Keith Olson

Keith Olson

Chief Science Officer

Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA)

Kona, HI USA

Things are going to happen...but how you react to what’s happening is what’s most important.


By Roadtrip Nation

Keith Olson


My road in life took a while to figure out.
Grew up on Long Island, New York; says at the time, the possibility of someday living in Hawaii didn’t even cross his mind.
He knew he wanted to go to the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
But first, he went to Suffolk County Community College to save money; says community college taught him tons of life skills.
When he got to the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, he entered the paper science and engineering program.
After graduating, he moved to California and worked at a paper mill for several months, but decided it wasn’t for him.
He had many of the skill sets of a chemical engineer, so he ended up working for Chevron and the Berkeley Lab.
He and his wife decided to move to Hawaii; he couldn’t find a job so he became a forest ranger and built up his soft skills.
Now works at NELHA, an 870-acre ocean and science technology park; he also teaches yoga on the side!
Keep following my journey


Chief Science Officer

I run an environmental program pioneering ocean energy technologies and sustainable development.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

Students will see how job tasks don't always work out as planned and some of the biggest problems are not technical in nature...How you react to a problem determines your attitude. This will effect the direction you take and impact the result. Observing how people interact and solve problems in a work place can be a great value for a student.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Select a generic scientific area of interest to study (Chemistry, Biology, Engineering...) and master the basics. Then minor or take a class or two in computer programming.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"Your work needs to be perfect."

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation College Student

Interviewed By

Setting Course

Setting Course

Science, tech, engineering, arts, and math careers in Hawaii