Meet the Team
Phil Hahn – Founder/President: Phil always dreamed of the tropics while growing up in Michigan. He started his southerly migration in 1982 by attending Florida State University. At FSU he studied Interior Design and Housing. Prior to graduation, he started a residential design business that ultimately designed over 6,000 homes and expanded into construction and development.
Phil received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University, is certified by the Institute of Classical Architecture and is President of the American Chamber of Commerce – Belize.
In 2003, Phil saw the potential for development in Belize and purchased 115 acres for the development of Orchid Bay, a “New Urbanism” community. Combining his experience with coastal home design and his love of classical architecture, he created an evocative new Caribbean town. Over the years, he continued to increase his Belize land holdings and in 2007 Co-Founded Great Land Holdings (GLH), which grew to include multiple properties (over 5,000 acres) throughout northern and western Belize. In 2010, Phil sold his ownership in GLH to his former partners and turned his attention to western Belize and an exciting new vision.
Phil is currently developing Carmelita Gardens, an off-grid gardening community located on the Belize River in the Caribbean Heartland (Cayo District, Belize). Many esteemed architects and land planners are now talking about and planning “New Ruralism”, “Agricultural Urbanism” and “Sustainable” communities. Phil recognizes that there is a new movement afoot – one that emphasizes independence and self-sufficiency – reminiscent of how successful frontier towns were built. Just as the New Urbanism movement started at Seaside, Florida in 1981; Carmelita Gardens has the potential to be the first community of a new movement, where people can – as Phil says – be “Independent Together”.
Tim Parr – Operations Manager: Making the move down on July 1st, 2013 Tim has already been swept into the adventure of Belize. With three adult children “out of the nest” Tim found himself ready to try something new. He saw an opportunity to engage in an exciting career change as well as work with Phil Hahn, who has been a good friend of Tim’s for twenty plus years. He packed up and, with the help of his 4 year old yellow lab Lucy, flew down to live at Carmelita Gardens in Belize. Tim was born in Wyoming, raised in Nebraska, and moved his family down to Florida .
Tim worked as the General Manager for a prominent BBQ restaurant chain for eighteen years; running five different locations, including the top volume store in the chain. Tim worked as the head chef at a large independent restaurant as well as opening his own cafeteria style restaurant. Needless to say after 35 years in the food service industry he has gained invaluable experience that will carry him into the future regardless of his job description. As a regular hunter in Nebraska, Tim became a member of Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.
For Tim the bottom line is that people and their abilities are the difference between success or failure in business. He feels that the truly successful business owners recognize this and surround themselves with quality, like-minded people at all levels, all with a common goal. He believes in the Carmelita project and what we are trying to accomplish. We count ourselves lucky to have Tim, a genuine, hardworking, honest man, as a part of our team.
Karen Hahn – Sales Associate: Karen Hahn has been part of Carmelita Gardens from its inception and is currently a key member of the Sales Team. Her first introduction to Belize was with her husband, Phil Hahn, in 2003 when they purchased 115 acres in northern Belize. On her first visit, she toured northern Belize, the islands and finally Cayo, in western Belize. Upon arriving in Cayo, Karen remembers looking out over the Belize River Valley and exclaiming to Phil, “Now this speaks to me!”
Since that first trip to Belize, Karen has focused on her family and gets back to Cayo as often as possible. Karen shares a true wanderlust with Phil and the children and they love to travel as a family. It was that wanderlust that led Karen to her position as a Flight Attendant. She was hired by Delta Air Lines in 1986 and retired in 2008 after a fulfilling 22 year career. While working for DAL, Karen also sold Jafra Cosmetics as an independent representative. Over the years she has continued to do volunteer work for St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida. Karen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Florida State University, with a minor in Housing Design.
Karen comes from a long line of pioneers from the Bahamas, Key West and now Belize. She was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida where she still “holds down the fort”. Bringing her years of customer interfacing experience and keen eye for detail, we are so glad to have Karen as a member of the Carmelita family.
Wade Hahn – Marketing Associate: Wade began working full time with Carmelita Gardens in May. Although he is one of our youngest members, Wade has been involved with Belize for close to ten years. As the son of Carmelita creator Phil Hahn, Wade has been able to watch the evolution of Carmelita Gardens from a simple idea to the developing community it’s become today.
Wade took his first step onto Belizian soil in 2004. As an 8th grader, he took the year off from public school to home-school with his father. Trips to Belize, experiencing the lush climate and unique culture, were only part of his education. From a young age, Wade has had many experiences that have shaped him into the man he is today, instilling a drive for adventure and a passion for learning and seeing new things. He has worked as a server in two busy Orlando restaurants, was accepted to the Florida State University Film School, received the rank of Eagle Scout in 2009, and worked countless hours with a handful of non-profit organizations. He grew up in the youth group at St. Paul’s UMC and is excited to give back as an adult leader. Wade has worked with the American Chamber of Commerce in Belize, providing promotional material for various events. Wade’s passion lies in film and is also working towards a career in the industry, having worked as a Camera PA and then a Second Assistant Camera on a two “made-for-TV” films for the SciFi Channel. Wade brings a youthful, engaging personality and a truly artistic energy to Carmelita Gardens and we are happy to have him.
Amma Carey – Marketing/Sales Consultant: Amma Carey joins the Carmelita Gardens Sales Team as an experienced Belize Real Estate Consultant. She is also the author of Live and Invest in Belize 2010 and is on the Board of Directors for the American Chamber of Commerce – Belize (AMCHAM). All these roles allow her to do what she enjoys most, introducing people to the quaint country she has come to know and love.
Amma fell in love with Belize in 2007, when she became a sales and marketing representative for Orchid Bay, Belize. She moved to Northern Belize where she liaised with the Belize Tourism and Industry Association, lead property tours and “held down the fort” as the company’s only full-time expat. That experience provided Amma with invaluable working knowledge of the Belize real estate industry. In 2010, Amma began providing sales, marketing and development consulting services to new and existing companies. Her clients include; Orchid Bay, Sanctuary Belize, Live and Invest Overseas, Cahal Pech, Mahogany Park, Carmelita Gardens and her own project – Maya Spring Estates.
Amma graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, but the training that equally equipped her for life in Belize began well before college. Amma grew up in a waterfront community in Florida and spent her summers aboard a boat in the Bahamas. Amma and her sisters had their own boat, and Amma was spearing fish at an age when many kids are learning to ride a bike. Little did she know it was preparation for her Belize Boat Master’s License – “Welcome Aboard”!
“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
- Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach and Hall of Fame Legend