Track A Speakers

Elizabeth E. Fischer

Elizabeth E. Fischer

Liz Fischer is a Registered Landscape Architect who has worked in the area of community planning throughout her career on issues specific to rural areas, small communities, tribal governments, and in special topic areas for communities including place-making, livability, smart growth, active-living through design, context sensitive design, historic preservation, climate adaptation, and disaster recovery planning.

She currently heads transportation planning and emergency management and implementation for the USDOT-FHWA in the State of Hawaii, and the US Territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands (a geophysical area twice the size of the lower 48 States).

Her activities at the FHWA include representing the FHWA on the inter-governmental Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility where she currently works on vulnerable population evacuations during and post-disasters, and participates in Transportation Research Board working groups and committees. Liz co-chairs the Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board Emergency Preparedness Work Group. She is a long-standing member of the USDOT Livable and Rural Communities Working Groups. Liz was integral in starting both the North Carolina and the National Scenic Byways programs.

Liz is an active member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) where she is a national leader. She is also active with the Hawaii Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) and the Federal Caucus of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

She is a certified facilitator and instructor for the USDOT-FHWA and the Department of Homeland Security, and has been a leadership trainer for the ASLA. She also has authored and edited numerous articles and papers published in national and international professional periodicals and journals.

Liz actively competes in Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe racing - a sport that takes her from New England’s Capes to Pacific Rim Atolls; a sport through which she also volunteers to work with wounded warriors for their physical and mental rehabilitation. Liz is a member of the Hawaii State Society of Washington, DC.

Registered Landscape Architect: NC #917
MS Landscape Architecture, NC State University - College of Design
BS History and Biology, Randolph Macon College, Ashland, VA

Fiona Douglas-Hamilton

Fiona Douglas-Hamilton

  • Co-founded a design-build, management company developing hospices and large commercial nursing homes in England
  • Former Sustainability Director for Apple Homes, WA
  • Founding Steering Committee member and co-chaired the Green Building Value Initiative (2007-2009)
    • A multi-NGO collaboration in the PNW Cascadia region to determine whether third party green certifications added value to residential and commercial real estate projects
  • Founder SEEC LLC – Social, Environmental & Economic Consulting (2008 to present)
    • A consulting and education firm providing services to individuals, organizations and stakeholders to support the value of sustainability in the built environment
  • Former president of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild 2009-2012
    • A non-profit, volunteer-based organization with over 500 members, that since 1993 has pioneered sustainable green building education to design and building professionals in the four States of Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho.
  • National speaker on green building valuation
  • Licensed Real Estate Instructor, WA (2010 to present)
  • Faculty presenter with the Emerge Leadership Project (ELP): leadership skills training for green building advocates (2011 to present)
  • Blogger for NAR’s Appraisal Insight

Rick Hobson

Rick Hobson

Since 1996, Rick has served as VP of Sales and Marketing/Principal Broker for Gentry Homes. He began his new home sales career in 1984 after graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles. A past president of the sales and marketing council (SMC) of Orange County and a member of the Institute of Residential Marketing (MIRM-NAHB), Rick is currently serving as an executive board member of BIA Hawaii. “We build the “Prius” of New Homes”, has been his message for many years and he loves working for a company that is always trying to design a better home. Rick is an avid canoe paddler, surfer, skier and tennis player. He has lived in Ewa by Gentry for that last 8 years and loves the wide open spaces of Leeward Oahu.

Alistair Jackson

Alistair Jackson

Alistair is a Principal of O’Brien & Company.  He leads the firm’s Education and Residential Services work, bringing his unique insights from more than 17 years of experience in the field of sustainability. He currently oversees a team that provides technical consulting services, diagnostic analysis, performance testing and green building certification of multifamily residential projects.  He is an experienced trainer, leading courses for Enterprise Green Communities and serving as LEED for Homes Faculty with the US Green Building Council.  Alistair is also a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor, a LEED Accredited Professional and LEED for Homes Green Rater.

Shem Lawlor

Shem Lawlor

Shem is a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planner with the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting and has been with the City since 2008. He moved to Oahu in 1997 and has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Shem’s primary focus while working with the City has been on the creation of an Affordable Housing Rehab Program for rental units along the planned rail corridor. He is also working with multiple agencies and community groups on a Honolulu Bike-Sharing Initiative that hopes to bring a large-scale bike-sharing program to Honolulu. In his free time, Shem is an active runner, training and competing in road races year round.

Makani T. Maeva

Makani Maeva

Makani Maeva has worked in Hawaii’s affordable housing arena since its infancy. Eighteen years ago, Ms. Maeva helped to develop Hawaii’s first privately owned low-income housing tax credit project, Kulana Hale. Since 1995, Makani has been instrumental in the development of over 2,200 affordable housing units. To date, she has secured $114,000 in debt financing and $96,000,000 in equity for affordable housing in Hawaii.

Ms. Maeva joined Vitus in 2001 and as a Director she manages all of Vitus’s Hawaii multifamily housing development efforts. Ms. Maeva is responsible for every aspect of a project, including entitlement, financing structure, design oversight, ownership and management activities. Under her leadership, the Hawaii office is one of Vitus’ top performing divisions with projects that include two of the largest affordable housing projects developed in Hawaii. Vitus’ $60 million Lokahi Apartments project on Hawaii island is the largest new construction affordable housing project in Hawaii and its $135 million Kuhio Park Terrace Redevelopment effort is the state’s largest acquisition preservation venture on Oahu.

Ms. Maeva specializes in projects involving complex multiple debt and equity sources , including tax-exempt bonds and tax credits, as well as HUD, rural development and other governmental financing tools .

Makani believes in a comprehensive approach to affordable housing that attempts to align the economic expectations of the financial community with the everyday realities of the residents who call these properties home. Her work is driven by a commitment to provide housing that improves the quality of life for residents and she embraces new technologies and alternative ideas for designing and building projects. Under Makani’s direction, Vitus Group began incorporating alternative energy into its projects as early as 2005. Since then she has been instrumental in developing company-wide green building standards which include photovoltaic systems, solar water heating systems, aquaponic gardens and rooftop farms.

Makani is currently a member of the Honolulu Urban Land Institute’s Affordable Housing Committee and the Historic Hawaii Foundation Board and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority. A frequent speaker on affordable housing topics at both industry events and for the University of Hawaii, Makani was selected in 2011 by Hawaii Business Magazine for their annual list of emerging young leaders as “20 For The Next 20″.

Makani spends her free time with her three young children, and squeezes in some reading, biking and hiking when she can.

Kamana‘o Mills

Kamana‘o Mills

Kamana‘o joined the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in 2004 as Special Assistant in the Office of the Chairman and has nearly 20-years experience in State Government.  Previously, Kamana‘o worked as a Hawaiian Language instructor at the Hawaiian immersion schools and as a lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Mânoa.  Kamana‘o was also employed at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, DLNR - State Historic Preservation Division Burials’ Program, and the Legislative Office of the Auditor.

Karen Nakamura

Karen Nakamura

Karen T. Nakamura is the Chief Executive Officer of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii (BIA). She was named to this position in 1998, 14 years ago.

She is a third generation contractor and the first woman to receive a General Building Contractors license in the State of Hawaii. She is the founder of Remodeling Specialist Hawaii and is co-owner of Wallpaper Hawaii Ltd. Karen has more than 40 years experience in the construction industry.


      • 1998 Named to the Hawaii Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement
      • 1991 Region 9 Retail Firm of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce,
        Minority Business Development Agency
      • 1990 Builder of the Decade by BIA Hawaii
      • 1990 Distinguished Alumnae Hall of Fame from the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii
      • 1985 National Remodeler of the Year from NAHB Remodelers

Professional Affiliations

Senior Life Director National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
Member, International Women’s Forum
Trustee Hawaii Municipal Bond Fund

Dean Sakamoto, FAIA, LEED AP

Dean Sakamoto

Mr. Sakamoto is a practicing architect and educator. His firm, Dean Sakamoto Architects (DSA) is responsible for the LEED Gold certified Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center (BRC) at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, Hawai´i which is designed for sustainability and hurricane resilience. The BRC received numerous awards which include the AIA Honolulu Award of Excellence in 2010 and was published in ARCHITECT magazine. DSA’s clients in Hawaii include Kamehameha Schools, State Department of Education and the National Tropical Botanical Garden. He served on the faculty of the Yale School of Architecture from 1998-2011, and is now at the University of Hawai´i at Manoa, Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he leads the Urban Resilience Lab. He is the lead developer of HURRIPLAN: Resilient Building Design for Coastal Communities, a DHS-FEMA funded professional training course for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC).

Post-Sandy Hurricane Preparedness through Training
Working with a consortium of affiliates including AIA New York’s Design For Risk and Recovery Committee (DFRR), Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, and the New York City’s Office of Emergency Management, the Urban Resilience Lab-NDPTC is launching a series of resilience programs in the New York area through 2013. HURRIPLAN and other coastal resilience courses are scheduled for Pratt Institute’s Recovery and Resilience Program on May 15-16 and AIA New York’s 9-11 training events on September 27-28. For more information on NDPTC courses see

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