HAWAI`I AGRICULTURAL FOUNDATION
2013 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Yukio Kitagawa – Chair
Former Chairman, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture
Mae Nakahata – Vice Chair
Meredith Ching – Secretary
Senior Vice President – Alexander and Baldwin
Patricia Morgan – Treasurer
Derek Kurisu – Director
Executive Vice President, KTA Superstores
Jeanine Ogawa – Chair
Attorney, Law Offices of Wesley Y.S. Chang
Roy Oyama – Treasurer
Al Nagasako – Director
Executive Director – HSTA
Director, Culinary Institute of the Pacific
Frederick Perlak – Director
Dean Okimoto – President
President, Nalo Farms
Alan Wong – Director
Chef and Owner, Alan Wong’s Restaurant
Yukio Kitagawa has been a strong supporter of the agricultural industry in Hawaii for many years. A graduate of the University of Hawaii with a Masters Degree from Oregon State University, from 1988 to 1994, Kitagawa was Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture. Prior to that, Kitagawa served as Assistant Director, Cooperative Extension Service, for the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Services (CTAHR) at the University of Hawaii. He is currently a board member of the Hawaii Agriculture Resource Center and the City and County of Honolulu Agriculture Development Task Force. He has served on the National Association of County Agricultural Agents as president of the Hawaii Association in 1971, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture as president from 1993 to 1994. Kitagawa been honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Mae Nakahata is the Director of Agricultural Research and Crop Control for HC&S, a position she has held since 1984. As such, she is responsible for the overall health and nutrition of the 35,000-acre plantation, including its variety selection program and the management of pests through breeding and biological control. Most recently she oversees the company’s efforts in Energy Crop development.
Meredith Ching is has been employed with Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. since 1982, and currently holds the position of Senior Vice President, Government and Community Relations. She is responsible for developing and implementing government relations, community relations and public relations programs for Alexander & Baldwin and its subsidiary companies. Ching has served on numerous non-profit board and governmental boards and commissions, and is currently a board member of Kapiolani Health Foundation, Girl Scouts of Hawaii, and the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation. She is also president and an executive committee member of the Land Use Research Foundation.
Derek Kurisu has spent more than 40 years employed by KTA Super Stores, starting out as a courtesy clerk and working his way up to his current position, Executive Vice President of Perishable Operation. Kurisu is responsible for creating Mountain Apple Brand products, a private Hawaii-based label that currently has over 260 items and 60 business partnerships. Kurisu also produces two television cable programs, “Living in Paradise,” a family program, and “Seniors Living in Paradise,” a program highlighting seniors. The programs change monthly and air nightly on Hawai’i Island local cable T.V. channel 27.
Jeanine Ogawa is a lawyer who specializes in real property, business and nonprofit law. She was educated at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. She has extensive experience in representing nonprofit organizations and has served on the boards of a number of charitable organizations. In addition to the Hawaii Agriculture Foundation, she volunteers on the boards of the Hawaii Seafood Council, Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation and Harvard Hawaii Club.
Roy Oyama has been a strong supporter of agriculture in Hawaii for decades. He is the proud owner of Oyama Farms on Kauai and is currently President of the Kauai Farm Bureau, President of the Kauai Farmers Association, and President of the Kauai Farmers Association Development. Oyama is also a member of the Kauai County Water Department Board, West Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District board member and treasure, Hawaii 4-H Foundation board member, Hawaii 4-H Livestock board member, Kauai 4-H Livestock board member, and was recognized for the Kauai Museum Living Treasure 2005 agriculture achievements award.
Alvin Nagasako began working with the Hawaii State Teachers Association as its executive director on March 29, 2010. Al recently retired as principal of Kapolei High School where he served for nine years building capacity and state-wide recognized programs of excellence for his school, students, and the Hawaii Department of Education.
Conrad Nonaka brings over three decades of executive business management skills to the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) table. He has managed restaurants, hotels and people and has led many organizations in their planning, team development and marketing strategies. Most notably, Conrad has been associated with the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Oahu; Sheraton Boston Hotel, Mass; Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, Oahu; Sheraton Coconut Beach Hotel, Kauai; Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Oahu; The Luxury Princeville Hotel, Kauai; Princeville Corporation, Kauai and the Westin Resort Hotel and Ta Shee Golf Country Club, Taiwan.
Dr. Frederick J. Perlak is the Vice President of Research and Business Operations for Monsanto on Hawaii He is responsible to provide strategy and direction for the Monsanto Hawaii organization across all the functional areas of Monsanto including research and manufacturing. Dr. Perlak is also responsible for future planning and community affairs.
Dean Okimoto graduated from Iolani High School in Honolulu, HI in 1972 then continued his education at University of Redlands, in Redlands, CA earning a B.A. in Political Science.
He came back to the family farm and in 1983 became Chairman and President of ‘Nalo Farms, Inc. In 1986 after growing green onions, daikon, and American parsley as his father did, and started a hydroponic system to grow lettuces, the opportunity was seized to grow herbs such as basil, tarragon, thyme, and rosemary for the mainland winter market which went well until soil disease hit in 1990.
In the world of gourmet cooking, critically-acclaimed Chef Alan Wong is well-known for his unique creative flair. A renowned master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Chef Wong has made a highly-successful career out of marrying elements of different ethnic cooking styles using the finest Island-grown ingredients. As his Asian roots combine with his French culinary background, east and west cuisines do not merely meet — they meld.