Elizabeth Pickett is the Executive Director of Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, where she began working in 2008. Elizabeth works with the HWMO staff to implement numerous wildfire mitigation, planning, and education projects throughout Hawaii. As Executive Director, she has led collaborative projects that have been important to making progress in wildfire awareness and preparedness in Hawaii. These include developing the first-ever statewide fire history map and database, assessing wildfire hazards for every community in the state, working with communities and agencies to develop and implement community wildfire protection plans, co-developing the Pacific Fire Exchange for the development and sharing of wildfire related science throughout the Pacific, and implementing numerous fuels reduction and outreach projects across Hawaii.
Elizabeth earned a Masters of Environmental Science degree from Yale School of Forestry in 2007, where she focused her research on public impact on and contributions to natural resource management in Hawaii, and a Bachelors degree from UC Berkeley in 2000.
In addition to her work for HWMO, Elizabeth is a program coordinator for partner organization Malama Kai Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that specializes in coastal and marine protection.
When not working, Elizabeth can be found kitesurfing, painting, sharing time with her family, and watching her baby become a toddler!
Community Outreach Coordinator
Pablo Beimler works as Community Outreach Coordinator for both the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization and Pacific Fire Exchange. He first became involved with the organization in early 2013 by collaborating on the creation of a statewide fire history database that will be a valuable source of information for future fire research and management purposes. As coordinator, Pablo focuses on developing outreach material, redesigning and updating the HWMO and PFX websites, and putting together field visits, public presentations and workshops.
Although raised in a concrete metropolis, Los Angeles, Pablo was fortunate enough to be exposed to the importance of connecting to nature through frequent school, friend, and family trips to the Santa Monica Mountains, various Malibu beaches, and Yosemite, to name a few. He then moved up to the Bay Area to attend the University of California, Berkeley to complete a BA in Environmental Economics, a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies with a focus on Sustainable Food Policy, and a Minor in Forestry. After graduating in the spring of 2012, Pablo spent the next two summers in South Lake Tahoe working as a Forestry Aide for CalFire, performing defensible space inspections on homes and speaking to homeowners regarding the importance of fire mitigation practices.
When not at work, Pablo enjoys mountain biking, snorkeling, surfing, backpacking, cooking, gardening, writing, drawing, and playing music and capoeira. Pablo also spends each Thursday morning volunteering for the Mala'ai Garden at the Waimea Middle School. Pablo spends each day in Hawaii playing out his favorite saying: "'Eli 'eli kau mai" or "Let awe possess me."
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist
Orlando Smith is HWMO's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist. Orlando was born in Berkeley, California and moved to the island of Hawai’i in 1989. He graduated from Honoka’a High School and the University of Hawai’i in Hilo, where he received a BA in Geography in 2002. After college, he began working as a Soil Conservation Technician at the Waimea Field Office for the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2004, he founded O. Smith Co., a sole proprietorship, providing Geospatial Consultancy for a variety of Planning/Engineering and Environmental client applications.
Although Orlando is presently working for HWMO as the GIS Mapping and Communications Engineer, he continues to consult on various projects around the State of Hawai’i as a Cartographer/ GIS Analyst. He is currently the Vice President of the Honoka’a Business Association, for which he has been a director for the past 2 years. He is also an Executive Board member of the Big Island Sustainable Communities Association, a non-profit group dedicated to community based education and grassroots economic development.
In his spare time, Orlando enjoys music production and performance with current projects Moemoea, The Durgas and King Jah & The Universals. Orlando is also a Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) member, with a long list of commercials, television, movie and stage credits.
Orlando believes strongly in the Hawaii State Motto… UA MAU KE ‘EA ‘O KA ‘AINA I KA PONO… The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness!!!
PFX Coordination Assistant
Melissa Kunz works as the Coordination Assistant for the Pacific Fire Exchange. She helps to create and maintain the informational resources provided to PFX stakeholders, including the PFX website, fact sheets, and field trips.
Born and raised on the Big Island, Melissa developed a love for nature and a desire to engage others in environmental appreciation and stewardship. She earned a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University which combined her interests in human and environmental well-being.
While working in water conservation with California water utilities, Melissa translated technical natural resource information to a general audience. She is happy to be back in her home state and able to apply this skill set in the context of wildfire management.
In her spare time, Melissa enjoys running, hiking, and judo.
Tom Loomis currently works as a project assistant for HWMO. Tom moved to Hawaii four years ago from northern California. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Recreation with an emphasis in Geography. Tom has worked for 9 years in community and environmental education. Tom currently maintains the Waikoloa Dryland Safety Park and recently helped complete the Know Fire Wildfire Curriculum and the Community At Risk Assessment.
When Tom is not at work at HWMO, he co-coordinates the Ocean Warriors environmental education after-school program in North Kohala. On his days off you'll most likely find him surfing, paddling his recently built canoe, playing harmonica, or designing his next boat project.
Mark Thorne, Ph.D.
HWMO President; Executive Committee Chair
University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Range and Grazing Specialist
Dr. Mark Thorne grew up in northern Wyoming learning to live and play in the wild lands that existed between towns. He spent many summers on his Grandfatherʻs ranch learning to appreciate what the land could and could’t provide and how our management of its resources determined its sustainability. After high school, Mark spent several years as a cowboy for ranches across the western states that further developed his appreciation for the conservation and management of our wild lands. Between 1988 and 1996, he honorably served in the United States Marine Corps and was a combat veteran of the first Gulf War.
In 2002, Mark earned his Ph.D. in Rangeland Ecophysiology from Colorado State University. Since then, he has worked as a range and livestock extension specialist for Colorado State University (2002-2003) and the University of Hawaii (2003 to present). His career goals have been driven by his love for the wild spaces between towns and tempered by his experience with the destructive toll of war on life, lives, and living. While he is convinced that the conservation of agriculture in our wild lands is the key to peace and prosperity within and among nations, he acknowledges that we have much to learn about sustainable management of our wild land resources.
To this end Dr. Thorne’s research over the past 20 years has focused on improving livestock management practices across the nation’s range and pasturelands. He strives to pass on what he has learned to his stakeholders through a variety of educational programs and outreach efforts. Mark particularly enjoys his agricultural outreach projects to underserved island communities across the Pacific Basin. He is honored to have had the opportunity to serve as member of the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization since 2003. On his personal time, Mark enjoys weight training and many outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, and diving. Most of all, he enjoys being with his wife (Jean Marie) and children (Tyler and Brandon).
HWMO Vice President; Fundraising Committee Chair
Natural Resource Manager
HWMO Secretary; Finance Committee Chair
MCS International President
Malama Kai Foundation President
Carolyn Stewart is a Founder and Principal Consultant with Marine and Coastal Solutions (MCS) International, Inc., a Hawaii-based environmental resources management planning firm. She has over 20 years of experience working in coastal and marine resources management, with an emphasis on polluted runoff control and watershed management. Prior to founding MCS International, Carolyn was a planner and a planning and policy analyst for the Hawai‘i Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program from August 1991 to March 1999. She has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Master’s degree from the University of Washington School of Marine Affairs.
Carolyn has been involved with Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization since its inception. It was a natural fit, given her work on developing watershed plans for fire-prone areas of Hawaii Island. HWMO’s philosophy of being proactive and working with government personnel and affected stakeholders is an approach Carolyn has used effectively throughout her career in watershed management.