Kelly Ah Hee (Vice President)

General Manager – NAH Security Services

Kelly Ah Hee was born and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, graduating from Kohala High School in 1998. He received his BA in Economics from the UNLV in 2005. He brings a valuable and diverse skillset to NKCRC from his years as the General Manager of Security and Landscaping for NAH Security Services. 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 UH, Mānoa, graduating 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 Hawaiʻi and the continent. She is an active member in the North Hawaiʻi chapter of 100 Women Who Care, and a Director for the group Remember thru Music. 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.

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. Kynan graduated from Kamehameha Schools Kea’au in 2013, then earned a B.S. degree from Northern Arizona University’s School of Hotel & Restaurant Management. In 2018 he started his career at a luxury resort on the Kohala coast. COVID19’s impact on the hospitality industry enabled him to transition and to assist with the development & implementation of 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 on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Denni is a 2003 Kohala High School graduate. She has been an active a part of the community through school projects, organizations, religious initiatives, sports and extracurricular activities. She has an array of professional and business experience including 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.

Vicky Kometani (President)

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

Vicky has 30-plus years experience in the Hawaiʻi 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.

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.