With decades of experience in business, macadamia nuts, and product development, Schnitzler is deeply at home with the Trust’s mission to make agriculture in Hawai‘i sustainable, from crop and farmer to distribution and sales. Born in Michigan, Schnitzler came to Hawai‘i in 1976. After ten years in retail management, he wished to learn at ground level in Laupahoehoe’s sugar fields, but soon he worked as Vice President at Hawaiian Holiday Macadamia Nut Company, furthering macadamia nuts as a leading Hawai‘i crop. Eventually, at Mac Farms of Hawaii and then Kona Confections, which he co-owned, he became an expert in chocolate, as a stream of new value-added products entered the market under his guidance.
In 1994, Schnitzler and a business partner founded Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Company. They managed macadamia nut orchard contracts and built a processing plant on their newly acquired six-acre site in Kawaihae. When Ed Olson partnered with Schnitzler, in 2009, Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Company found the boost it needed to rapidly emerge as a model educational, profitable enterprise, where agriculture, economy, tourism, and the wellbeing of Hawai‘i merge. With the energy of the Trust fully behind him, Schnitzler is more dedicated than ever to the viability of macadamia nuts as a high-quality and uniquely Hawai‘i farm crop for the sake of Hawai‘i and its farmers.
Serving as President for Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Company, he is responsible for all the company’s operations. A Vietnam Veteran, Schnitzler has continued his deep commitment to the community throughout, serving on the Boards of the Brantley Center, Pāpa‘ikou Farms Association, Pu‘ueo Farms Association, State of Hawai‘i Small Business Regulatory Review Board, Hawaii Pacific Export Council, and Hawai‘i Macadamia Nut Association. President of the Hāmākua Jaycees, Schnitzler is also a member of the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau.