Our Team

Michael Hensel

Michael Hensel

Founder & President

"Being able to make a positive impact on others while doing what I love means happiness and fulfillment to me."

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Tamie Tran

Tamie Tran

General Manager

Tamie Tran is a passionate humanitarian who has dedicated her career to helping the lives of those in need. A graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, her background is in Environmental Economics and Finance.
Tamie is excited to continue towards this aim with her involvement in the Koya Project. A strong supporter of human rights and educational opportunity, her life purpose is to improve the lives of others and to make a positive impact on the world.

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Richard Peters

Richard Peters

Legal Affairs

Richard Peters is lawyer and accountant by background and a serial entrepreneur by trade. He has acted as founder in both e-commerce and brick and mortar businesses with a specialization in business development, strategy and early stage growth. His most recent venture is founding The Hive, a successful restaurant concept in Santa Monica, which generated $1m+ in revenue within its first year. Richard is still active as an attorney in the state of California specializing in contracts and business law.

As a born and raised South African, Richard has a deep understanding of what challenges we face with food shortages and how devasting it can be. Richard hopes to bring this passion to the Koya Project to help serve these underprivileged people around the World.

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Priscilla Llorenz

Priscilla Llorenz

Project Manager

Priscilla Llorenz is an entrepreneur, humanitarian, and psychologist, specializing in overall strategy, implementation, and commercialization of new products and small to midsize companies. Growing up in Tijuana, Priscilla witnessed first hand the devastating effects of poverty on her community and has made it one of her life’s goals to make a difference and improve quality of life for children in Mexico and around the globe. She currently channels her passion for helping others as a volunteer empowering children victims of domestic violence but sees that there is much more to be done. Through Koya, Priscilla is combining her professional expertise with her passion for making a difference by empowering underprivileged communities with the knowledge and tools to bring them one step closer to self-sufficiency.

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Shafi Karim

Shafi Karim

Senior Vice President, Marketing

Shafi Karim is best known for his genuine yearn to translate his entrepreneurial spirit into the non-profit sector, supporting initiatives dedicated to the development of impoverished communities across the world.

He also serves as the President of Aquaponics Design Company (ADC), a business specializing in the design and construction of self-sustaining indoor/outdoor aquarium gardens for the home or boutique hotel – with 20% of all projects donated directly to Koya Project. Shafi also heads Marketing efforts at Avisare, a Los Angeles based SaaS GovTech company focused on modernizing procurement processes, while connecting government agencies with the vendors and small businesses necessary to complete large scale environmentally sustainable projects.

A Wildcat from the University of Arizona, Shafi has experience in a diverse range of verticals including: advertising, branding, marketing, sports media, public relations, psychology, biology, research, business development, corporate partnerships and hospitality.

Fluent in Bengali and a student of Spanish, Shafi is dedicated to expanding Koya Project’s outreach worldwide based on the core principles of empowering whole communities and paying the knowledge forward.

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Jacob Guse

Jacob Guse

Art Director

Jacob Guse is a passionate designer and outdoor lover who believes in simple and functional design. After 8 years of working in the tourism business for one company he decided to quit his job and travel around, meet people with visions and design the world his way – Always looking for projects which not only match his interests, but also telling an authentic story and helps him give something back. He believes that the Kōya Project will bring a positive change for underprivileged people in communities with limited food distribution and lack of water. Jacob joined the Kōya Project to make sure, that it gets the unique design which it deserves. Because a good project combined with a good design will make more difference – and therefore the world more beautiful.

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Marc-Henri R Michaux

Marc-Henri R Michaux

Business Strategy

Marc-Henri is a seasoned strategy consultant with over 15 years of global experience in business development, delivering tailor-made analytics and designing/ implementing fact-based strategies. He has worked in many industries (Financial Services, Real Estate, Entertainment, Food, Cosmetics, Apparel & Other Consumer Products ) and countries (United States, Brazil, Mexico, China, France, South Africa, the Middle East…). Marc-Henri graduated from a French Ivy League school (Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Mines-E94) before joining Mars & Co Consulting (a spin off of the Boston Consulting Group). More recently, he has contributed to significantly reduce the delinquent mortgage portfolio at Bank of America helping the bank keeping people in their homes. He speaks fluently English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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Jorge Rico

Jorge Rico

Project Manager & Aquaponics Designer

Jorge’s background is in sustainability management, responsible tourism, renewable energy and aquaponics design, all of which brings to his role a wholistic approach to support different communities with different interests.
His current activities for Koya Project include:
1. The implementation of phase two of the ‘Little Hearts’ aquaponics project near the banks of the Mekong river in Tuol Meas village.
2. Design and installation of an aquaponics system at ‘Light of mercy’ home for disabled youth in Phnom Penh, where he is training blind and deaf young people on how to raise fish and grow their own organic vegetables. This project has focused on using only recycled and locally available materials, and has the potential to benefit a number of families and the communities of the young people participating in the project.
3. Feasibility studies for commercial aquaponics community (cooperative) farms in Cambodia.

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Ermine Norodom

Ermine Norodom

Koya Project Godmother & Ambassador

Humble, kind, funny and generous. These are a just a few words to describe Princess Ermine Norodom of the kingdom of Cambodia.

Ermine has been instrumental in helping the koya project make a footprint in Cambodia. She has opened doors, seamlessly linking our project to the right people and places for maximum impact.
All because she believes in us and what we do. It is people like Ermine that enable us to achieve our mission of tackling world hunger one community at a time.
When she’s not creating prosperous partnerships, Ermine runs her own charity called Shanty Town Spirit (INSERT LINK). She tirelessly champions the cause of slum communities in and around Phnom Penh, supporting those who would otherwise be forgotten with access to essential education and healthcare.
In a world often filled with self-important narcissists, Ermine is a beacon of hope for the poor, the hungry, the sick and the uneducated. It is through her own empowerment she sets the tone for inspiring empowerment in others. By helping to meet some of the basic needs of the poor, she builds the platform for children and their families to aspire to reach for their goals and dreams.

For Ermine, education is the fundamental key to transcending poverty. If one family member can get an education or technical training, then they have a greater chance of obtaining a better job and a higher wage, and hence a better quality life.

We are very grateful to Ermine for all her support and encouragement. You are an inspiration and remind us to keep striving to be better versions of ourselves. You show us that one person truly can make a phenomenal difference in the lives of so many.

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Chris Martin

Chris Martin

International Youth Ambassador

As a dedicated leader and professional role model through his work in the non-profit sector, Koya Project is proud to appoint Christopher Martin as an International Youth Ambassador.Christopher is the youngest ambassador for the Koya project with a passion for helping others. Koya Project is a California-based non-profit, focused on empowering children across the world by using sustainable aquaponics farming practices to solve food shortages, improve nutrition, and create a disciple culture to educate and build a positive future for those in marginalized communities. Christopher will utilize his talents and play a critical role to raise awareness, advocate, and fundraise on behalf of the Koya Project.
Christopher has a history of donating to soup kitchen’s both in the West Coast and East Coast. He has been involved in helping individuals in the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy. Christopher created “Swim for the Cure” a charity to help children with cancer.
Christopher believes every child should have a chance for a healthy and happy life.
Christopher does not see a limit to the possibilities in helping others. He is compassionate and has an enormous amount of empathy for others especially those less fortunate. Christopher is a young humanitarian with a benevolent heart.

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