2018 - 2019 APAEA Executive Committee


Irvin Fox-Fernandez (Washington Office)

I will forward my efforts I started as an EC member. My passions are recruiting and retaining FS employees and providing national support of FS APAs.

Executive Committee

Yiqiang (Kevin) Gu, (Region 6, Pacific Northwest Region)

I would like to continue to carry the torch forward for the work done by previous Chair and EC team on promoting diversity and inclusion within the agency. Having a diversified and inclusive workforce will create a better work environment for ourselves and enhance our ability to better serve the American public. The one area I would like to focus on is the API employee career development, leadership, and retention portion of our mission.
For those of you familiar with the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, that basically captured my experiences as a teenage in the US. I was born and raised in China, and came to the US in 2001. At the age of 12, I began working in my parent’s restaurant; school during the day and work in the restaurant at night. Although I learned a lot of valuable lessons by starting work at a young age and the lessons continued to help me to this day, I quickly realized that lifestyle may not be right for me. Since I’ve always been better at math growing up, I decided to study Civil Engineering in college. I received my BS in Civil Engineering from Oregon Institute of Technology in 2011. During my junior year of college, I was recruited into the Forest Service thru the SCEP program. I was very fortunate to have interned on the Olympic NF in R6 and was able to later be converted there permanently. A few years in, I decided to continue my education and obtained a MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington in 2016. About a month after, I got a job offer for an engineering position in the Pacific Southwest Region (R5) Regional Office. In my current position, I assist with engineering projects and trainings across the entire state. I just finished my 6th year with the forest service and the experiences along the way have been very rewarding.

Arvind Bhuta (Region 8, Southern Region)

I can contribute to developing and growing opportunities in outreach across the USDA, other agencies, and the public to enhance our mission.
I've been the Ecologist for the National Forests in Alabama with programmatic management over Ecology, Soil and Water, and Non-native Invasive plants for the last year and a half.  In addition to serving on the Executive Committee for the last two years, I have been working locally and in our region to expand the mission of APAEA and APA awareness. 

Anne Poopatanapong (Region 6, Pacific Northwest Region)

I will work on social media (FB), increase our exposure with Civil Rights, and expand membership exposure through an online network map. 
I'm a 20 year green-blood FS Wildlife Biologist! I have a B.S. and a M.S. in Wildlife Biology and have worked in R5 and R6. I've mentored SCEP, and undergrads/grads, which has been absolutely rewarding! APAEA has been a part of my career from the beginning and stay connected with APA colleagues for support and networking. I'm currently in the R6 RO helping to increase the APA voice here!

Hilda Kwan (Region 5)

I plan to continue my service as Heritage Project lead, and would like to use those skills and connections to further connect the Asian community with the Forest Service and all that we do. 
Hilda is currently District Hydrologist for the Upper Lake and Covelo Ranger Districts on the Mendocino National Forest in California. She has a B.S. in Forestry from Humboldt State University and M.S. in Hydrology from University of Nevada, Reno. She began her career as a SCEP (Student Career Employment Program) on the Sequoia National Forest where she converted to a full time Hydrologist. Being a hydrologist for the Forest Service has allowed her to work throughout California and the US; from providing technical expertise to support for various wildfire missions. District life have also allowed her to learn about other disciplines through wildlife surveys, archaeology excavations, fuels projects, range monitoring, and trail maintenance. Hilda has been involved with the APAEA working group and is currently the Heritage Project lead in R5, continuing to take the leadership role in coordinating with partners. She is interested in running for APAEA EC to work with other dedicated APA employees in the Forest Service.

Sam Wu (National Headquarters, Washington Office, Detached)

My skills in project management, access to business leaders as a MBA student, and experience organizing on the grassroots allow me to contribute.
Since 2007, Sam Wu has worked as a project leader at NTDP, maintaining specifications for firefighting equipment and managing national projects. After graduating from UC Berkeley, he taught English in China, designed HVAC systems in Houston, and served in the Peace Corps. He is currently a 2019 MBA candidate at UCLA. He is married to Ellen Shih and has a rambunctious 4-year old daughter, Amelia.