Categorized | Business

NELHA Lecture Series: Food, Tourism, Energy Nexus (April 21)


Friends of NELHA (FON) will host the fifth in a series of free lectures regarding energy at the NELHA Gateway Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 21.

This session will feature a panel speaking on the topic “Energy and the Economy – the Food / Tourism / Energy Nexus.”

Admission is free.

The panel will feature Richard Ha, President of Hamakua Springs Country Farms, Executive Chef Amy Ferguson, and Jacqui Hoover, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer of Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB).

Richard Ha’s farming experience started about 30 years ago when he finished college with an accounting degree and his father asked him to run his 40-acre chicken farm at Waiakea Uka.

Ha decided to grow bananas on part of his father’s farm, and that banana business became Keaau Bananas.

In 2004, when the company expanded to its present Pepeekeo location, it became Hamakua Springs Country Farms and started diversifying into additional products.

Hamakua Springs Country Farms uses very specific practices to advance sustainability in its approach to the environment, the community, its employees, and the family itself.

Chef Amy Ferguson was a founding member, with many of Hawaii’s most celebrated chefs, of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement.

Originally from Texas, Ferguson has operated award-winning restaurants both in Texas and Hawaii and has worked as an executive chef – several times as the first woman to be given that title — at a number of world class resorts. She has been instrumental in advancing Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and has been featured in dozens of cookbooks.

Ferguson has a passion for using local fare and the highest quality ingredients that Hawaii has to offer. She is included in Julia Child’s “Cooking with Master Chefs” series and is a James Beard Award nominee.

Jacqui Hoover is the Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer of Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the President of the Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference (HLPC). Before joining HLPC, Jacqui served at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) in several positions.

During her tenure at NELHA, she oversaw the Hawaii Gateway Energy Center project from conception through the official dedication and opening.

Hoover is from the Big Island and attended St. Joseph High in Hilo. She received college and graduate degrees from St. Mary’s College, UC Berkeley, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her community activities include serving on the Hawaii Space Advisory Commission, Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, and the YMCA Aquatics Committee, among others.

The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series consists of lectures on energy issues and is sponsored in part by the Hawaii Energy Resource Center, a component of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development.

For further information on the Exceptional Energy Lecture Series,
call FON at 329-8073.

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