Our team may be small, but we are mighty! The talented folks who make up our Big Island Pulse team—the heart and soul of our company—bring with them an impressive array of experience and diverse perspectives. We’re truly honored to have these passionate, fun-loving, hard-working, honest, and compassionate people (who love our community as much as you do) as part of our ʻohana. Learn more about us below!
Meet Our Awesome Team
Kristen "KT" Thario
Owner & Publisher | KT has been a Big Island Pulse supporter since its launch in 2013. She became a show host in 2017 and was grateful to be able to purchase the company in 2019!
KT was born and raised in San Diego, where she grew up in foster care and was later adopted into a loving and supportive family. She relocated to the Big Island in 2003 after finishing her BA in Fine Art. In 2004, she entered social work as a Youth Advocate, working islandwide to provide children and families with resources and stability.
In 2012, KT was diagnosed with a severe illness and was unfortunately forced to leave social work to focus on her treatments. During her journey of healing, she joined a global cellular health company, ASEA, that she is still a part of today.
In late 2013, KT re-entered the family business of real estate investing and property development. Shortly after, her passion for music and singing re-emerged and she became the lead singer for various rock n’ roll bands on the Big Island. As she gained popularity, she became “KT Sunshine,” for all the energy she brought to each performance!
In 2017, Big Island Pulse approached KT to host a travel show called “Passport to Adventure.” KT’s on-camera pizzaz led her to host several shows and interviews for the company until 2019, when she transitioned from on-camera personality to proud owner of BigIslandPulse.com.
Editor-in-Chief | Laurie curates engaging, locally focused content for our readers, including articles, newsletters, and social media, and helps to manage our other writers and contributors.
Laurie Lyons-Makaimoku relocated to Hawaiʻi Island from Austin in 2016, looking for a temporary change of pace. After falling in love with the island (and one of its inhabitants), she ended up permanently relocating. Since then, she’s spent time developing an appreciation for Hawaiʻi’s places, culture, and people.
She now shares her home in Orchidland with her husband, toddler, stepdaughter, and 20 rescue animals. In her free time, she serves on the Leadership Team of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Rangers, binge watches Netflix, and goes on as many 4WD adventures with her family as she can. Laurie holds a Bachelor’s in American Studies from the University of Texas and a Master’s in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University. When she’s not creating and editing content for BigIslandPulse.com she’s writing about travel for Fodors.com and her blog BigIsland.life.
Managing Director | Cody is our “systems nerd”—he enjoys creating workflows, coming up with partner- and task-management solutions, and administering the Big Island Pulse website.
Cody has a masters degree in Conservation from University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and a BA in Marine Science from Texas A&M—Corpus Christi. After graduating from UH in 2009, Cody spent some time on Oʻahu and the West Coast before returning to the Big Island in 2019. He enjoys hiking, snorkeling, photography, and spending time with friends and hanai family.
In addition to his role as our Managing Director, Cody is also Co-Founder of Big Island Made. He previously worked as a Legislative Aide in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature (2015-2016), Communications Coordinator for the Greater Seattle Business Association, and Community Manager with Seattle Good Business Network. He looks forward to helping small businesses to succeed on the Big Island in an effort to help localize Hawaiʻi’s economy.
Visual Communications Coordinator |
JD graces our social media feeds with his absolutely stunning nature photography, videos and funny, fresh content from around the island.
Born in Honolulu and raised in Kalapana, JD is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, with a background in technology, athletics, and education. He enjoys spending his free time hanging out with family, coaching, playing sports and working on growing his photography company, Prolific Hawaii LLC. JD coordinates the Pre-Health Career Corps Program on Hawai’i Island, a year-round education program under the Hilo Medical Center Foundation—the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) for the Big Island. In July 2020, JD and his wife Mililani became proud parents of a sweet baby girl, Maia! Congratulations!
Event Manager | Audrey assists us in finding and entering all of the many incredible events happening around Hawaiʻi Island and keeps our new-and-improved event calendar up to date and on point!
Audrey was born on the island of Oʻahu and raised on the west coast of the island in sunny Nānākuli Valley. Audrey enjoys traveling whenever she is able, having so far visited six other U.S. states. Audrey is a proud mother of four and stepmother to six beautiful children. In addition to being Event Manager for Big Island Pulse, she is currently enrolled at Ultimate Medical Academy and majoring in their Medical Billing and Coding Program. Audrey is a big fan of the outdoors—especially here on beautiful Hawaiʻi Island! She goes hiking, fishing, swimming, and gets “lost in nature” as often as she can.
Lovia Starry Publico
PulseTV Show Host | Lovia delights our viewers with her beauty, charm, and insight as she takes us along for the ride as the host of “Let’s Holo Holo” and other outstanding PulseTV programs!
Born in Kealakekua and raised in Kailua-Kona with four older brothers and three younger brothers, Lovia inevitably became a headstrong tomboy. Lovia has a deep love for the outdoors and ocean adventures, so you’ll typically find her beachside in her bikini with sandy feet and salty hair. Her daddy says, “if she’s not talking your ear off she’s either busy eating or sleeping!”
Lovia is a passionate daydreamer, which is why she is both Owner and Co-Creator of ʻOʻopu Kai Sunset, Ua Koko Tigerlily, Mana Ulu Breezy, and Piʻi Aliʻi Dreamer. She also works as the daily Operations Manager at Homesteads of Panaʻewa.
Administrative Assistant | With her knack for organization, Stacey helps us with various administrative tasks so the rest of the team can focus on bringing you great content.
Tiaré Kelikoaʻelakauai- kekai Tolzmann
Writer / Contributor | Tiare became a site contributor in July 2020, and offers our Windward-based office a fresh point of view and great content from the West side!
Tiaré is a freelance author and health advocate based in Kona. She is a lifelong resident of the Big Island, growing up in Kona.
Tiaré is a Hapa Hawaiian, being of mixed Native Hawaiian, Caucasian, and Asian ancestry. Tiaré is passionate about sharing stories with a local interest that make Hawaiian history and culture accessible to a wider audience.
As a young adult living with a physical disability, Tiaré has a vested interest in supporting the health and wellness of Big Island residents.
Sales Representative | Mike, with his experience and expertise in digital and social media marketing, assists us with bringing new partners on board.
Mike was born in Hilo, and spent most of his youth in Kailua-Kona. After graduating from Kealakehe High School, he attended University of Hawaiʻi and obtained his AAS in Hospitality and Tourism and BBA in Marketing & Management. He now resides with his wife, daughter, and son in Pāhoa.
While still a student at UH, he began his marketing and advertising career with a well-known realty magazine where he gained his first experience in sales with print and digital advertising.
After a few successful years in sales he was offered a position with a top health insurance company in the Customer Relations Department. He worked his way through multiple lines of business, and had become an asset to the department by advocating for members, pursuing contact quality, while identifying and creating solutions to areas of improvement.
Although he enjoyed his experience in Customer Relations he was offered an opportunity with a multi-media company and focused mostly on sales in digital and radio advertising, which helped him capitalize on his strengths in communication and marketing creativity. To be able to design an effective marketing strategy in today’s market is challenging, but with thorough industry research and effective communication he was able to consistently exceed client expectations and generate a positive Return On Investment (ROI).
Hearing of Mike’s success in digital and radio advertising from a potential client, we knew Mike would be a great fit for the team!