©2019 by the County of Maui Department of Planning.

M E E T   O U R   S P E A K E R S

Session 5a: Improving Disaster Recovery Preparedness in Hawaii


Bradley Romine, PhD

Brad’s role as Hawaiʻi Sea Grant extension faculty is to provide bridges between university, communities, and government to meet the complimentary goals of conserving coastal ecosystems and reducing natural hazards risk to coastal communities.  He works closely with State and county government and the public on collaborative projects to support planning and decision-making based on the latest and best-available coastal and climate science.  Brad completed his PhD in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2013 and has published research articles on coastal geology, beach processes, shoreline change, and sea level rise impacts in Hawaiʻi. 

Kitty Courtney, PhD

Dr. Kitty Courtney is a Marine Environmental Scientist with Tetra Tech’s Honolulu Office. She has over 30 years of experience as project manager and technical lead on projects in marine and coastal management, climate change adaptation, and community resilience in the U.S. and internationally. For 7 of those years, she lived in the Philippines leading the USAID-funded Coastal Resource Management Project to build the capacity of local governments and communities in managing their coastal resources.  Her adaptation-related projects include working with the 6 countries in the Coral Triangle to develop their Region-wide Early Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and their Guide for Vulnerability Assessment and Local Early Action Planning. She also led the development of the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report. She is currently working with UH Sea Grant to develop guidance for addressing sea level rise in community planning and disaster recovery preparedness.


April Surprenant

April is the Manager of Long Range Planning for Hawaii County Planning Department. Her primary aspirations are in the areas of hazard mitigation, disaster resiliency, climate adaptation and overall sustainability for the island. She serves on the County’s Core Recovery Planning Team with a focus on community, land use, and natural resource planning in the aftermath of the 2018 Kilauea Eruption, as well as on the State’s Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Commission.  Her primary accountabilities encompass the County’s Coastal Zone Management Program, the General Plan, the regional community development plans, transportation planning, as well as many other long-range planning initiatives.  With more than 25 years’ experience, April utilizes her diverse background in planning, architecture and real estate to intertwine the most appropriate elements from these disciplines given the project or situational need. Her planning practice has focused on community-based projects requiring significant public participation: Centennial Olympic Park and assorted revitalization projects in Atlanta; multiple university master plans; and the General Plan, community development plans, and village plans in Hawai’i.  Further, April enjoys being an adjunct professor for the University of Hawai’i in Hilo teaching planning courses under the Geography Department.


Matthew Gonser

Matthew serves as the Coastal & Water Program Manager for the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. Matthew joined the Resilience Office in October 2017 after nearly six years as the Community Planning and Design Extension Agent with the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program. Matthew managed the Office’s development of the O‘ahu Resilience Strategy through the City’s award from the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program. Matthew serves as an advisory council member for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program, and is a Director at Large for the Hawai‘i Chapter of the American Planning Association. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a Certified Floodplain Manager. Matthew earned a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University, and holds masters in both Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture, respectively, also from Cornell.


Jim Buika

For the past decade, Jim has been the Lead Shoreline Planner for the County of Maui's Coastal Zone Management Program.  Jim is also the Chair of the Hawaii State Hazard Mitigation Forum and represents the County of Maui on two Hawaii Ocean Resource Management Plan Action Teams, led by the State Office of Planning. Prior to the Planning Department, Jim served as a member of the Executive Management Team at the Pacific Disaster Center, Maui, and as the Regional Earthquake Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, San Francisco. For 30 years, Jim has managed hazard mitigation planning projects for several Pacific islands, internationally, and California.  Jim holds a M.S. in Geology from the University of Southern California and a B. S. in Geology from the University of Rochester, NY.


Thomas Travis

Retired U.S. Navy Captain Thomas Travis was appointed to serve as Administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) on March 16, 2018.


Doug Haigh, P.E.

Doug is the Chief of the Building Division at the County of Kauaʻi. He has served as an engineer for the County since 1992 and in the private sector prior to that. Recently, Doug has been directly involved in recovery from rainfall flooding on the North Shore of Kauaʻi.

Session 5b: Ethics


Leo Asuncion, Jr., AICP

Leo was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission by Governor David Y. Ige in February 2019.  Prior to his appointment to the PUC, he served as a Planning Program Administrator II at the Office of Planning, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and from 2013 to 2018 served as Director of the Office.  As Director, Leo was responsible for the overall management, development, and implementation of state policy, and coordination and planning support to state and county agencies.  He also served as Planning Program Manager of the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program from 2011 to 2013.

Leo has over 28 years of extensive experience in planning, policy analysis, and management throughout Hawaii and the Pacific Region in previous positions in the public and private sector organizations including Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., SSFM International, Inc. the Hawaii State Judiciary, and the State Land Use Commission.  He has also chaired or participated on numerous governmental boards, commissions, task forces and councils during his professional career, and currently serves as a member of the American Planning Association Board of Directors, and Immediate Past Chair of the Coastal States Organization.  Leo holds a Master in Business Administration degree from Hawaii Pacific University, and a Master in Urban and Regional Planning and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degrees from the University of Hawaii-Manoa.


Cynthia Bowen, FAICP, LEED AP

Cynthia is REA’s Director of Planning, leading the firm’s technical oversight and development of planning services. Cynthia is a graduate of Ball State University’s Urban Planning program and is a certified planner with tremendous public facilitation, and policy-oriented experience. Cynthia has extensive knowledge regarding community input, facilitation, and developing consensus and experience from her involvement in land use plans, transportation plans, corridor plans, neighborhood plans, and downtown plans. She has facilitated numerous meetings, implemented techniques to identify issues and gain consensus; and presented at numerous national and local conferences on this topic. Cynthia has worked with many organizations and neighborhoods to develop strategic organization plans and neighborhood focused image plans. She is currently serving as the American Planning Associations (APA) National President and previously led the Board of Directors. The American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in community planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.

Session 5c: TEK: Ancient Wisdom – Future Best Practices


Ramsay RM Taum (Moderator)

Ramsay is a Cultural Sustainability Planner at PBR HAWAII. His eclectic background and experience in business, government and community service make him a valuable asset in both public and private sectors as well as in for-profit and non-profit business. His work in promoting sustainable place based, and Hawaiian cultural stewardship principles and practices is acknowledged locally, nationally, and internationally. Ramsay is a recognized cultural resource and sought after as a keynote speaker, lecturer, trainer and facilitator. Trained by respected Hawaiian elders, he effectively integrates place based, cultural based, indigenous and Native Hawaiian cultural values and principles into contemporary business.


Kaleo Manuel

Kaleo holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hawaiian Studies, a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation, all from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He previously served as the Acting Planning Program Manager with the Hawai‘i Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, a 200,000 acre trust established by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole and Congress, leading a team of planners and community development specialists to create affordable housing and homestead communities for native Hawaiians across the state.


Kaleo completed traditional ‘uniki rites as a Ho‘opa‘a in 2017 with Kumu Hula Victoria Holt-Takamine of Halau Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima. His Hawaiian and western educational training serve as equal parts of the foundation for his worldview and his endeavors. Evolving from a land use focus, over the past seven years, Kaleo has focused on bringing planning and indigenous expertise to the fields of water advocacy and management in Hawai‘i. Through his work with water in Hawai‘i, he hopes to empower, inspire, and reconnect our indigenous, island, Pacific, and world communities.

Iokepa Nae‘ole

A longtime Hawaiian Language Immersion and Nature Conservancy educator, Iokepa is the manager of Hale Huaka‘i, a beachfront activities center at the Kaʻanapali Beach Hotel.


Born and raised in Kahului, Maui, Iokepa began exploring Maui’s North Shore at a young age, learning how to swim, dive, surf, fish and paddle outrigger canoes.  He also participated as a member of the Hawai’i State Champion Hawaiian Canoe Club.


After a stint serving in two separate branches of the US Military, Iokepa returned home to rediscover his cultural identity and worked closely with well-known kumu (teachers), earning his own title as kumu. Iokepa is fluent in the Hawaiian language and has spent years as a teacher of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, where he worked with children from preschool to high school.


Iokepa most recently worked as an educator for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i where he led interpretive hikes and community service trips and introduced thousands of locals and visitors to the wonders of Maui’s rain forests.


Laura Kaakua

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust appointed Laura as President and Chief Executive Officer in March 2019. 


Laura is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, and has extensive land conservation experience. She spent the last nine years serving as the Aloha Aina Project Manager at The Trust for Public Land.  She has also been a lecturer at the William S. Richardson School of Law and served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Greg Nakamura in the Third Circuit Court.


Laura is an alakai of halau hula Na Pualei o Likolehua, a volunteer with Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana, and served as a committee member of the Access to Justice Commission.

Session 5d: The Code Audit: What, Why and How


Robert Barber, FAICP

Robert (Partner, Orion Planning Group) has more than 26 years of planning practice. Prior to founding Orion Planning Group, Bob was Director of Planning for Hernando, Mississippi selected as one of the 100 best small towns in America by Forbes Magazine in 2012. His planning practice focuses on community design, preservation, place making and smart growth principles and productive community engagement to create communities of lasting value.  Bob served as Region III Commissioner on the American Institute of Certified Planners Commission, is the past president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association, and former Chairman of APA’s Chapter Presidents Council and AICP’s College of Fellows. 


Carol Rhea, FAICP

Carol (Orion Planning Group) has 30 years of planning practice. Prior to founding Orion Planning Group, Carol created and staffed Rhea Consulting, serving communities in North and South Carolina. Previously she was the Assistant Director of Planning and Development Services for York County, SC responsible for the daily administration of planning, zoning, building inspections and customer service divisions. She also worked as a regional planner for the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, served more than 8 years as a Community Development Planner for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and worked 5 years as the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Monroe, NC.  Her experience has spanned city, county, regional and state agencies and includes conducting and reporting reviews of outer continental shelf oil and gas exploration proposals with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and managing programs for solid waste program, code enforcement, community development and building inspections.  She is a certified LID professional.


Kathleen Ross Aoki

Kathleen is a long-time member of the County of Maui Department of Planning staff. She has served in many positions for the County of Maui most notably Planning Department Director and Deputy and in her current role as the Division Chief of the Plan Implementation Division. Kathleen recently managed a major audit of the County's dated zoning code with the Orion Planning Group and can contribute to the discussion of needing an audit of a zoning code and the role all stakeholders had during the process.

Session 5e: There's (Bike/Ped) Funding in Them Thar Hills!

Lauren Armstrong, AICP

Lauren is the Executive Director of the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization (MauiMPO). Lauren 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 & Regional Planning from UH Manoa. 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 climate adaptation and public outreach programs.


Genevieve Sullivan

Genevieve is a Planner with the Highway Department of Transportation, Highways Division.  She has worked in HDOT’s Planning Branch for 4 years, coordinating departmental evaluations of land use permit applications and environmental documents.  Her current role is focused on climate change and resiliency projects and she is also the Transportation Alternative Set-Aside Coordinator.  Prior to HDOT, Genevieve worked with the State’s environmental review law at the Office of Environmental Quality Control.  She is also a certified Planner in New Zealand where she worked for a number of local government councils. Her Master’s Degree is in Environmental Policy from Lincoln University, NZ. 


Diane Dohm, AICP

Diane is a Senior Transportation Planner at the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) and is responsible for long-range transportation planning. She co-chairs the Pedestrian-Bicyclist Emphasis Area of the Hawaii Strategic Highway Safety Plan and she serves on the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Transportation Coalition of Hawai’i. Prior to joining the OahuMPO, she was a Senior Planner at the Houston-Galveston Area Council managing the Pedestrian-Bicyclist Planning Program. Her planning career focuses on active transportation including long-range transportation planning, programming, pedestrian-bicyclist traffic monitoring, policy development, and comprehensive city planning. She has worked for cities, counties, regional MPO’s, and non-profit organizations. She has a Master of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Amy Ford-Wagner, AICP

Amy is the Transportation Planner for the Federal Highway Administration’s Hawaii Division. She provides oversight and stewardship for the federal planning funding allocated to Hawaii, along with the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside funding. Amy previously worked at OahuMPO; prior to that, she worked in consulting in New York City. She earned her masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and her bachelors in Foreign Language and Literatures at the University of Delaware.

Plenary Panel: Managing the Complex Issue of Retreat

April Surprenant, AICP, AIA

April is the Manager of Long Range Planning for Hawaii County Planning Department. Her primary aspirations are in the areas of hazard mitigation, disaster resiliency, climate adaptation and overall sustainability for the island. She serves on the County’s Core Recovery Planning Team with a focus on community, land use, and natural resource planning in the aftermath of the 2018 Kilauea Eruption, as well as on the State’s Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Commission.  Her primary accountabilities encompass the County’s Coastal Zone Management Program, the General Plan, the regional community development plans, transportation planning, as well as many other long-range planning initiatives.  With more than 25 years’ experience, April utilizes her diverse background in planning, architecture and real estate to intertwine the most appropriate elements from these disciplines given the project or situational need.  Her planning practice has focused on community-based projects requiring significant public participation: Centennial Olympic Park and assorted revitalization projects in Atlanta; multiple university master plans; and the General Plan, community development plans, and village plans in Hawai’i.  Further, April enjoys being an adjunct professor for the University of Hawai’i in Hilo teaching planning courses under the Geography Department. 


Ka`aina Hull

Kaʻaina Hull is Planning Director for the County of Kaua‘i. He previously served as the Planning Deputy Director for 3 years, and he worked as a Planner within the Department’s Regulatory Division for several years prior. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools and UC Berkeley; in his free time, he enjoys raising citrus trees and sheep on his small ʻOmaʻo farm.


Michele McLean, AICP

Michele Chouteau McLean became Maui County's Deputy Planning Director on January 3, 2011, and became Director on July 1, 2018. She was previously the Deputy Director for the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC), where she worked for more than five years. Prior to the KIRC, she was a planning consultant in the private sector, and was a legislative analyst for the Maui County Council's Planning Committee. Before moving to Maui in 1994, Michele worked on Capitol Hill for several years, her final position being a Senior Research Analyst with the House Republican Research Committee, a branch of the House leadership; she specialized in social domestic policy. She has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Vassar College and one year of MBA studies with the University of Phoenix.



Katia Balassiano, AICP

Katia currently serves as Chief Planner of the Land Use Permits Division for the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. Ms. Balassiano has over 15 years of experience in the field of land use planning and policy analysis. She has worked for the public and private sectors specializing in zoning and long-range planning for housing, public spaces, and transportation-oriented development policy, and in her current capacity is responsible for administering the Land Use Ordinance, regulatory aspects of the State's Coastal Zone Management law, and processing environmental disclosure documents. She has taught urban and regional planning at Cornell University and Iowa State and has published in peer-reviewed journals on the importance of public spaces in participatory community planning in America and Asia. Ms. Balassiano also serves as an Executive committee member of the American Planning Association, Hawaii Chapter.



Justine Nihipali

Justine serves as the Program Manager for the Office of Planning, Coastal Zone Management Program whose responsibilities include overseeing implementation of Coastal Zone Management law in Hawaiʻi. She was previously a Project and Policy Analyst with the Program with primary duties of coordinating the State Ocean Resources Management Plan.  Prior to this, worked at the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center supporting course development for natural hazards.  A graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Urban and Regional Planning, in her free time she enjoys chasing around her 2 young children while they still think she’s cool enough to hang out with.


Melissa White, AICP

Melissa is a Senior Planner and Associate with SSFM International, Inc.  She designs and facilitates inclusive planning processes that bring together community, government, and technical stakeholders to create shared visions and implementable plans for resilient and sustainable communities. Her areas of specialty include resilience, placemaking, active transportation, community based economic development, and renewable energy - all of which are key ingredients of thriving, sustainable communities. Ms. White has served as lead consultant on APA Award-winning projects including the Kaua‘i General Plan, Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan, and Waimānalo Community Values and Priorities project. 

Session 6a: Strategies to Build Constituency


Atisha Varshney, AICP

Atisha is a Senior Planner at WRT Design. She is part of SPUR’s urban catalyst team and Silicon Valley Program Committee with ULI SF. Atisha has a multidisciplinary portfolio in urban planning and architecture focusing on dense urban environments and place making. Her values are rooted in equity and innovation.


Xiomara Cisneros

Xiomara supports Bay Area Council’s housing policy efforts on the local, regional and state level. Her experience includes various roles in community outreach and project management in the land use and commercial real estate industry, both in the nonprofit and private sector. Prior to joining the Council, she managed the community outreach program for Universal Paragon, overseeing entitlements for one of the largest mixed-use developments in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also worked for a tech-startup focusing on accessory dwelling units (or “casitas”) and the Urban Land Institute’s San Francisco District Council. She received a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies from UCLA and a Master’s in Business Administration from Lorry I. Lokey School of Business at Mills College.


Session 6b: Planning with a Mitigation-Resilience-Equity Nexus


Alex de Roode

Alex is a professional planner, educator, and entrepreneur with a focus on resilience, sustainability, energy systems and water resources management. Alex currently serves as the Energy Commissioner for the County of Maui. He has served in numerous capacities throughout his career including serving as a long-range master Planner for the County of Maui Department of Water Supply, serving two terms as the Executive Director of the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) at the University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC), serving as the District Sustainability Manager for Portland Community College (PCC), and as the Director of Sustainability and Business Development for Maui-based green building and energy consulting firm Green Building Hawaii. He is involved in a wide range of community outreach and engagement activities related to increasing people’s understanding of sustainability and resilience and how these concepts can be adopted and implemented at both organizational and individual levels. He has a master of science degree in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Energy and Building Systems Engineering with a focus on energy resilience. Alex is also a LEED Accredited Professional, a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), and a 2008 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow.


Michael Yee

Michael is the Planning Director for the County of Hawaii. He brings experience in urban planning, community development and housing grounded in cultural and historic preservation. He believes building trusting relationships leads to impactful collaborations in communities.  Michael is a strong advocate for government to play a leading role in social justice and equity issues.


Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts, College of Architecture and Urban Planning at University Washington and a Master in Business Administration, Albers School of Business at Seattle University.


Lindsay Ex

Lindsay is the Climate Program Manager, City of Fort Collins with the City of Fort Collins and a recipient of a Practitioner Fellowship through the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University. Her work with Fort Collins emphasizes the incorporation of ecological principles into the development review process. In her time with the City, Lindsay has led efforts to increase access to local food, developed policies for environmental protection, and is currently leading the “Nature in the City” strategic planning effort to assess how biodiversity and informal natural spaces can be protected and created within the City’s urban fabric. Lindsay is also a member of the Conservation Development Global Challenges Research Team (cd.colostate.edu) and her research explores how practitioners cross disciplinary boundaries to achieve better conservation and social outcomes on the ground. Lindsay has degrees in Natural Resources Management and Landscape Architecture and is a LEED Green Associate.


Kristin Baja

Kristin Baja (‘Baja’) is USDN’s Climate Resilience Officer and is responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation and building their capacity to take proactive action. Baja focuses her time on supporting members and partners in working at the nexus of resilience, mitigation and equity while also helping center equity in their climate and sustainability work. She helps facilitate deeper relationships between local governments and stakeholders while helping to identify and shift focus to more collaborative and transformational action. Prior to USDN, Baja served as the Climate and Resilience Planner with the City of Baltimore's Office of Sustainability where she led the city's climate and equity work. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan. She is also an Aspen Global Change Institute Fellow, is an EPIC-N board member, and serves on several local and international advisory committees. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.


Jennifer M. Potter

Jennifer was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission by Governor Ige in March 2018 for a term to expire June 30, 2024.


Commissioner Potter was previously a faculty member at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), an independent research institute within the University of Hawaii, where she conducted research on demand response, Distributed Energy Resource (DERs) technologies, locational benefits of DERs, and energy efficiency.

Prior to joining HNEI, Commissioner Potter was a Sr. Scientific Engineering Associate in the Electricity Market and Policy group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where she was the project lead on the 2025 California Demand Response Potential Study for the California Public Utilities Commission. During her tenure, she conducted a number of studies on demand response and integrated demand side management for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Commissioner Potter previously worked at Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as the Project Manager on SMUD’s SmartSacramento team working on the Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded Consumer Behavior Study, known as SmartPricing Options pricing pilot. While at SMUD, she also worked as the Customer Strategy Planner for residential and small commercial EE and DR programs, as well as serving as the Enterprise Performance Data Manager. Commissioner Potter also worked as the Principal Market Analyst in the Pricing and Resource Planning department at SMUD.


Prior to her time at SMUD, Commissioner Potter worked at City of Roseville, Roseville Electric, as the principal load and revenue forecaster, load researcher, and business analyst for the utility.

Commissioner Potter holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Economics from Southern Oregon University.


Chana Makale'a Dudoit Ane

Makale'a is the County of Maui's Environmental Coordinator. Born and raised in Hawaii of multicultural heritage, including Hawaiian, Chinese, French, Irish, and Mexican, she has a deep-rooted connection to this ʻaina and all the people that makes Hawai'i a truly special place. She has had many opportunities outside of Hawai'i that have given her a global perspective on issues that is currently being addressed on Maui. While attending Oregon State University (OSU), Makale'a worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducting several independent research projects along the Oregon coast and as a research assistant in Siberia, Russia; she presented her findings to local, state, and federal agencies, professional associations, and national conferences. After receiving her B.S in Zoology, Makale'a coordinated and implemented a number of technical surveys of forest health, wildlife, plants, soils, and streams in Oregon, Alaska, and back home in Hawai'i. She endeavors to incorporate her interest in Traditional Ecological Knowledge to facilitate the cooperation of government agencies with native people.

Session 6c: Pathways to Affordable Housing


Dean Minakami

Dean is the Development Section Chief for the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), the State of Hawaii's primary agency for the financing and development of affordable housing. Dean has more than 20 years of experience in the planning and development of projects. He previously managed development projects for Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii and Alexander and Baldwin, worked as a planning consultant, and as a policy analyst for the City and County of Honolulu Office of Council Services. Dean is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he received a BA in Economics and Master of Urban and Regional Planning.


Senator Stanley Chang

Senator Chang chairs the Senate Committee on Housing. Born and raised in Waialae-Kahala, he has represented District 9, Diamond Head to Hawaii Kai, since 2016. He represented the Ala Moana to Hawaii Kai district on the Honolulu City Council from 2011 to 2015. He attended Wai-Kahala Preschool, Kahala Elementary School, Iolani School, and Harvard University for college and law school. Senator Chang practiced law at Cades Schutte in Honolulu before entering politics.


Douglas Bigley

Douglas has made Ikaika Ohana one of the largest developers of affordable rental housing in the State of Hawaii. Douglas oversees the development process, from new business to project feasibility, planning and financing. For many years he has been a recognized affordable housing industry innovator in California and Hawaii. As a sought-after speaker in this niche industry, he has presented his ideas on alternative financial structures to the Urban Land Institute and the California Counsel for Affordable Housing. He was invited to speak to a joint meeting of the housing committees for the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. Douglas has more than 25 years of real estate and tax credit finance experience with affordable housing development. He started his career in real estate accounting, earning his CPA while working in management for Kenneth Leventhal, now E&Y Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group, and worked as Vice President of affordable housing for Sun America, Inc. a premiere tax credit investor where he invested over $750,000,000 of equity in affordable housing.  Douglas as President of Urban Housing Communities (UHC) made them one of the fastest growing affordable housing developers in California.


Jeff Gilbreath

Jeff is Executive Director of Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), Hawaii’s largest Department of Housing and Urban Development approved housing counseling agency. He has over 18 years of experience in community development, nonprofit program development and management, and Federal and State policy advocacy promoting affordable housing and economic self-sufficiency for low- and moderate-income households. He was responsible for establishing HCA’s statewide community development financial institution, Hawaii Community Lending (HCL), in 2011, which has helped Hawaii’s low- and moderate-income households access more than $145 million in capital for affordable housing through mortgage originations, grants, and loans. In 2019, Mr. Gilbreath announced the launch of HCA-HCL’s joint $5 million Hawaii Affordable Housing Fund that will assist low-income households and communities build, preserve, or access 5000 affordable homes by the end of 2025 using technical assistance, HUD housing counseling, grants, and loans.

Session 6d: Public Health and the Built Environment


Laksmi Abraham

Born and raised on Maui, Laksmi graduated from Maui High School and earned a B.A. in Political Science from San Francisco State University. Prior to joining Blue Zones Project (BZP), Laksmi dedicated 17 years to serving Maui’s community as President & CPO of Maui United Way. Aspiring to expand her ability to impact community wellness and initiate positive change, Abraham joined Blue Zones Project – Central Maui as Community Program Manager in 2017.  Over the last two years with BZP, Laksmi has driven policy change targeted at improving tobacco prevention amongst youth, enhancing built environment to be more multi-modal friendly, and working to improve access to healthy foods and food sustainability in Maui County.


Lauren Loor

Lauren is the Coordinator for the Healthy Eating + Active Living Coalition for Maui, Molokai and Lanai.  She is originally from New York City and has her Masters of Public Health from Long Island University in Brooklyn. She has worked with various non-profit organizations such as the New York Common Pantry and The Partnership for a Healthier New York City. Lauren is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been living on Maui for almost 3 years in the hopes of contributing to health and wellness on Maui.


Kaimana Brummel

Born and raised on Maui, Kaimana has an innate love for the island and spent her youth hiking through the mountains and swimming in the ocean. After earning a BA from The George Washington University in International Affairs and Geography, Kaimana researched Maui and Molokaʻi’s special management area for the County of Maui. She is currently the Community Engagement Lead for the Blue Zones Project Maui managing the organization’s public relations, marketing initiatives, and community events. She also supports BZP’s work in the built environment by planning and executing community outreach campaigns that promote healthier communities.


Wesley "Wes"Lo

Wes has been the Chief Executive Officer of Hale Makua Health Services for nearly three years. Hale Makua Health Services has been serving the Maui community since 1946, and is the largest post-acute care provider in Maui County. The non-profit organization employs over 450 Maui residents and manages two nursing homes totaling 344 beds providing rehabilitation and long term cares services, a 22 bed care home, a home health care agency, and an adult day health center.


Prior to joining Hale Makua Health Services, Wes was the Regional Chief Executive Officer of the Maui Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, which had oversight over Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital. During his tenure with the Maui Memorial, he was involved in the start-up of the first and only full service Cardiac Program on the Neighbor Islands, which includes open-heart surgery and angioplasty.


Rowena Dagdag-Andaya

Rowena is the Director of Public Works for the County of Maui and has been with the department since 2011. Rowena grew up in Waiehu, Maui and completed her undergraduate degree at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Her "past life" includes teaching at the elementary and high school levels with the State of Hawaii Department of Education and working as a planner for the planning consulting firm of Munekiyo and Hiraga, Inc. in Wailuku, Maui.

Rowena's experience as an educator and as a planner ignites her passion in creating communities that are safe, livable, and welcoming to everyone. As Director, Rowena's priorities include the development of complete streets infrastructure and safe routes to school projects in Maui County, successful planning and delivery of public works capital improvement projects, and ensuring that departmental performance measures are met.

Session 6e: New EIS Rules? Keep Calm and Consult On


Scott Glenn, AICP

Scott serves as the Director of the State Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) and is an ex officio member of the State Environmental Council. He has served on the Council since 2011, including as its Chair in 2013. He led the update of the new administrative rules from initial drafting two years ago to final adoption in July 2019. Scott is also the Co-Chair of Governor Ige’s Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative and liaison to the U.S. Climate Alliance. Prior to coming to the OEQC, he worked as an environmental planner in the private sector. He received his Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawai‘i in 2009.


Thomas Eisen

Truthfully a geographer, Tom has been engaged with Hawai’i’s planning community for over 25 years. Presently serving as a planner in the OEQC, Tom also has natural resource planning experience with the Coastal Zone Management Program and the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands. His planning perspective has been broadened by employment with two county planning departments, as well as working as a sole proprietor consultant and with a large local planning firm. Preferring to surf and practice yoga in his free time, Tom has also been a Neighborhood Board & Community Garden Board member, volunteered as a docent at the Waikīkī Aquarium, and built yurts, permaculture gardens, and photovoltaic systems.