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Research and Development Management Staff

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Director Diane L. LeyDirector: Diane L. Ley

Diane L. Ley is the Director of the Department of Research and Development for the County of Hawai‘i where she oversees the delivery of programs and services that enhance the quality of life and sustainability of Hawai‘i Island communities through leadership in the areas of energy, agriculture, tourism, economic and community development, film and immigration.

Diane previously served as the State Executive Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Basin, the Deputy Director of the County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Research and Development and as the Deputy to the Chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. She operated a vegetable farm in Volcano and has served roles with the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation and the Hilo Main Street Program.

RileyDeputy Director: Riley Saito

Riley Saito serves as the Deputy Director of the Department of Research and Development.

Riley previously served as Corporate Controller, Vice President at Mauna lani Resort Operations, Inc., Senior Manager of Hawai‘i Projects for SunPower Corporation, and Manager/Member of Succeed Hawai‘i, LLC.

Riley graduated from University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a Bachelor of Business Administration - BBA, Business Administration and Management, General-Travel Industry Management. 

Private Secretary Nicole CharonPrivate Secretary: Nicole Charon

Nicole Charon serves as the Private Secretary to the Director of the Department of Research and Development. She organizes and coordinates administrative matters and performs various duties for the department.

Nicole was born and raised on Hawai‘i Island. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Before joining the County, Nicole worked at Floral Resources Hawaii, where she gained over 10 years of administrative and accounting experience. Prior to being appointed as Private Secretary, Nicole was the Administrative Assistant for the department.