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Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative Welcomes Francis A. Wong as Board Chairman

HONOLULU, Dec. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI) is pleased to welcome Francis A. Wong as chairman of the board.  Born and raised in Hawaii, Wong is a graduate of St. Louis School, Georgetown College and holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C.  Throughout his career, he has established himself as a leader in law, resort development, politics and as an advocate for sustainability.  

Mr. Wong is the chairman of Genesis Hotel Development, LLC, a leading provider of corporate hotel development services with offices in California. He has developed and owned several hotels and resorts in Hawaii, California and Canada, in addition to working as a hospitality consultant to hotel properties in the U.S. and Canada.

Wong served as a named partner in the Hawaii law firm of Rice, Lee & Wong.  As an attorney, he represented several of Hawaii’s largest developers and was named in the first edition of “Best Lawyers in America” in 1983. His distinguished political career includes serving as a staff member for U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy and was in the Hawaii Legislature for 12 years.  As a State Senator, he is recognized as the legislative leader in the enactment of the Hawaii State Plan and the formation of the University of Hawaii Medical School and its West Oahu campus.

Mr. Wong has a passion for sustainability and was one of the founding members of the Council on Sustainability in British Columbia and the Palm Springs Institute for Sustainability at California State University, San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus.  He serves on several boards, including the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, which has given more than $800 million to charities since 1988. He previously served as chairman of both the Planning Commission and the Architectural and Landscape Committee of the City of Indian Wells, California.

“Francis brings a valuable breadth of sustainability, legal, political, and hospitality experience to HLRI.  We are so fortunate to have him at the helm of HLRI and are confident that his leadership will enable us to exceed our mission to reforest 1.3 million native and endemic trees throughout Hawaii,” said HLRI Executive Director Jeffrey Dunster.

“I am excited to be elected as Chairman,” said Wong, “and lead a team of exceptional individuals. With the considerable help of our sponsors, we have well-implemented our business plan and now have the technology to scale our business model globally.  Our future could not be more exciting and challenging.”

John Farias Jr. retires from his position of HLRI Board Chairman after five years, which serves as a capstone to his lifetime of public service to Hawaii and the environment. “John is a selfless, creative and generous individual and has been instrumental in making HLRI what it is today,” says Dunster.  “We are all so fortunate to have had him as chairman and sincerely thank him for his friendship and support.  He will be missed at HLRI and we all wish him a happy retirement.”

Since 2010, HLRI has reforested nearly half a million native and endemic trees on Oahu and the Island of Hawaii, promoting long-term forest health, carbon sequestration, ecosystem diversity, and unparalleled data collection for research and development. Each sponsored tree is individually tagged and can be tracked throughout its lifetime by visiting TreeTracker™ at findmy.LegacyTrees.org.

About HLRI: Through state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies, HLRI works with landowners to establish and preserve economically viable and sustainable endemic Hawaiian forests, protect endangered species, sequester carbon and recharge watersheds. HLRI’s Legacy Trees are sponsored by businesses and individuals, with a portion of proceeds donated to other charities worldwide. For more information, visit LegacyTrees.org

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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/8c056f2f-738c-46fa-be56-f005b121addc