Juan is a cacao and forest manager who resides between the San Francisco Bay Area and Guatemala. He is a third-generation farmer and the owner of an award winning agro-forestry project on Guatemala’s Caribbean where he collects and plants heirloom cacao and endangered tropical hardwood trees. He is a staunch environmentalist and a firm believer that the dominant timber & cacao investment model can be improved as an investment and for environmental benefits. Juan enjoys working directly with chocolate makers and fine woodworkers, many of whom visit his projects in Izabal. He co-founded the management company Izabal Agro Forest which in 2014 won the “Best Forestry Plantation” award administered by the ITTO in recognition of its unique forest management approach. He takes an active role in the Latin American forest and chocolate industry. He has consulted for institutional timber management companies in Panama, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Andrew worked for several years in international development with a focus on food security, production systems and agricultural marketing. Having grown jaded of the “development industry,” he was drawn to the emerging impact investing field and its potential to bring business tools to bear on important social and environmental issues. After completing an MBA in Madrid focused on social entrepreneurship, he relocated to Panama City in 2010 to work in investment management in the areas of forestry and renewable energies. During this period, he worked closely with a number of institutional timberland investors with projects throughout Central and South America. The experience served as an in-the-trenches apprenticeship culminating in the co-founding of Izabal Agro Forest. This brought him back full-circle to Guatemala after more than 15 years following a stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in the country’s highlands. While his grasp of Mayan Kaqchikel has become rusty in the intervening years, his passion for sustainable agricultural and forestry systems remains strong. He was born and raised in Berkeley, California.
Kyle is a forester and forest ecologist based in North America, but works in temperate and tropical forests globally on management and protected areas. His interests are in silviculture, harvest operations, identification and management of protected areas, and socioeconomic drivers of ecological forestry. He has worked in forests of North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Spain, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Japan.