Board of Directors
President: Travis Idol, PhD
Professor of Tropical Forestry and Agroforestry at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Dr. Idol teaches and conducts research on silviculture and ecology of Acacia koa and Iliahi and the development of agroforestry systems utilizing improved varieties of Leucaena trees. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wake Forest University and a Master’s of Science and PhD in Forest Soils from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University.
Vice President: Wade Lee
Managing Member, Háloa ‘Áina Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood
Háloa Áina is a family-owned business dedicated to restoring the native dryland forest. Wade was raised on an Anthurium farm in the Pana‘ewa Farm lots in Hilo, Hawai‘i. It was there that Wade learned that if you take care of the land it will take care of you. Great grandmother Kawewehiokealiiokalanikamamalu was pure Hawaiian and supported herself and her children tending a taro loi in Mānoa Valley where she is buried. Wade received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and his Master’s Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University.
Treasurer: William Yuen, Esq.
Attorney at Law, Dentons US LLP
Bill is a partner in Dentons’ Honolulu office, has, over a career spanning more than 40 years, helped shape Hawaii’s real estate and financial sectors. Bill has extensive experience in real estate development and transactions, land use and planning law, securities law, public finance law, corporate and business organization law, banking and financial services law, venture capital financing, and environmental law. In addition to a JD from Rutgers University School of Law, Bill holds a BA from Yale University and an MCP (Master of City Planning) from Yale School of Architecture.
Secretary: Peter D. Simmons
Consultant, In the Woods
Peter has been involved with land, pasture and forest management in Hawai‘i for over 40 years. He retired from a career of land asset management at Kamehameha Schools (KS) in 2010, where he was responsible for 293,000 acres and 25 people on Hawai‘i Island. He specialized in forests, pastures and large orchards. Prior to joining KS, Peter was the Ranch Manager for McCandless Ranch and its 66,000 acres in South Kona, Hawai‘i where he was responsible for cattle operations, land leases, and for harvesting koa and processing the timber into kiln dried, well-manufactured lumber. Peter is a Charter Member of HFIA and HFI and was the Chairperson of the Society of American Foresters (Hawaii Chapter) and vice president of the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association. During his career, Peter was instrumental in repurposing over 100,000 acres of leased pasture lands to working, and conserving forests. He led KS’ purchase of 30,000 acres of former Hāmākua sugar land and the conversion of over 40,000 acres of former sugarcane land into tree farms and pastures. In addition to tending his native tree orchid in North Kohala, Peter is an avid tennis player and a woodworker.
Director: Don Bryan
CEO/President, Hamakua Tropical Woods
Don Bryan is a professional forester trained at the University of Washington and has been active in the forest products industry since 1967. He served in various positions at the Weyerhaeuser Company, Timber Vice President at the Campbell Group, and founder and President of The Timber Exchange in Portland, Oregon prior to coming to Hawai‘i in 2005. In Hawai‘i he has served as co-founder and President of Tradewinds Forest Products, which has endeavored to bring commercial scale forest products manufacturing to Hawai‘i. He is currently a member of Hamakua Tropical Woods, which exports forest products and is currently endeavoring to build a commercial sawmill on Hawai‘i Island. Don has worked with various non-profits including serving as Chair of Longview District, Boy Scouts of America, founder and Chair of High Hopes Charities, and Treasurer for Laupahoehoe Public Charter School. He currently serves as President of the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association, and member of Hui Kako‘o ‘O Laupahoehoe.
Director: J.B. Friday, PhD
Extension Forester, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR)
Dr. Friday works with landowners, tree farmers, and professional foresters throughout the state and across the Pacific on topics including forest health and Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, restoration of native forests, silviculture of Hawaii’s koa, and agroforestry. Dr. Friday earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Dartmouth College, a Master’s of Forestry (MF) from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a PhD in agriculture from the University of Hawai‘i. In addition to working in Hawai‘i, Dr. Friday has also done projects in Guam, Micronesia, the Philippines, and East Timor.
Director: Nicholas Koch
General Manager, Siglo Tonewoods
Nick is a professional forester and General Manager with Siglo Tonewoods, a wood products and reforestation company on Hawaiʻi Island. After earning a bachelor’s degree in forestry in upstate New York, Nick worked in forests around the world, including Alaska, Guatemala, Mexico, with small projects in Malaysia and Cameroon. Nick has been practicing forestry in Hawaiʻi for over 20 years, with experience in native and exotic tree plantations, native forest restoration, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, log scaling and forest inventory, invasive weed suppression, advanced wood supply planning and commercial nursery management.
Stephen E. S. Smith
Mahalo to former Director Peter T. Young, President, Ho`okuleana LLC for his years of service on the HFI Board of Directors.
Executive Director: Heather Simmons
Heather has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies, an Associates Degree in Graphic Technology, and 30 years’ experience managing community projects and programs. Prior to joining HFI and HFIA in 2007, she worked for the Hilo Medical Center Foundation for seven years and the Conservation District of Southern Nevada for eight years. She is from Stratford, Ontario in Canada and moved to Hawai’i in 2002.
Fund Development Coordinator/Project Manager: Paul Arinaga
Paul is an experienced project manager, communications/outreach professional and grant writer. He is co-founder and manager of the “Go Native: Growing a Native Hawaiian Urban Forest” project which aims to restore nature from mauka to makai by mobilizing Hawai`i residents to grow more Native Hawaiian and canoe plants. He also manages the Symphony of the Hawai`i Forests and Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest projects. Paul has an MBA from London Business School and an M.A. in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.
Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association, Administrative Services
Jill Wagner, Future Forests Nursery, Biological Services
Yvonne Yarber Carter, Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Keoki Apokolani Carter, Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest Cultural Educator
Lehua Alapai, Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest Outreach Assistant
Ku‘ulei Keakealani, Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest Cultural Educator
Linda Duling, Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest Coordinator
Paul Arinaga, Fund Development Coordinator/Project Manager
Agro Resources, Forest Maintenance