Kelly Ah Hee (Vice President)

General Manager – NAH Security Services

Kelly Ah Hee was born and raised on Hawaii Island, graduating from Kohala High School as a proud member of the Class of ’98. He received his BA in Economics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2005 and currently brings his valuable and diverse skillset to his role as the General Manager of Security and Landscaping for NAH Security Services. As the GM, Ah Hee oversees the landscape and security departments for the Mauna Lani Resort’s Master Association along the Kohala Coast. In addition to enjoying quality time with his wife and four children, Ah Hee finds meaning through his volunteer service at various community events including being a judge for robotics competitions and High School senior projects.

Beth Bohn (Secretary)

Small Business Owner

Beth was raised on Oahu in Kailua town. After graduating from Punahou School, she attended the University of Hawaii, and graduated with a BS in English & minor in Art from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Beth spent 30 years in the hospitality industry in Hawaii and on the mainland. She is an active member in the North Hawaii chapter of 100 Women Who Care, and a Director for the group iPods For The Elderly. Beth enjoys participating in the Hawaiian arts of lauhala weaving and lei making and spending time in the ocean with her retired lifeguard husband.

Chris Brown

Retired Kohala High School Educator

Originally from Connecticut, Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Boston College. He is a long-time Kohala resident who taught mathematics at Kohala High School for 38 years. He, his wife Billie, and now his daughter Jessica, have educated Kohala’s high school youth for more than 40 years. Chris and Billie have three adult children. Chris is also an active member of the Kohala Lions Club.

Morgan Davis

Youth Director – Hawaii Preparatory Academy

Morgan Davis, a sophomore at HPA, is a motivated student athlete playing on her school’s volleyball and water polo teams and serving on student council. Her considerate nature keeps her engaged volunteering at the humane society and in her free time she enjoys riding her horse and hiking. As a youth director, she hopes to positively impact the community by spreading awareness about NKCRC and to influence youth just like herself to get out in their community.

Kynan Kawai

Project Leader – Feed Kohala Initiative

Born and raised in Kohala, Kynan grew up actively participating in community programs such as Ka Hana No’eau, Sustainable Hawaiʻi Youth Leadership (SHYLI), Mauka to Makai, Summer Fun, Kohala Community Athletic Association (KCAA) & many more. Upon graduation from Kamehameha Schools Kea’au in 2013, Kynan moved to Flagstaff, Arizona to attend Northern Arizona University’s School of Hotel & Restaurant Management (B.S.).In 2018, Kynan moved back to his hometown of Kohala and began focusing on his career at a luxury resort on the Kohala coast. With COVID19’s impact on the hospitality industry, he transitioned to assist with the development & implementation of a few food assistance programs throughout North Kohala. Here he became familiar with NKCRC & the good works of this grass roots organization. 

Denni Keyes (Treasurer)

Small Business Owner

Born and raised here on the Big Island of Hawaii from the cool country town of Kamuela to the quaint and cozy town of North Kohala, Denni is a Kohala High School Class of 2003 graduate. Since her family relocated to North Kohala in 1992, she has actively been a part of the community through school projects and organizations, church and religious initiatives, and sports and extracurricular activities. She has an array of professional and business experience from healthcare, hospitality, title and escrow and is currently an active licensed Realtor with Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers. She brings a diverse set of skills with precise attention to detail, solution focused thinking, and a warm, friendly personality to the team here at the North Kohala Community Resource Center.

She along with her husband and three children still live here in North Kohala where his family has roots that go back several generations deep. Majority of her time is spent enjoying the Hawaii Life with her family either at the beach, up the mountains, on the courts, or playing music.

Vicky Kometani (President)

Public Relations Relations Director (iRetired) – Mauna Kea Beach Resort

Vicky has 30-plus years experience in the Hawaii hospitality industry in marketing, IT, and public relations. She recently retired as Director of Public Relations at Mauna Kea Resort. She is deeply committed to the Kohala community and has previously served on the Board of Directors for PATCH, Kohala School Community Council, and Board of Education Committee on Weights. She is the past Secretary/Treasurer for Kohala’s USA Swim team, Liquid Aloha Aquatics, and past North Kohala Vice President for the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

Melanie Matsuda

Kohala Elementary School Educator

Melanie Matsuda was born and raised in Kohala.  Excited to leave home, Melanie attended UH Manoa and graduated with a degree in elementary education. After 9 years of being away from home, teaching on Oahu, Melanie finally made the decision to come back to Kohala and teach where she went to elementary school.  She always knew she wanted to give back to the community that helped raise her. Talk about full circle! She looks forward to serving this community in many capacities, just like her mom and dad!

Wendy Nickl

Kohala Middle School Educator

Wendy is a Hilo native who has been a resident of Halaula since 1991. She has been a public school teacher for 29 years and currently teaches at Kohala Middle School. In her free time, Wendy is a “taiko mommy,” a Staff Developer for AVID- a global non-profit educational organization, and a board member of Kohala Hongwanji Mission. Wendy has served as co-chairperson for Kohala Project Grad and volunteers with other community projects.

Ross Pagat

Partners in Development, Community School Manager

Ross was born in Canada and raised in Kohala. His parents Gilbert and Dena contributed and served the community in education and health fields. Ross is following in their footsteps as a Community School Manager for Partners in Development Foundation. He assists Kohala Elementary, Middle and High School families who need resources and services. With the COVID-19 pandemic he was able to help make connections with different community partners to assist with food distributions, internet access, appliances and child care services.

Nathan Trump

General Manager, Island Harvest

Born and raised in Kohala, Nathan Trump graduated from Kohala High School in 2010 before attending Wheaton College where he received a degree in International Relations. Nathan is the General Manager for Island Harvest, a Kohala-based farming company focused on macadamia production. Since returning home to Kohala in 2015, Nathan has worked as a part time tutor at Kohala Middle School and is the President of the Hawaii Macadamia Nut Association.

Sydney Wiernicki

Youth Director, Kohala High School

Sydney Wiernicki is a member of Kohala High School class of 2021. She enjoys swimming at the beach, riding horses, and prefers dogs over cats. She grew up in Kohala and is proud to say that she is a result of what our amazing community has to offer. One of her goals is to provide the upcoming keiki in our town with even more opportunities than she had and being a part of the resource center gives her the chance to help and support them.

Honorary Directors

Kim Takata

Small Business Owner

Kim Takata has a Bachelor’s degree from VA Tech in Horticulture and has been involved in agriculture in Hawaii for 27 years. Her experience includes working in a botanical garden, managing Watanabe Floral (a wholesale cut rose nursery in Waimea), and managing her own nursery in Kohala for the past 11 years. She is an active member of the Kohala Coqui Coalition, the Kohala Community Athletic Association (KCAA), the Kohala Ditch Foundation, and a member of the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

Gino Amar

Administrator, Kohala Hospital

Born and raised in North Kohala, Gino graduated from Kohala High School as Student Body President in 1985, received his BS in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from Hawaii Pacific College. Active in the community, Gino has contributed to service projects including helping extend the concession area and re-leveling the infield of the baseball diamond at Kamehameha Park, coaching youth basketball and varsity sports and is an active member in community organizations such as the Kohala Reunion 2005 and 2010.

Alida Adamek

Certified Public Accountant

Alida has resided in North Kohala since 2006. She has been the Treasurer of the Kohala Country Fair since 2009 and was co-founder of the Kohala Fitness Station for Women. She was a Certified Public Accountant for 30 years and worked as a sole practitioner, CFO of a national loss prevention company and a partner in a multinational public accounting firm.

Lani Bowman

Consultant/Educator

A native of North Kohala and Kamehameha Schools graduate with a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Puget Sound, Lani has served on the County Water Commission, North Hawaii Hospice, Hawaii State Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse and Controlled Substances, Hawaii State Foster Parents Association, and as a delegate to the Native Hawaiian Convention. Lani also helped initiate the Kohala Country Fair, and T.E.A.M. Kohala.

Joe Carvalho

Retired Bank Officer

Joe was born and raised in North Kohala. He is an active supporter of youth sports programs. After thirty years in Information Technology for the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, Joe has retired with his wife Marcia, a high school classmate, in North Kohala.

David Gomes

Luthier, Musician

David was born and raised in North Kohala. He is well-known worldwide for his musicianship and his handmade quality musical instruments. Music Director at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, and Director of the church’s Youth Ukulele Choir.

Chris Helmuth

Small Business Owner

Chris is the President/Principal Broker of Kohala Pacific Realty. He holds a business degree from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He was Board President of NKCRC for over five years and is also a past Vice President of the West Hawaii Mediation Center, where he served for six years, and member of the Kohala Merchants Association.

Bob Martin

Small Business Consultant

A retired executive from AT&T, Bob offers small business consulting in North Kohala. Bob’s community service includes six years on the Kohala High and Intermediate School’s School-Community Based Management Council, President and Treasurer of the North Kohala Merchant’s Association for three years each, Chair of the Kohala Country Fair for three years and member for six years, Advisory Council of the Kohala Intergenerational Center and Director of the West Hawaii Mediation Center.

Dennis S. Matsuda

Former District Supervisor, North & South Kohala District, County of Hawaii, Parks & Recreation

A North Kohala native, Dennis has worked for the Country of Hawaiʻi for a number of years. Over the years he has been involved in many community-based groups: the King Kamehameha Day Celebration Committee, Chair of the Kohala Millennium Reunion, T.E.A.M. Kohala, a drug intervention program, a Board Member of the Kohala Intergenerational Center, Taste of Kohala Steering Committee, the Kohala Golf Club, the Kohala Okinawa Kenjin Kai Club, Pop Warner football and Little League baseball.

Kathleen Matsuda

Small Business Owner

Kathleen Matsuda was born and raised in Kohala. She graduated from Kohala High School with the class of 1980 and went on to study Hotel Management/Reception at Cannon’s Business College. She has been involved in the local Boy Scouts of America for almost 20 years and currently holds the position of Activity Chairman for the Hamakua/Kohala district. Kathy was the previous owner of her family’s Union Market business that was started by her grandfather. She is now the president of Kohala Okinawa Ken Jin Kai and has been Day Camp Director for 4 years. Kathy has also leads the Kohala chapter of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii.

Amy Meyer-Sullivan

Small Business Owner

Amy moved to North Kohala from the San Francisco Bay Area in 1988. Her two children were born and raised in Kohala, and together she and her husband have run their small business here. Throughout the years, Amy has been involved in various projects and organizations that have benefited the North Kohala schools and community.

Faye Mitchell

Preschool Director, Personal Historian

Raised in North Kohala, Faye attended Kohala Elementary and High School before graduating from Parker High School with the Trustees’ Award for community service. She went on to college in California and obtained a Masters Degree in Psychology. In 2003 Faye returned to her home town to raise two children and begin her career developing and directing community service projects. She founded Living Journals, a oral history project which has collected life histories of 16 North Kohala seniors and published 4 books – most recently “A Storyteller’s Story: Kindy Sproat of North Kohala” and “Ranching Under the Rainbow – Monty Richards of Kahua Ranch.” Faye has also developed and directed a local Montessori preschool.

Nani Svendsen

Self Employed

Born and raised in North Kohala, Nani has been one of the community’s most active contributors since 1980. She received the “Citizen of the Year” award in 1999 from the North Kohala Merchants Association for outstanding contributions to the community. Organized the Makapala and Niulii villages to address water and general plan issues during 1980- 1982. Conducted community workshops on mountain food gathering and floral arranging-wreath making in 1984-1985, organized the first Kohala Christmas Crafts Fair in 1994 to benefit the Summer Fun Program for local children, Co-Chair Taste of Kohala 1995-1996. Project Organizer for Kukui Garden.

Frances Woollard

North Hawaii Hospice

A resident of North Kohala since 1974, Fran has served an a Registered Nurse at the North Kohala Hospital, Family Nurse Practitioner for the Kohala Family Health Center 1982-1991, and Kohala Home Heath Care 1991-1997, and has been employed by North Hawaii Hospice since 1986. She has contributed to the CARE program, the North Kohala Intergenerational Center, was a Director of North Hawaii Hospice, Kohala Healing Arts, and co-facilitates the Hawaii Nature Fast and O’Ka Mana Ka Ho’ola, an Hawaiian Cancer Retreat.

Desiree M. Medeiros

Business Owner

Desiree is a North Kohala rancher and former President of the Kohala Community Athletic Association, the North Kohala Hawaiian Civic Club, and co-chaired the Kamehameha Week Celebration Committee for many years. She has lived in North Kohala for 25 years and was born and raised in Honokaa.

Our Staff

Michelle Kawai

Co-Director of Operations, Finance Specialist 

Fourth generation of Kohala, Michelle Kawai, former Program & Events Coordinator at Feed Hawaiʻi dba Kohala Village HUB. She graduated from Kohala High School Class of 1993 as student council President and attended Central Oregon and Hilo Community College. Michelle is an active community member and serves as the Treasurer for the Kohala Kamehameha Day Committee, a volunteer for the Kohala Reunion 2020 and the Kohala Country Fair committees. When she is not immersed in projects and events, Michelle enjoys going holoholo with the kūpuna, cooking and some quiet time at home with family and friends.

Leslie Nugent

Co-Director of Operations, Programs Specialist

With a passion for sustainable agriculture and youth empowerment, Leslie has been an active community organizer in North Kohala since 2010.  She holds a BA in Sociology with a minor in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Vermont. After serving as a project organizer for numerous community projects under the center, she joined the staff in January 2018.

ʻEkela Kahuanui

Co-Director of Operations, Administrative Specialist

‘Ekela joins NKCRC with 20+ years of non-profit work experience. She is drawn to the center because of her love for community, her culture and nā keiki o ka ʻāina. She joined the staff in January 2021.