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!
Program and Operations Assistant
Blending her marketing and wildland firefighting knowledge into one, Tamara is the lead behind our current statewide Wildfire LOOKOUT! tips campaign.
What began as an outdoor summer job firefighting to fund her English studies at University of Victoria, followed by a diploma scholarship in Marketing and Sales from Langara College, turned into an adventurous career in wildfire.
A certified fire officer, Tamara has extensive training in project fire management, fire behavior, fire cause investigation, prescribed burning, and helicopter management.
A Canadian transplant, Tamara has worked 12 seasons wildland firefighting for the BC Wildfire Service throughout British Columbia, as well as in the Yukon, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario. Outside of Canada she has worked on expanded attack project fires in southern Oregon, and spent three months firefighting in Patagonia, Argentina as part of a firefighter technical exchange program through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Plan National Manejo del Fuego (PNMF).
A break in firefighting led Tamara into another career working as a freight train conductor and certified locomotive engineer for CP Rail in southeastern BC. The economic downturn in 2009 led her to the wilds of Bella Coola to launch the Literacy NOW program with the Bella Coola Valley Learning Society.
An opportunity to work as the temporary editor of the Coast Mountain News sparked a new path into journalism reporting for sister Black Press publications: The Free Press in Fernie, and The Nelson Star in colorful Nelson, BC.
Most comfortable being in wilderness, Tamara loves to trail run, mountain bike, backpack, swim, and dabble in triathlon. She is a member of the Hawaii Writers Guild.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Pablo Beimler works as Community Outreach Coordinator for the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. He first became involved with the organization in early 2013 by collaborating on the creation of a statewide fire history database that has been a valuable source of information for fire research and management in Hawaii. As coordinator, Pablo focuses on developing outreach materials; managing HWMO's web and social media presence; organizing and attending site visits, community and youth presentations, and ReadySetGo! workshops; and coordinating the statewide Firewise Communities Recognition Program in conjunction with State of Hawaii, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
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 Urban 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 capoeira, mountain biking, snorkeling, surfing, backpacking, cooking, gardening, writing, drawing, and playing music. Pablo also is a slam poet, performing at various venues and events on the island. He also co-founded and helps run the North Hawaii Action Network, a group of Hawaii Island community members committed to protecting human rights, civil liberties, equality, and the health of our home planet.
Community Coordination Assistant
Lele Kimball joined Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization as a Community Coordination Assistant in May 2018. In this role, she helps implement community-based wildfire management and education projects throughout Hawaii. Lele aims to support resilient island communities and enhance our ability to understand and adapt to the environment in which we live.
Born on Big Island, she was fortunate to receive an experiential education in the natural world growing up in the outdoors of both Hawaiʻi and Oregon. She earned her B.A. in 2007 from the University of Oregon in International Comparative Development and minored in Business. Following her interests in sustainable development, she worked for various non-profits providing an opportunity to work with and travel to diverse communities around the world.
Realizing the critical importance of local natural resource management in sustainable development, Lele returned to graduate school and earned her M.S. in Urban Forestry in 2014 from Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Her research focused on incorporating cutting edge environmental assessment data into municipal planning and decision-making processes to inform natural resource management. Prior to returning to Big Island, Lele worked with the city of Portland’s Department of Urban Forestry to implement neighborhood-based street tree inventories and facilitate local stewardship of community ecosystem services.
In addition to her role with HWMO, Lele is a land steward with her ohana on a diversified farm in Holualoa. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, playing music, gardening, and exploring our beautiful islands mauka to makai.
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.