the food and beverage industry which lead him to his current position as Operations Manager at the Old Lahaina Lu’au of Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu. Jonathan has taken advantage of the opportunities presented by Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu. He is frequently involved in community volunteer projects, is a member of the Moali’i Toastmasters club and has trained in multiple positions for the company. Jonathan spends the majority of his free time with his twin boys who love going to parks, the aquarium, and their tutu’s house.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Gabriel Lucy

Gabe was raised in the small logging town of Deming, Washington. He received a B.A. in Finance from the University of Portland in Oregon in 2005. While at university Gabe joined the Hawaiian Club; some of his favorite memories are of performing hula and the Haka for school events. His involvement in this club spurred his love for the Hawaiian Culture and encouraged him to keep moving west towards Hawai’i. After college, he moved to Southern California where he owned and operated a Pita Pit restaurant in Hermosa Beach. After a few years in Hermosa, Gabe was ready for a change in lifestyle. It was not hard for Ginger (now his wife) to convince him to move to Maui where he could work for her dad as a deckhand for Trilogy Excursions. Over the years Gabe’s love of sailing and appreciation for the ocean has grown immensely, he has logged upwards of 30,000 nautical miles sailing around the Hawaiian Islands and on multiple open ocean crossings, including a six month boat delivery from Florida to Tahiti, which retraced part of the original Trilogy’s journey to Hawaii in 1971. After 12 years with Trilogy, Gabe has been promoted from serving cinnamon rolls and hoisting sails to be the Director of Operations, a key member of the Executive Management team, and travels regularly overseeing new boat designs and builds across the country. In addition to his role at Trilogy, he spends part of his week on Lāna’i as the General Manager for Lāna’i City Service and as President of Lāna’i Ocean Sports Management And if those jobs didn’t keep him busy enough, his role of Dad to twins, Dylan and Naia, and his youngest daughter Sailor keeps him on his toes and pushes him to stay outside enjoying the beautiful life that Maui provides. Gabe continues to invest his time and energy into how companies can work together to give back to our community and how we can malama our ocean and ‘aina and hopes that we can instill the same love for the open ocean and Hawaiian Culture into future generations.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Leonardo Lunario

Originally from Rizal, Philippines and raised in Southern California, Leo moved to Maui in 2015. He graduated from the University of California San Diego with a BS in Electrical Engineering and then later obtained his MS Engineering degree from the University of California Los Angeles. He started his career in the aerospace and defense industry for 10 years where he helped develop unmanned aircraft and satellites. Leo is currently an engineer at Maui Electric Company where he supports energy delivery and generation projects. His responsibilities include all phases of the project management life cycle. He also embraces the many volunteer opportunities within MECO and has assisted in events related to STEM and community outreach. Leo lives in Wailuku and enjoys spending time with his wife, Lowella, and two daughters – Ilana (2.5 years old) and Galada (6 months old). His passions include traveling, hiking, reading, tinkering with electronics and investing.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Saumalu Mataafa

Aloha, my name is Saumalu Mataafa and I was raised in Lahaina, Maui. I have a professional and educational background in aeronautics; and developed projects for both NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration. My current work involves researching County-related issues and working with local policymakers to implement solutions that benefit Maui residents. I was also a researcher at the State Legislature, where I helped develop a policy to manage infrastructure systems, increase local food production, and improve high-technology implementation strategies. I value my family, community, kindness, and optimism. My favorite hobbies are reading, traveling, swimming, and playing sports.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Shaun Pederson

Shaun was raised on Maui, graduated from Lahainaluna High School, and earned a Business Management Degree from Arizona State University. After College, Shaun became a Professional Golfer and played on various Golf Tours trying to earn his PGA Tour Card. After the turn in the market, Shaun returned to his home Island of Maui in 2009. He has since joined his family in Real Estate and hangs his license with Island Sotheby’s International Realty. He has focused much of his attention on Workforce Housing and is involved in one project that is currently under construction and another that is about to be released. In his free time, Shaun enjoys Paddling, Golfing, and enjoying all that Maui has to offer.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Chase Kawika Rogers

Born and raised in Lahaina, Maui, I am the Sales Manager for the Old Lahaina Luau. After graduating in 2011 from Lahainaluna High School, I attended Pacific University in Forest Grove Oregon. At Pacific, I was involved in several extra-curricular activities including the Varsity football team, Na Haumana O Hawaii (Hawaii Club), and working part-time. In 2015 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. After graduation, I returned home after a year of living and working in Oregon. Aside from work, I am the Defensive Backs coach for the Lahainaluna High School Football Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. I love being able to mentor these kids and help them achieve their goals. In my free time, I enjoy traveling the world and participating in community service projects.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Lopaka White

With 15 years of multi-programmatic experience working on Kahoʻolawe across a diverse range of responsibilities, I am a driven leader with a passion for protecting Hawaii’s natural resources- both cultural and physical. During my early years on Kaho`olawe I spent time in the field performing sub-surface detection of UXO (unexploded ordnance) using metal detectors, assisting EOD’s and their excavation teams with the detection, excavation and removal of UXO; as well as assuring quality control of geophysical detection work performed in the field as a Geophysicist’s Assistant. Currently, I am the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission’s Maintenance & Vessel Operator. As an Access Guide and previous restoration project manager, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to manage and lead thousands of volunteers in the faunal restoration and re-vegetative efforts of a 45-square mile project site over the course of my tenure with the KIRC. Throughout this time, I have assumed increasingly progressive responsibilities in the day-to-day operations of KIRC programs. I appreciate new challenges and opportunities to sharpen my skillsets in order to best problem-solve while applying my existing skillsets.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Jodi Arisumi

Jodi is born and raised on Maui. Her family has been a part of this community for 4 generations. Her great-grandparents and grandparents worked hard for the plantations in order to pave the way for my parents and myself to have an opportunity for a better life. Jodi attended Baldwin High School, and then the University of Hawaii, where she received her BBA in Human Resources and Finance and her Masters in Human Resources Management. Jodi has worked in various Human Resources roles and currently is the Human Resources and Payroll Manager for Maui Oil Company. She also is a Board of Director for Maui Federal Credit Union. In her free time, Jodi enjoys spending time with her husband and Boston Terrier named Batman.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Lauren Armstrong

Lauren Armstrong joined Maui MPO as Executive Director in September 2016. Lauren grew up in Haiku, received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Middlebury College, and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UH Mānoa. Lauren worked as an environmental planner for Townscape Inc. on O‘ahu, then as a community planner for Marin County in California with a focus on coastal resilience.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Grazel Caceres

My name is Grazel Caceres. I grew up on the island of Lāna‘i. I’m currently working for Pūlama Lāna‘i under the Department of Natural Resources as a Wildlife Technician, assisting with the study and protection of our native endangered Hawaiian Petrel along with other native wildlife on the island. My passion for working in conservation grew when I took my first trip Kaho‘olawe during my freshman year in high school and learned the value of restoring our island’s resources. On my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, hiking, and cooking. I always look forward to learning new things and meeting new people.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Lana Coryell

Born and raised on Maui, Lana Coryell graduated cum laude from both Seabury Hall and Pomona College in Claremont, CA. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis in 2008. For the past ten years, Lana has dedicated her professional career to the educational programs at Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center where she began as a student at age 5 and now serves as the Hui’s Senior Programs Manager. Lana manages around 300 art classes, open studios, and outreach programs every year, designs the Hui’s Create publication, works with nationally and internationally renowned artists for the Hui’s Visiting Artist Program, and is involved in many other creative projects! She is an avid tennis player and fitness enthusiast and loves hula, writing, spending time outdoors, volunteering with other non-profit organizations, and playing with her dogs and cats.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Chandy Ann Lopes

Born and raised on Maui, Chandy Lopes holds a BA in religion from Colgate University in upstate New York and a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. Chandy has made it her life’s work to bring quality and comprehensive natural health care to her community. She currently practices in Lahaina where she specializes in hormone & immune system balancing, detoxification & nutrition. She combines integrity, compassion, & passion for alternative medicine with in-depth knowledge of CAM therapies. When she’s not working or learning new CAM treatments, she is reading, spending time with her family or paddling at the beach.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Cristina Schenk

Cristina Schenk is the Vice President & Controller for Merriman’s Restaurants. A graduate of Seabury Hall, Cristina majored in art history at Columbia University and spent several years working for an auction house in suburban Philadelphia before moving back to Maui in 2010. While working full time for a CPA firm in Wailuku, she pursued a Master of Science in Taxation from William Howard Taft University, eventually earning a Certified Public Accounting license. She has worked for Merriman’s since 2014, overseeing the lease negotiation and build-out of the newest Merriman’s restaurant in Honolulu and serves on Maui’s local Workforce Development Board.

2019 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Alana Yurkanin

Born and raised in Waikapu, Maui, Alana is inherently drawn to the outdoors, community, and adventure. She graduated from Baldwin High School in 2005, received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Colorado College in 2009 and her master’s degree specialization in Coastal Marine Resource Management from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School in 2014. As The Nature Conservancy’s Assistant Marine Coordinator on Maui, Alana leads and participates in marine conservation programs in Maui Nui including the management, development and coordination of conservation activities with multiple community and agency partners to advance initiatives such as marine area planning and designations, community-based learning networks, and monitoring of ‘opihi, fish, and coral. Additionally, she has a background in outdoor and environmental education, seamanship, international aid work, and performing arts. She lives in Keokea with her boyfriend, their cat, and two tortoises, and enjoys ocean time, farming, playing music, volunteering, and making sure her friends and family knows she loves them!

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows
153 E Kamehameha Ave
Ste 104-203
Kahului, HI 96732