Wai Lee – Executive Director
Wai Lee is the Executive Director of Smart Trees Pacific and has been with the organization since 2008. He was the project manager for both Urban Tree Canopy Assessment studies and the Kailua Water Quality rain garden project at American Saving Bank and was a part of the research team looking at the effects before and after the installment of the rain garden. He has also worked as a Citizen Forester since the project’s formation in 2016.
Wai earned his BS, MBA and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Shannon Noelle Rivera- Project Consultant
Shannon Noelle Rivera is a staff Project Consultant at Smart Trees Pacific and the Community Partnership Coordinator with the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program. She is project coordinator for the award-winning Citizen Forester Program and manages the state of Hawaii’s TreeCityUSA program. Focused on conservation, Shannon is interested in the connections between wildlife and our urban ʻāina. She sits on the board for Society for Conservation Biology Oceania working within Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia; is a founding and current board member for the Society’s Hawaiʻi Chapter; and is a member of the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance Nāhululeihiwakuipapa Next-Gen Committee.
Shannon holds a Master of Science from the University of Winchester where her research examined confiscations from the illegal wildlife trade, and two B.A.s from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Environmental Studies and Gender & Conflict Resolution, respectively; with minors in Zoology, Peace Studies, and Dance. Her undergraduate research was with the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Ecology Lab within the Natural Resource and Environmental Management Department examining the management practice of assisted colonization.
Pia Ruisi-Besares – Project Consultant
Pia Ruisi-Besares is a staff Project Consultant with Smart Trees Pacific and project coordinator for the Hoʻolāʻau Community Tree Planting Project. She is broadly interested in ecosystem function and the ecological interactions that impact watershed health. Pia has worked in diverse communities across the U.S. and abroad with a focus on field-based restoration of native flora. In her previous role, Pia worked with the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa where she helped to curate, survey, and interpret a rich living collection of tropical trees.
Pia recently completed a Master of Science in the Natural Resource and Environmental Management Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where her research examines best practices to increase restoration success of an endangered Hawaiian plant species. Pia holds a B.A. in Environmental Science with a minor in Plant Biology from Skidmore College in New York State.
Jolie Goldenetz Dollar – Project Consultant
Jolie Goldenetz Dollar is a staff Project Consultant at Smart Trees Pacific. She is an ISA Certified Arborist holding the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification, and a Certified Wildlife Biologist. Her past work experience ranges from being a Research Forester at American Samoa Community College to being a Pollinator Habitat Restoration Specialist with the non-profit The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Jolie holds a B.S. from University of California, Davis, in International Agricultural Development, a M.S. from University of Arizona in Natural Resources Management, and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in Forest Resources with an emphasis in Wildlife Habitat and Management. In her free time, Jolie enjoys hiking, gardening, and reading.
Kate Wiechmann – Project Consultant
Jenn Clark – Administrative Support
Interested in joining our team? Check out current opportunities.