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Sanctuary Advisory Council Members

Non-governmental Members (Voting) and Alternates

Business/Commerce:Teri Leicher and Thorne Abbott
Citizen-At-Large: Jim Coon and (vacant)
Commercial Shipping: Glenn Hong and James Kelleher
Conservation: Makaʻala Kaaumoana (Vice Chair) and Frazer McGilvray
Education: Judy Lemus (Secretary) and (vacant)
Fishing: Rick Gaffney and Philip Fernandez
Native Hawaiian: (vacant) and Sabra Kauka
Ocean Recreation:(vacant) and Gordon LaBedz
Research: Mark Deakos and (vacant)
Tourism: Kelsey Poole and (vacant)
Whale Watching: Tara Leota and Geoffrey Wall
Youth Seat (non-voting):Clarissa Honeker

Hawaiʻi County: (vacant)
Honolulu County:(vacant) and Rebecca Alakai
Kauaʻi County:Nina Monasevitch and Kim Rogers
Lānaʻi Island: Solomon Pili Kahoʻohalahala (Chair) and (vacant)
Maui County: Robin Newbold and (vacant)
Molokaʻi Island: (vacant)

ate Government (Non-Voting)

Office of Hawaiian Affairs (voting): Keola Lindsey and Brad Kaʻaleleo Wong
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism: Veronica Rocha
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health: Laura McIntyre
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources: Suzanne Case
State of Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources: Bruce Anderson
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation - Harbors Division: Sandra Rossetter
State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning: Leo Asuncion

Federal Government (Non-Voting)

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent: Malia Chow
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument :Superintendent Athline Clark and David Swatland
National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office: Jeff Walters
National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Law Enforcement: OLE Representative: Jeffrey Pollack

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Tunis McElwain
U.S. Coast Guard: Eric Roberts
U.S. Navy: Janice Fukawa
Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council (voting): Eric Kingma

Click here to download a pdf of past Sanctuary Advisory Council Members.

Click here to see the Sanctuary Advisory Council Subcomittees

Advisory Council Member Biographies and Contact Information

clarkAthline Clark
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Bio coming soon!





wongBrad Kaʻaleleo Wong
Office of Hawaiian Affairs (Alternate)

Brad Kaʻaleleo Wong is the Papahānaumokuākea Program Specialist for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and his background is in marine conservation, obtaining a B.S. in Marine Biology from California State University Long Beach. He has worked for several organizations doing conservation and environmental restoration work including Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi, and Hui Kū Maoli Ola. In his spare time Brad paddles, coaches, and is on the board of directors for Kailua Canoe Club, enjoys surfing, and is a volunteer for the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a crew member aboard the voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia.


coleDouglass Cole
Seat: Ocean Recreation

Doug Cole was raised on the North Shore of Oʻahu where he learned to appreciate his natural environment, both on land and in the water. As the Executive Director of the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT), Doug's work is focused on protecting land and natural resources on the North Shore of Oʻahu. Prior to working for NSCLT, Doug developed extensive community and leadership skills as a water polo/swimming coach and substitute teacher at Kahuku High School, a real estate agent and property manager on the North Shore and West Oʻahu, and a community-volunteer for several organizations and causes. Doug is a past President of the Sunset Beach Community Association and a former member of the North Shore Neighborhood Board. He currently serves on several non-profit boards. Doug received his bachelor's degree from the University of California at San Diego and his law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi.


kingmaEric Kingma
Western Pacific Regional
Fisheries Management Council

Eric has represented the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council on the Sanctuary Advisory Council since 2003. Prior to his current position with the fishery council, Eric worked as a humpback whale naturalist on Maui and worked for the US Coast Guard as a marine resource policy analyst in Honolulu. Eric was born on Kauaʻi, is married with two hapa keiki, and lives in Kailua, Oʻahu.


robertsEric Roberts
U.S. Coast Guard

Eric Roberts is the Marine Protected Resources Program Manager for the U.S. Coast Guard's Fourteenth District, located in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and a 2001 graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi's Master of Public Administration program with a concentration in oceanography. He is responsible for developing policy and overseeing Coast Guard law enforcement operations supporting the protection of Marine Protected Species and Marine Protected Areas throughout the western and central Pacific Ocean. Eric coordinates District Fourteen's Marine Protected Species conservation response program under the national Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, and is a member of the Large Whale Entanglement Response Network, the Pacific Islands Marine Mammal Response Network, and the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Team. Eric serves as the primary representative to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa Advisory Council, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.


Frazer McGilvray
Conservation (Alternate)

Frazer McGilvray, Executive Director of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, is an internationally renowned marine natural resource management professional with more than 25 years of experience. Having worked throughout East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, he has extensive knowledge on marine resource management across several continents. He has worked both on local projects and those that span multiple countries. McGilvray has advised and helped shape government policy in many countries to improve fisheries management, coral reef resilience, food security and economic benefits. 

McGilvray was most recently Executive Director of Malama Maunalua, a Hawaii-based non-profit organization. Prior to that, the Administrator of the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR), where he oversaw management, conservation and restoration of the state’s unique aquatic resources and ecosystems. He was instrumental in bringing community-based management back to Hawaii, beginning with a major success in Haena on Kauai last year. By law, the community now manages six miles of its own coastline.

Prior to DAR, he was with Conservation International (CI), a worldwide organization that applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth’s key marine ecosystems. His work included establishing the Seascapes Approach, a new context for large-scale marine management, funded with a $26 million donation (then the largest private donation towards marine conservation). While with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) in the United Kingdom, he implemented the UK’s first national beach clean-up campaign, with 3,000 volunteers to clean 160 beaches. Three years later he orchestrated the International Coastal Clean-up with MCS Hong Kong.

Born in Scotland, McGilvray earned degrees in marine biology and applied zoology from Bangor University in North Wales. Having lived and worked on every continent except Antarctica, he now lives in Hawaii Kai with his wife Kate and their two dogs. He is an avid waterman, and makes a point of getting in or on the water at Maunalua Bay as often as possible.


brighouseGene Brighouse
National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

Gene (Genevieve) Brighouse was raised in Samoa, educated in New Zealand (St Mary’s College in Ponsonby, Auckland) and shared time between Samoa, American Samoa and New Zealand as a youth.She earned her bachelor’s degree in Planning from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and her master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa, each time focusing on environmental planning. She was an East West Center scholarship recipient as well as Pacific Island Fellows recipient for her master’s program at UH.

 In 1992, Brighouse began working in the Department of Commerce for the government of American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the eastern islands of the Samoan group. She became a Coastal Zone Manager for the territory in 1999. In 2008, she was hired as Superintendent of Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary. When NOAA reviewed the status of the Sanctuary, as it does every five years, Brighouse led the charge to increase the Sanctuary’s size and get local people more engaged.

As Superintendent now of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, she has oversight of 5 additional areas added to Fagatele Bay and manages the largest sanctuary out of the system with 13,581 sq miles of marine protected areas.  She oversees research/science, conservation initiatives, public education/outreach along with all facets of Sanctuary stewardship, from carrying out and revising regulations that affect the Sanctuary to enforcing laws that protect it and gathering scientific and local knowledge that support management. Brighouse and her team work with a host of volunteers, and they offer internships to help local students get experience in environmental management, science and conservation. 




hongGlenn K. Y. Hong
Seat: Commercial Shipping
Mr. Glenn K. Y. Hong, from Honolulu, Hawaii graduated in 1970 from the University of
Southern California with a bachelor of science degree in accounting.

Upon graduation, he joined the accounting firm of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. in Honolulu as a staff auditor. Mr. Hong had assignments in audit, taxation and management consulting during his four years with the firm. He obtained his certification in public accountancy (CPA) during this period.

Starting in 1974, Mr. Hong spent a year traveling throughout Europe and the United States. In 1975 he joined the family businesses in retail and restaurants. He also offered independent consulting services.

In 1976, he joined Hawaiian Telephone Company as a senior auditor and held numerous auditing and accounting positions, ending as their Director of Internal Auditing. Mr. Hong was promoted and transferred in 1984 to Hawaiian Telephone's parent company, GTE-Telephone Operations in Stamford, Connecticut as Director of Internal Auditing. In this latter position, he was responsible for directing the internal audit functions for eight domestic and three foreign telephone operating companies. In 1988, Mr. Hong was promoted to Director of Financial Analysis for GTE Service Corporation where he was responsible for evaluation of financial projects, preparation of financial presentations to security analysts, and other special projects.

He returned to Honolulu in 1989 as controller for Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI). His responsibilities included financial reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission, investors, and analysts. Mr. Hong also provided evaluations and recommendations for investment opportunities, assisted subsidiaries in project and budget analysis, established budget and allocation systems, and participated in settlement negotiations.

In 1991, he moved to Hawaiian Tug & Barge Corp. and Young Brothers, Limited (HTB/YB) as Vice-President Finance and Government Affairs before being named President in 1992. HTB/YB provide harbor assist, common carrier inter-island freight transportation, and tug and barge charter services in Hawaii.

Mr. Hong is a member of The 200 Club of Honolulu. He is on the boards of Hawaii Harbors Users Group, Hawaii Employers Council (Executive Committee), The Foundation for the Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies, a member of the UH Shidler College of Business Advisory Board, and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce-Maritime Committee. He was formerly chairman of the Advisory Board of the Hawaii Family Support Center, past-chair of the 2002 Honolulu Harbor Festival, past president of the U.S. Navy League-Honolulu Council. Mr. Hong Is married to Jaydene Sniffen and they have four boys.


labedzGordon LaBedz
Seat: Ocean Recreation (Alternate)

Gordon LaBedz has been a leader in the conservation movement for over three decades. He was the prime organizer of the national coastal environmental group, the Surfrider Foundation. He was also a local, state, and national leader of the Sierra Club. He is presently active in the Kauaʻi group Kohola Leo (Whale Voice), the Vegetarian Society of Hawaiʻi, as well as the Kauaʻi chapter of the Surfrider Foundaton.




kittingerJames Kelleher
Seat: Commercial Shipping (Alternate)

Jim is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point and has recently retired from 38 years at sea as a Deck Officer, the last 24 years as Master of container ships ranging in size from 700 to 950 ft. On February 8, 2012 Capt. Jim was in command of the Horizon Reliance when three Canadian sailors were safely rescued from their stricken sailboat in a winter storm with 30 foot seas about 400 miles east of Hawaii. Jim was the recipient of the United States Merchant Marine Medal for Outstanding Achievement and the 2012 Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Mariners’ Plaque. He lives in Kona, HI with his wife Anita and together they run a small coffee farm. With nearly 2 million miles logged at sea, Jim has a deep appreciation of cetaceans and their plight in the open ocean and coastal regions.



fukawaJanice Fukawa
United States Navy

Janice Fukawa is the Community Planning and Liaison Officer for Navy Region Hawaiʻi.  Born and raised in Wahiawa, Oahu, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at California State Polytechnic University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).  After over a decade of experience in city government planning in southern California, Janice returned to Hawaiʻi to raise her growing family.  In 2001, she shifted her career focus and accepted a Community Planning position with the Navy at Pearl Harbor.  Currently, Janice supports the Navy’s Readiness Sustainment and Compatibility Program and is the Department of Defense representative on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council.



waltersJeff Walters
National Marine Fisheries Service
Pacific Islands Regional Office

Jeff works as the Wildlife Management and Conservation Branch Chief for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office, Protected Resources Division.  Jeff oversees staff responsible for Hawaiian monk seal recovery, sea turtle recovery, and marine mammal health and stranding response programs.  Jeff’s branch also facilitates outreach and partnership-building to manage human-wildlife interactions associated with ocean recreation and nearshore fisheries.  Prior to his current position, Jeff worked as NOAA’s Hawaiian monk seal recovery coordinator.  He has also worked at the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources as the co-manager of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and as a planning and policy analyst with the Hawaiʻi State Office of Planning. He also worked as a research fellow with the East-West Center and University of Hawaiʻi, and as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in marine fisheries extension in the Philippines.  Jeff’s educational background includes a B.S. in chemistry from Eckerd College, an M.S. in oceanography from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in geography and marine resources management from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.  Jeff and his wife, Edna, have lived on Oʻahu since 1990, and are the proud parents of a son and daughter both born and raised in Hawaiʻi.


coonJim Coon
Seat: Citzen-At-Large

Capt. Jim Coon has spent his life working, living and playing on the ocean and coastal environments. His Father was a sailor and fisherman. Jim’s formative years were on boats. He started commercial fishing as an eleven year old boy and spent over three months fishing in the Gulf of Alaska.  Subsequently, he commercial fished the Gulf almost every summer until finishing college where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology.  Shortly after completing a two year Pacific cruise and sailing to Hawaiʻi on a boat built with his Dad and Brother, they established Trilogy Excursions and he got involved in protecting and preserving the Hawaiian environment. Trilogy was one of the first companies to embrace what is now called Eco-Tourism.

He is a founder and current President of the Ocean Tourism Association (OTC). Chaired Governor Arioshi’s Whale Sanctuary Task Force (mid 1980’s). Charter member of the Whale Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) served as first SAC Chair for several years. Was President of the Maui Chapter of The Ocean Resources Council of Hawaii (TORCH) He was part of the first ORMP (Ocean Resources Management Plan) process in the mid 1980’s developing the first plan of its type in America.  He has stayed involved with the ORMP process up to this day.  He served on the MACZMAG (Marine and Coastal Zone Management Advisory Group) as a citizen participant for several years. Currently he is a charter member of MACZAC (Marine and Coastal Zone Advocacy Council; Ke Kahu O Na Kumu Wai).

He is Co-Founder and CEO of Trilogy Excursions; Maui’s oldest sail boat company and a leader in preserving and protecting Hawaii’s precious marine environment. Trilogy’s Blue ‘Aina Reef Clean Up Program in conjunction with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (Hawaiʻi Chapter), provides major financial and citizen support for a variety of local NGO’s and helps keep Maui’s reefs healthy.




lemusJudy Lemus
Seat: Education

Dr. Judith Lemus is a science education specialist at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi. She develops collaborative partnerships that promote community-science interactions, integrate science and culture, and provide professional development opportunities for both young and established scientists. Dr. Lemus received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Southern California with a specialization in symbiotic systems. She serves on the boards of both regional and national science education organizations and is currently the principle investigator and director of the National Science Foundation "Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence" in Hawaiʻi (COSEE Island Earth).


pooleKelsey Poole
Seat: Tourism

Kelsey has called Big Island home for almost six years. An ocean enthusiast, Kelsey spends almost every waking hour out on the ocean whether work or play. As Business Manager/Back-up captain for a whale watching operation in the South Kohala area, Kelsey’s love and passion for the ocean and the environment has intensified. Getting to share information about whales and other marine life with tourists from all over the world, locals, and even educational programs such as Malama Kai’s Ocean Warrior program, is such an honor and privilege. Her Bachelor of Arts degree is in Adolescent Psychology from Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN. She believes her education has contributed to much of her confidence and success in interacting with people in all walks of life.


mcintyreLaura McIntyre
State of Hawaiʻi Deaprtment of Health

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Laura is the Manager of the Environmental Planning Office at the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health. She has over twenty years of experience in strategic, policy, organizational, land use, sustainability, health and environmental planning. Laura is a member of the Executive Committee of the Hawaiʻi American Planning Association. She is a graduate of Punahou, has a BA in Economics and Political Science and a MURP in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa. Laura is an regular ocean swimmer and sailed extensively throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands while a teenager.


asuncionLeo Asuncion
State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Leo R. Asuncion, Jr., is the Manager of the Hawaiʻi CZM Program in the Office of Planning, State of Hawaiʻi. He has over twenty years of experience in program and project management, land use planning, capital improvement projects, policy development and program evaluation. He is also active with a number of professional and community organizations. Mr. Asuncion is a graduate of McKinley High School in Honolulu, HI and has earned his BA in political science and his MURP in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of HawaiʻiaMānoa. He also obtained a MBA degree from Hawaiʻi Pacific University.


kaaumoanaMakaʻala Kaaumoana
Seat: Conservation

Born in Kāneʻohe, Makaʻala has been an active advocate for nature and culture all her life. She currently guides the Hanalei Watershed Hui in the implementation of a community authored Watershed Action Plan that focuses on the integrated management of economic, natural and cultural resources in the Hanalei Bay watershed. She serves on several statewide Boards and is an outspoken proponent of community based initiative.




chowMalia Chow
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Malia Chow is the Superintendent for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. She received her formal educational training on the mainland, including a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland. Malia returned to the Hawaiian islands as a faculty researcher with the University of Hawaiʻi's Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology. She then worked as a Sea Grant extension agent before joining NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) where she worked as a policy analyst for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. Malia has also traveled extensively throughout the Pacific and southeast Asia as a trainer with the ONMS International Capacity Building Program to assist local communities and government officials to develop the capacity and skills to steward their locally marine managed areas across the Pacific.



monasevitchNina Monasevitch
Seat: Kauaʻi County

Nina Monasevitch has been an activist and advocate for cetaceans and their ocean home since 1976. Since that time, she has witnessed first hand the decline in the health of the marine ecosystem. She has been collecting published research on the state of oceans and cetaceans since 1990. Nina has had numerous encounters with cetaceans. She worked with Echo and Misha, Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins at UCSC Long Marine Lab, and was a part of their successful return to the wild. Nina has studied or worked with many cetacean specialists including John Lilly, Ken Norris, Paul Spong and Rick O'Brry. Nina serves as a director on the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Hawaiʻi Chapter. Her personal experiences and studies have given her a deep respect for cetaceans and great compassion to their plight. She is committed to be an ambassador and a voice for these animals and their ocean home.



fernandezPhilip Fernandez
Seat: Fishing Alternate

Phil Fernandez has worked in various positions related to commercial, non-commercial, recreational fishing, fish processing, and marine resource and ecosystem management for the last 15 years. He is experienced in state, tribal, regional, and national regulatory processes and rules, including promulgation of fishing and marine use regulations, marine protected area planning and management, and community and stakeholder outreach and education. In his line of work, he has applied business, science, and entrepreneurial experience, knowledge, and skills to provide management consulting services to trawl vessel owners. Fernandez is currently President of a fishing advocacy organization, Hawaiʻi Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition, Inc., and also sits on numerous federal and state advisory and advocacy councils. He holds a Master's degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's degree in Economics.


alakaiRebecca Alakai
Seat: Honolulu County (Alternate)

Rebecca has been an environmental planner involving streams, forests, and ocean resources for 20 years with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Land and Natural Resources, and Health.  She currently oversees surface water regulatory matters before the Commission on Water Resource Management.  Previously, she was with the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation where she drafted administrative rules for recreation and commercial vessels.  Rebecca has a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Hawaii.


gaffneyRick Gaffney
Seat: Fishing

Rick Gaffney was born and raised in Hawaiʻi and has had a fishing line in the water since he was 8 years old, obtained first USCG captain's license in 1974 and has been active in fisheries management and conservation in the Pacific since then. Rick has served on the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, and as a founding member and co-chair of the West Hawaiʻi Fishery Council, he currently holds the Recreational Fishing seat on the Papahānaumokuākea Reserve Advisory Committee. He is the owner of Pacific Boats & Yachts, and has done ocean recreation business development consulting across the Pacific and Indian Oceans for decades.


newboldRobin Newbold
Seat: Maui County

Robin Newbold is a founding member and current Chair for the Maui Nui Marine Resources Council (MNMRC). She is a past professor of marine biology and oceanography at Saddleback College in CA, and an active SCUBA diver and spokesperson for Maui's reefs. Beginning in 1995, Newbold led and participated in coral reef research efforts around Maui Nui, and spearheaded the introduction of REEF in Hawaiʻi to foster a sense of reef awareness and stewardship among Maui's residents. She has made over a thousand research-oriented SCUBA dives at many locations throughout the Pacific and is committed to involving the community in restoration of our reefs. She serves on Hawaiʻi's Natural Area Reserves Commission and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.



kaukaSabra Kauka
Seat: Native Hawaiian Alternate

Sabra Kauka is a kumu of Hawaiian Studies and hula hālau Nā Pua o Kamaile at Island School. In addition she coordinates the Department of Education Hawaiian Studies Cultural Personnel Resources on Kauaʻi. She teaches many traditional arts including making Kapa, feather lei and weaving lauhala. She is a founding member and president of Nā Pali Coast ʻOhana, the caretakers of Nuʻalolo Kai State Park on Kauaʻi. She also serves as a board member of Garden Island Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D), and is a member of the Hale ʻŌpio Kauaʻi Community Partnership Hui for HI Hopes. She graduated from Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawai‘i and completed postgraduate work at University of Alaska-Fairbanks.


rossetterSandra Rossetter
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation - Harbors Division

Sandra Rossetter is a Planner for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Harbors Division. She has a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon and has six years of experience planning for people and environment. She has always had a strong connection to the ocean and is inspired by life in Hawaiʻi.



kahoohalahalaSolomon Pili Kahoʻohalahala
Seat: Lānaʻi Island

E ʻōʻiwi Lānaʻi au. I am a 7th generation native son from the Island of Lānaʻi. I have been nurtured in the ways of my Kūpuna and I continue to perpetuate their teachings in my daily life. We have been gifted with the tools of our Kūpuna, their knowledge, experiences and their respect for each other in this place we call Ka Pae ʻĀina Hawaiʻi. Our responsibility is to bridge it into the future generations in the manner it was given to us. E hoʻomau!



leicherTara Leota
Seat: Whale Watching

Tara Leota is the sole owner & operator of Kauaʻi Sea Rider Adventures, Inc.  Captain Tara has been sharing her knowledge of and passion for Hawaiian reef ecology for over 35 years as both a Captain and Dive Master.  As a marine biologist and educator, Captain Tara has developed ongoing programs, from student whale watches to reef walks that have not only provided the enjoyment of the sea for students and people with special needs, but also promoted safety and environmental awareness.   Captain Tara has local knowledge of Hawaiian culture, piloting Hawaiʻi's coastlines’, assessing weather and water conditions, and Hawaiian reef ecology and taxonomy.


leicherTeri Leicher
Seat: Business/Commerce

Teri Leicher is the owner and manager of Jack's Diving Locker in Kona, Hawaiʻi. She has over 30 years of experience in the business of ocean recreation and environmental protection as well as resort, travel, charter and retail expertise. While a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, she has worked with the education, aquaculture and conservation committees as well as the vessel working group, the Blue Seas Initiative project, and the Maritime Heritage working group (chair). Teri has received various awards related to environmental awareness and business excellence, and she serves on several boards and committees including Mālama Kai Foundation, the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaiʻi Ocean Safety Team, the Harbors Advisory Committee (Kona) and the Citizens Advisory Committee (Hawaiʻi County).


abbottThorne Abbott
Seat: Business/Commerce Alternate

Mr. Thorne Abbott is an experienced coastal manager and environmental planner dedicated to improving proposed developments by capitalizing on innovative natural resource conservation, and his efforts have led to worldwide experience, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. His background integrates four broad topical areas including; constructed wetlands, water quality and watershed planning; shoreline, beach and coastal management; protected areas, species of special concern and sanctuaries; and policy, permitting and law. Based on his experience in government, non-profit, education and research, and private sectors, Abbott has served as a shoreline and coastal resources expert and has helped develop cross-jurisdictional, multi-sector approaches to solving complex coastal and environmental problems. He is active in the coastal community and presently serves on the Hawaiʻi Audubon Society Board of Directors and the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, to which he was recently appointed by Hawaiʻi's Governor.


abbottTunis W. McElwain
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Mr. Tunis McElwain serves as Chief of the Regulatory Branch, Honolulu District.  Tunis works with approximately ten regulatory professionals and Senior Biologist/Project Managers to manage the Regulatory Program in Hawaiʻi, Guam, and American Samoa. 

Tunis has also served as Chief of the Fort Myers Section and Mining Coordinator, Regulatory Division, Jacksonville District. Where he worked to resolve complex project proposals with applicants as well as other federal, state and local government agencies and national environmental advocacy groups.

Tunis first began his career in public service with the Forest Service in Priest Lake, Idaho.  He later worked with the National Biological Survey at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  Prior to coming to the Corps, Tunis worked for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation for approximately six years as a Reclamation Plan Specialist and oversaw the active mining process and subsequent reclamation of surface coal mines. 

Tunis joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District as a Regulatory Specialist in 1999 where he worked in a field office in Newburgh, Indiana that covers 55 counties in three states.  In 2003, Tunis joined the Jacksonville District team as a Project Manager and worked in the Fort Myers Regulatory Office until July of 2006. 

From 2006 to 2008, Tunis served as the Chief of the Coastal Branch of the Mobile District Regulatory Division.  As Chief, he was responsible for approximately 17 professionals who implemented all aspects of the regulatory program for the lower six counties in Mississippi and the coastal portion of Alabama.

Tunis has also served as the Acting Chief, South Permits Branch Jacksonville District with responsibilities that include all of South Florida. 


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