We aim to turn problems into solutions.
The Albizia Project was founded in 2016 to develop innovative uses of the prolific invasive albizia tree, and to support native ecosystem restoration across the Hawaiian Islands.
Building with albizia wood so that we can replace these problematic trees with native trees could forge pathways to a circular economy for Hawaiʻi. It can lessen our dependence on imports, sequester carbon, and help to restore native forests.
Our approach seeds a more responsible building systems that can reduce environmental impacts through holistic and regenerative design.
Joseph Valenti is Founder of the Albizia Project and leads the team in developing innovative solutions in response to socio-ecological issues identified across Hawaiʻi.
In 2016 he earned his Doctorate degree in Architecture from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). His research investigated the state’s low-value forest resources to develop an innovative building system that utilizes the prolific invasive albizia tree. The project was awarded funding from UHM, Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation, and the U.S. Forest Service to build the Albizia Project’s first full-scale prototype.
Joseph has since partnered with Hawaiʻi’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife and was awarded the 2018 U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant to initiate the statewide Hawaiʻi Wood Utilization Team (HWUT). Alongside his role as Director of HWUT, Joseph continues to pursue his passion in material innovation and regenerative design. He crafts new products in support of the Albizia Project while weaving together multi-sector networks to strengthen supply chains and markets for Hawaiʻi’s wood industry.
Matthew Kamakani Lynch is Co-founder of the Albizia Project and advises its leadership team on Regenerative Enterprise Design.
After barely surviving a 10-year career in mortgage banking and real estate finance which culminated in the global financial crisis of 2008, Matt has worked to atone for the excesses and extractive practices he contributed to during his time working in financial services.
He has since worked in a broad range of community-based sustainable development projects over the last decade in Hawaiʻi, Laos, Mongolia, Vanuatu, and Australia, including building rural community resilience through farmer trainings, regenerative economic development, and catalyzing institutional change through policy work and collaborative leadership.
Matthew currently serves as the Director of Sustainability Initiatives for the ten-campus system of the University of Hawaiʻi, as well as serving as President of the Board of Directors for Kahumana Organic Farm, and Sustainability Measures Co-Chair for Hawaii Green Growth.
Christine Johnson is the Financial Controller and Marketing Manager for The Albizia Project.
Her experience in finance and retail has taken her from the back offices of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant, to the front offices for some of Honolulu’s top accounting firms.
Christine earned her Bachelors in Accounting and International Business from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Shidler College of Business, and also serves as Retail Operations & Communications Leader for Honolulu Coffee.