John DeFries

Director, Department of Research and Development
Director, Department of Research and Development, Hawai'i County

In April 2016, Hawaii County Mayor, William Kenoi appointed John as Director, Department of Research and Development; whose mission is to enhance the quality of life, and sustainability of Hawai‘i Island communities through programs related to: agriculture, energy, tourism, economic development, community development, and film.  In this capacity, John served on the National Hawaii Host Committee for the IUCN World Conservation Congress which convened in Honolulu from September 1-10, 2016; with 10,000 participants from 193 countries.

John is the immediate past President of Friends of the Future which is headquartered in Waimea and Board Member Emeritus of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.  John is a graduate of Punahou School and he attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Born and raised in Waikiki, Oahu, John’s family ancestry can be traced from Kohala to Ka’u and he and his wife Ginny have resided in Kona for the past 25 years.


November 17, 2016
Hawaii’s Climate Change Challenge