The 2017 Fellows

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Shane Albritton

Shane Albritton is a Social Studies teacher at Baldwin High School, and is the fourth generation in his family to teach in Hawaii. Continuing a legacy set forth by his great-grandmother, who moved to Hawaii from Illinois to teach English in 1921, Shane is passionate about public education. After graduating from St. Anthony High School, Shane earned a B.A. in English at Stony Brook University in New York, and subsequently spent several years teaching English as a foreign language in Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Honolulu. Upon returning home to Maui in 2013, he began substitute teaching, and was struck by the differences in culture and resources at the various public schools on Maui. Shane entered the College of Education at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 2014, and completed his Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Education in 2016. In his free time, Shane loves to surf, and spends as much time as possible in Haleakala Erosional Depression.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Roger Alconcel

My name is Roger Alconcel, born and raised on the island of Lāna‘i. A husband and a father of a 5-year-old girl. Currently, I am a Retail Manager for Pūlama Lāna‘i. Prior to moving back home, I spent the majority of my professional career on the Big Island of Hawaii in the hospitality Industry. This experience led me to Montana where my daughter was born. I decided to move back home so that my family may experience being part of a community and one big Ohana. I am proud and honored to be a part of this community. My hope is to continue to make Lāna‘i, a place where my daughter and future generations can enjoy. Someday when they too decide to leave Lāna‘i, this place will be just as meaningful to them as it was to me.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Noemi Barbadillo

I grew up on the island of Lāna‘i. I was here for the opening of the 2 resorts (The Lodge at Koele & The Manele Bay Hotel), left for Las Vegas, came back for the rebranding of these resorts to become Four Seasons, left for California and returned to Pūlama Lāna‘i. In Las Vegas, I worked in human resources for Bally’s Las Vegas, Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, and a locals casino Arizona Charlie’s. I have also worked in Indian Gaming in Palm Springs for Spa Resort & Casino in Human Resources. Currently, I work for Pūlama Lāna‘i in commercial and residential properties where we manage about 450 residential units and 100 commercial accounts. I love traveling, dining out and shopping. I have a passion to learn new ideas, meet new people and provide guidance where I am able to.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Laura Berthold

Laura Berthold is an ornithological researcher and crew leader for the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, an organization dedicated to the recovery of Maui’s native bird species. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Laura received her B.A. in environmental studies from Loyola University Chicago. She grew up caring for the environment, so naturally, conservation biology suited her desire to help nature. After spending some time teaching environmental education in Chicago, Laura moved west to work in the Arizona Strip Bureau of Land Management, an area with 2 million acres of amazing landscape in northwestern Arizona. After assisting with wildlife management, Laura continued to move west by accepting a position as an AmeriCorps intern with the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project in 2009. Since then, Laura has worked with the project in researching Maui Parrotbill, an endangered bird with just 500 individuals left in the wild. Additionally, she helps with planting native seedlings and restoring native forest high on the slopes of Haleakala. Laura enjoys the outdoors and loves that her job is helping to restore Maui’s watershed and natural environment.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Derek Brown

Derek was raised in Mobile, Alabama and graduated from Auburn University with a BS in Electrical Engineering. In college, he was an equipment manager for the football team and was heavily involved in his campus ministry and with volunteer work in areas such as GED tutoring, transition assistance for former prison inmates, and work with people with special needs. After college he served as a submarine officer in the United States Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant (O-3) and becoming certified as a Naval Nuclear Engineer by the Department of Energy. It was during this time, while stationed in Pearl Harbor, that Derek gained a fondness for the Hawaiian Islands. After the Navy Derek lived in New England for a few years and earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Boston University and a Master’s in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University before moving to Maui in 2012 to become a Superintendent at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company. Derek’s interests center around photography and being on the water and he considers Maui to be the best place he’s ever lived.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Danielle Canfield-Jones

Danielle was born and raised in California’s Bay Area – a melting pot of diverse cultures, ethnicities, and generations. Danielle attended CSU Sacramento and earned a B.A. in English Literature. She has worked in various industries, including Education, Utility, Banking and Health Care – always in what she considers an organization’s core responsibility, Customer Service. Danielle and her husband, Akili, fell head-over-heels for Maui while attending a wedding in 2004. The couple relocated to this natural oasis in 2009. Danielle is a proud member of Maui Electric Company’s Customer Service Department, where she is honored to be able to help Maui’s residents and businesses on a daily basis. In her spare time she enjoys running, reading, and writing.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Tambara Garrick

Before moving to Maui in 2012, Tambara Garrick was a small business owner of a surf & skate retail clothing store in Northern California. She graduated from California State University, Chico in 2003 after a final semester abroad at the University of London. On Maui, Tambara is the Regional Sales Manager for Landry’s Inc. overseeing the Honolulu Mai Tai Bar and three Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurants in Hawaii. She has served on the boards of the Maui Wedding Association and Lahaina Town Action Committee for the past four years helping to coordinate events such as the Annual Maui Wedding Expo, Halloween in Lahaina and Lahaina ‘s Annual 4th of July Celebration. Tambara is passionate about giving back to the community where she lives and works. Her favorite part of her job is working with her co-workers on their volunteer team the “Shrimpossibles.” In addition to other Maui non-profits, Tambara’s team regularly volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Feed My Sheep, and Mālama Maui Nui.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Amber Hardwick

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Amber grew up in her family’s 3rd generation business where she learned the tools of the trade and how to bring an old-fashioned company into the 21st century. After graduating from the University of Washington, she dabbled in event planning, helping non-profits procure funds for admirable causes. She eventually returned to her roots and took up web development as a way to leave her mark on the family business. When life brought her and her husband to Hawaii, Amber felt an immediate sense of place. Struggling to have a home in Maui and a career an ocean away, she made the difficult decision to walk from her family’s history and create her own path. Her endeavors have come full circle as she is now planning entrepreneurial workshops and events such as the AMOS Conference for Maui Economic Development Board. Amber lives in sunny Kihei with her engineer husband and spends her free time dancing for her hālau hula and embracing island life.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Robert Kawahara

Robert was born and raised in Lahaina, Maui. He graduated from Lahainaluna High School in 1992, attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Administration in Accounting. Robert remained on Oahu for 12 years where he worked in the credit union industry. In 2004, he returned to Maui to succeed his father’s Certified Public Accounting firm. Robert is a Certified Public Accountant and is responsible for the management of Maui’s largest CPA firm. He remains active in the community by serving on many Boards of Maui’s non-profits. In addition, he is a 2012 recipient of Pacific Business News Forty under 40, 2013 Small Business Administration’s Financial Services Champion for the State of Hawaii, and 2014 Hawaii Community Foundation’s Outstanding Professional Advisor in Philanthropy. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, fishing, spending time with friends and family. Robert is married to Michele Kawahara, CEO of West Maui Community FCU and they have a 2 ½-year-old son, Ryan.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Ryan Kekoa Mountcastle

Being born and raised on Maui, Ryan Kekoa Mountcastle has attributed much his passion and accomplishments to his communal values, beliefs, and “local boy” upbringing. After earning a BA in Applied Physics at Whitworth University in Spokane Washington, Kekoa came back to the islands where he has been engineering and managing numerous construction sites throughout Maui County for Goodfellow Brother Inc. From his projects including the Molokai Airport Taxiway renovations, Lanai Community Health Center, and Four Seasons Lanai Manele Resort, His drive to make harmonious changes within the community has always stayed a priority. He is very humble to be back on Maui where he is currently assigned to the Consolidated Rental Car Facility (ConRAC) Project at the Kahului Airport. In his free time, Kekoa likes to spend time with friends and family, sport, and hunting.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

William Nill

William has spent over half his life working at various companies in the Maui Research and Technology Park since 1998. So needless to say, he’s a bit of a Techie. Starting out working for commercial Internet Service Providers, moving to Civil Defense emergency management, and currently working in the Defense Industry, his technical skill set is as broad as his job history. If all that wasn’t enough, he’s also worked part-time in the food service industry for nearly 10 years and another 8 years in retail customer service. William is very active in the community. Serving on the Board of Directors for the Maui United Way, as the Vice President for the Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association, and as both the Race Secretary and the Race Director during past regatta seasons. Additionally, he sits on the Global Corporate Citizenship committee at his current employer that awards annual grants to various STEM-related organizations on the island. He loves to volunteer and motivate friends to come along for Community Work Days, Beach Cleanups, and many other volunteer events across the island.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Tokie Ogawa Sidney

Tokie was born and raised in Tokyo and moved to the US when she was 17. She has a BA in Journalism and Strategic Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After moving to Maui on 2003, Tokie worked for two major resort hotels (Grand Wailea and Westin Resort and Spa) and founded two successful businesses (wedding planning company and language school) before starting her employment with Maui County Mayor’s Office of Economic Development as a Business Development Specialist. Taking advantage of her event planning, marketing research, and communication skills, she works on economic development events such as Made in Maui County Festival and Maui Friday Town Parties. She also serves as Maui County’s Japanese interpreter and accompanies Mayor and Council members on Japan-related businesses. She is a registered judicial interpreter for the State of Hawai’i and has taught Japanese language at St. Anthony HS, and ESL (English as Second Language) at Maui Language Institute at UH –Maui. She currently serves as a board member of the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Her hobbies are surfing, swimming, art, and cooking.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Bianca Rajan

Bianca was born and raised in Ha‘iku, Maui. She graduated from King Kekaulike High School. In the summers she led Kupu’s Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps connecting youth with the outdoors, conservation, and a sense of place. She continued her education at Washington & Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, with a dual degree in International Studies and Fine Arts. After graduating she spent a year teaching in West Kalimantan, Indonesia at a private Muslim high school through the Fulbright Student Program. Bianca currently works in the Exhibits and Education departments at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center where she enjoys working hands-on with youth, teachers, and artists throughout Hawai‘i. She enjoys soccer, surfing, hiking, and playing scrabble.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Gabrielle Schuerger

Gabrielle has called Hawaii home for over six years, residing on several islands including Kauai, Oahu and now Maui. Her pursuit of a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science took her from North Carolina to Australia and eventually brought her to Hawaii to work for a private environmental consultant. Her later work conducting Native Ecosystem Protection and Management with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Natural Area Reserves, further expanded her deep appreciation of Hawaii’s distinct natural resources. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Director for Malama Maui Nui promoting community stewardship in support of collaborative conservation initiatives. On the weekend you can find Gabrielle hiking in the woods, bobbing in the surf lineups or cruising the bowl at the Lahaina skate park.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Royle Taogoshi

I was born and raised on the island of Kauai where I attended Kapaa High School. After graduating with a BA in Business – Finance from the University of Puget Sound in 1999, I moved to Seattle, Washington and worked as an Investment Advisor for TD Ameritrade and Banc of America Investments. After spending nearly 10 years in Washington State, the desire to be closer to family and friends facilitated the move to Maui in late 2004. I began working for a local CPA firm and obtained my Certified Public Accountant license in 2011. I am currently employed by First Hawaiian Bank as a Commercial Banker serving the Maui county region. During my free time, I enjoy golfing, surfing/paddleboarding, and spending time with my wife Heidi and two children, Kaizen and Rielle.

2017 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellow

Caleb Wittenmyer

Caleb Wittenmyer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from the Ohio State University. Although a Buckeye through and through, Caleb left the Midwest and has made Hawaii nei home for the past 11 years. His commitment to protecting the native plants and animals of Maui began while working with Haleakala National Park and continued through his work with the Nature Conservancy. After a brief hiatus from conservation work, Caleb received his Masters of Science in Protected Area Management in Australia. Caleb’s undeniable love and dedication to the protection of Hawaii’s natural resources continued with the Waianae/Ko’olau Mountains Watershed Partnership on Oahu until the beautiful allure of Maui brought him home and back to The Nature Conservancy as the Field Coordinator. Caleb spends his time “working” in the mountains and playing in the ocean.

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Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows
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