Jim Howe had three career choices not long after returning to Hawaii with a bachelor's degree in econometrics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and spending a couple years working for Hyatt Hotels: Manage the dining room at the Waialae Country Club, work for First Federal Savings & Loan as its "IRA/Keogh guy," or become a lifeguard.
Raymond Vara, newly promoted to the top job at Hawai‘i Pacific Health, is bullish about the future of an industry in the midst of enormous change.
Departing prestigious Ohio State University at Columbus, Ohio, for Honolulu to take charge of the University of Hawaii's athletic programs was anything but easy for Ben Jay.
It's only been a few years since the city ended its hiatus from any housing agenda, an interval that lasted about two decades. Talk about your deferred maintenance.
The 60-year-old Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is about to embark on another deep-sea voyage aboard the traditional Hawaiian sailing vessel Hokule‘a, this time around the world.
Bishop Larry Silva, the first Hawaii-born man to hold that title, has had eight years to settle into his job as head of the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, and he does look settled.
Ken Love was a Chicago-based photographer stringing for The Associated Press on assignments in Asia when he stopped on Hawaii island on the way — and became so intrigued by the exotic agriculture that he bought some Kona coffee farmland in 1983.
Paul Kay carries two business cards. There's his white classic model with the blue Kamehameha Schools seal, identifying him as "director of real estate development, Commercial Real Estate Division, Endowment Group."
After working as a forensic accountant for three years upon earning a degree in accounting from Clemson University, Tom Simon became an FBI special agent 18 years ago at his hometown of Chicago.
J.P. Schmidt worked for years as the state insurance commissioner during the administration of Gov. Linda Lingle and made one of his primary goals the expansion of competitiveness among Hawaii's insurance carriers.
Walter Ritte has been a political activist in Hawaii for many decades, most recently as a leader in the movement against GMO (genetically modified organism) foods.
The Oahu Island Burial Council is part of a grassroots network created under state law to make sure someone with familial ties to the land is looking out for the iwi kupuna. They are the bones of the ancestors that are buried throughout the islands rather than sequestered behind fences in Western-style cemeteries.
Upon his graduation from the University of Hawaii, Edwin S.W. Young entered the auditing profession through the arm of Congress that investigates the performance of the federal government. Many years later, he has returned to Honolulu as the city auditor.
Darryl Vincent sees it every day in the faces of the homeless veterans who come through the doors of the shelters run by the U.S. Veterans Initiative. They need both professional help and moral support, and the ones best equipped to give them the latter are other veterans.
Kim Buffett never expected to become a police officer while growing up and attending Star of the Sea High School in Waialae-Kahala.
Carmille Lim, the newly appointed executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, has jumped into the deep end of democracy, starting at her new post just about when the Legislature convened.
Garrett McNamara of Waialua, Oahu, is on record as having ridden a larger wave than anyone else in the world, in 2011 in Nazare, Portugal, and unofficially he probably topped that record just last month at the same location.
There was a time when the name Mililani Trask brought to mind phrases such as "native sovereignty" and "Hawaiian activist." If anything, the term "development" was on top of the "don't" list for Mililani and her sister, Haunani-Kay Trask, an equally well known University of Hawaii professor.
As much a fixture in the state Capitol as the most senior representative or senator is John Radcliffe, who can be seen entering committee room after committee room to urge legislation on behalf of his numerous clients.
Carl Meyer is one of Hawaii's foremost marine biologists who has been studying sharks -- and shark attacks -- since moving here in 1993.
Fereidun Fesharaki’s condominium, overlooking Waikiki’s shoreline and Diamond Head, is evidence of his success. But it’s taken some years to achieve that, building his private consultancy since 1998.
One of the perks of M.R.C. Greenwood’s job is the office in Bachman Hall.
David Callies is one of Hawaii's leading experts on property law in Hawaii, so it carried some weight when he responded publicly recently to opponents of the state's new Public Land Development Corp., which the Legislature created in 2011 to develop state lands without having to go through the usual regulatory and public hearing processes.
A card from Lea Hong was among the many condolences sent to the family of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, and it acknowledged his leadership role in finding money for land conservation.
Eugene Tian went to work after college as an economist at the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and now, as Hawaii’s chief economist, expects that a state economist is what he’ll be for the rest of his career.
Randy Iwase, veteran of the state Senate and one-time gubernatorial candidate, has left politics but hasn’t strayed that far. He chairs the state Tax Review Commission, a panel assembled periodically to recommend tax-code changes to help the state cover its bills.
Mitch Kahle, founder of the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, has often been called “the Grinch who stole Christmas” for his efforts at making sure local governments don’t appear to be officially sanctioning religious practices or holidays, including, of course, Christmas. But Kahle doesn’t mind.
There's a lot more bound up in the "Merry Christmas!" greeting we toss off than many people know, says Marya Grambs, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii.
Lisa Maruyama is worried about the future of nonprofit organizations in Hawaii, especially as governments at every level look to trim their spending and boost revenues.
The state Capitol still must feel like a second home to Barbara Marumoto — she's only been retired officially for a few weeks — but her 19th District office is cleared out. The planter box in the rotunda courtyard served as the meeting place for an interview.
Cliff Slater is a determined man — determined to stop construction on Oahu of the 20-mile, $5.26 billion rail system that the city has been trying to build for almost 30 years.
Charles “Chip” McCreery’s quarters next to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is itself in a risky zone from giant waves — only five feet above and less than 1,000 feet away from the ocean along Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach.
It's helpful to have good eyesight when you work in elections at the Office of the City Clerk. Bernice Mau, Honolulu's city clerk, has a permanent staff of six in the agency's elections division, which hires a few dozen temps to get them through the election season.
For decades, said Rick Egged, Waikiki had been frozen in time, stuck in 1976. That’s when a set of rules was passed, laying down restrictions under the city’s Waikiki Special District ordinance (people in Egged’s line of work call it by its acronym: the WSD).
Colin Kippen sees Hawaii’s homelessness problem as a dartboard, with the central issue occupying the bull’s-eye spot, encircled by an array of wedge-shaped pieces leading into it.
While taking marketing classes at the University of Hawaii, Rebecca Ward recalls being “fascinated with the idea of trying to understand human behavior and describe it, which is what polling is.”
The Rev. Bob Nakata was wearing his clerical collar on the day of the interview this week — he had just come from a pastoral meeting — but that's usually not the dominant element in his daily wardrobe. In fact, he's worn several hats over the course of his career in social activism.
Amy Kunz is assistant superintendent and chief financial officer of the Hawaii Department of Education, which means her responsibilities each day are considerable.
Art Ushijima never could have envisioned 21st-century medicine when he first started in health care administration. That year was 1973, and the current chief executive officer of The Queen's Health Systems was fulfilling his ROTC duty.
Raymond Tanabe calls himself a weather geek, which is fitting since he’s director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, which provides hurricane forecasts and promotes disaster preparedness as well.
What George Szigeti brings to his new job as president and chief executive of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association is not so much experience on the room side of the room-and-board equation but a great deal on the food-and-beverage end.
Dwight Takamine has worked other sides of the labor equation so it surprises few that 20 months ago he landed the job as the director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
More than 16 years had passed since Rich Miano hung up his professional football jersey when an attorney-friend from New Jersey asked him to be a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit blaming the National Football League for serious head injuries to players.
Daniel Orodenker has been executive director of the state Land Use Commission for only a month or so, but the issues of land use are not new to him. For starters, he was born in Rhode Island, which as the smallest state in the union probably values land nearly as much as Hawaii does.
Beppie Shapiro has had an active life in Hawaii, both professionally and as … an activist! Now age 70, Shapiro is president of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, whose several hundred members are committed to “making democracy work” at all levels — county, state and federal.
Karen Street was getting a touch of cold feet when she was first named chairwoman of the new Hawaii Public Charter School Commission, the body standing at the helm of reforms to the state’s 32 charter schools.
Michael Kliks is upset about how little government has done to help local beekeepers during their recent hard times due to so-called colony-collapse disorder.
Ted Sakai had been retired for nearly seven years when the Abercrombie administration persuaded him to return as director of public safety to begin implementation of fundamental changes in Hawaii’s criminal justice system.
The lei display, only just starting to wilt, was still arrayed behind Ray L’Heureux’s desk. Around his neck hung a lanyard imprinted with “H-53 Heavy Lift,” one of the helicopters he flew in his three-decade career as a U.S. Marines pilot.
Hawaii’s public school system will drop the junior kindergarten grade at the end of the 2013-14 school year and make way for a publicly funded preschool network, following last month’s new law signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Kiersten Faulkner has been a force in historic preservation efforts in Hawaii since January 2006, after she moved here from Denver to become the executive director of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving Hawaii’s historic places.
The sun was shining on Saturday morning before Tom Apple’s inaugural, honeymoon first week as the new chancellor for University of Hawaii-Manoa.
The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been at the center of various levels of turmoil — from within and without — through three decades of its history.
Suzanne Jones, city recycling coordinator, started her job 22 years ago, and her two children grew up with it. Her daughter, for example, parroted the script of a recycling education play performed at schools, with the result that "recycle" was the first word she learned to spell.
Eugene Tiwanak is on a mission. His goal is to improve health care delivery to Hawaii's increasing number of elderly who wish to "age in place" — preferably in their own homes, but if not there, then in nursing homes or other facilities that are less costly and more comfortable than hospitals.
Some might say that Blake Oshiro has moved up in the world, in that he's now on the Capitol's fifth floor, having left the fourth-floor office he used as a member of the state House six months ago.
Expecting what its chairman, Richard Kahle Jr., forecast as a solid economy in the coming years, the state Council on Revenues gave state officials a green light in putting together a healthy two-year state budget.
Coral Andrews, the retired Navy captain, is sailing into what can be described as uncharted waters, at least for Hawaii. In physical terms, this translates into folding chairs, card tables and other elements of the temporary offices the new Hawaii Health Connector now occupies.
Donna Blanchard says she had always thought, ever since high school, that "there's more to art for me than just performance and entertainment" — and she found it here in Hawaii.
Steven Monder found Hawaii a welcoming community, the door flung wide open to welcome his guidance in forming the new Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. But for the moment, at least, the rooms behind that door are very sparsely furnished.
John White has been well known in local Democratic Party circles at least since 2001, when he was president of the Hawaii Young Democrats.
On his first day of work as the new rail project chief executive officer, Daniel Grabauskas said he placed a call to someone on the opposite side of the community divide on the project.
John Waihee thought back to his childhood, when the whole notion of Hawaiian sovereignty wasn't even part of the political conversation.
The Abercrombie administration was handed a setback Wednesday when a state Senate committee stripped provisions from a House-passed bill that would follow an ambitious initiative aimed at returning inmates on mainland prison facilities to the islands. But the state’s new Public Safety director retains her goal to revise prison policies.
Stephen Schatz' twin sons will be entering kindergarten this fall — "public school kindergarten," he affirmed — so the stake he has in the progress of Race to the Top reforms is a personal as well as professional one. And those results might not be fully measured for several years.
Roy K. Amemiya Jr., 56, has spent most of his professional life in banking and finance, so it was a significant career change when he joined ‘Olelo Community Media a year and a half ago.
The sides taken in the debate over the Ho‘opili project are well defined, and it comes down to how farming advocates weigh the residential and commercial development of 1,554 acres of prime farming land in Ewa.
While Wil Okabe was a football player at Waianae High School (class of 1970), or even when he was getting his degree to teach physical education, he probably figured exertions and strains would be part of his career landscape, but that they'd happen in the gym or on a ballfield someplace.
Alapaki Nahale-a became chairman of the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission in January 2011, and says it was "kind of shocking" to learn that he was the first chairman in its 100-year history to have been born and raised on Hawaiian Home lands, near Hilo.
Bert Y. Matsuoka did not apply for the job of chairman of the Hawaii Paroling Authority. He was asked by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to come out of state retirement to fill the role.
Dr. Linda Rosen has always juggled multiple functions as chief of the state’s EMS and Injury Prevention System Branch in the Department of Health. But in the last few months she’s added the role of traffic director to those functions, keeping an eye on how well Hawaii’s hospital network is managing its emergency-room workload.
There it is, through the window behind Patricia Mau-Shimizu's desk: the state Capitol building. The former chief clerk in the state House of Representatives left that post after 30 years.
Pamela Burns, president of the Hawaiian Humane Society, says you don’t have to believe in animal rights to care about animal welfare.
The most noticeable thing upon entering the director's office at the Executive Office on Aging is that there's no gray hair in sight. Instead there's Wesley Lum, who looks far younger than even his 40 years but who had accumulated significant experience in elder affairs before his appointment a year ago.
Marion Higa was an A-B-C person in a big way, long before she turned her attention to the 1-2-3 that has become her career as the state's auditor. It's hard to imagine, after almost 41 years working up the ranks of the analysts in her office to the top job about 20 years ago, that she once aspired to be a teacher, and that the bachelor's and master's degrees in Higa's pocket were both in education, specializing in English and social studies.
Some really great gifts don't fit beneath a Christmas tree. Suzanne Case, executive director of The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, got one of those in the waning days of the year: a donation of a 7-acre parcel on Hawaii island.
Stuart Ho wants you to know that Hawaii is likely in for a rough ride: A wave of seniors who will increasingly need long-term care is about to crash on its shores, and a commission legislatively created in 2008 that he chairs believes we are not prepared to handle its consequences.
The best Christmas gift James Koshiba would like to see from Hawaii may be no present, at least not a physical gift. Koshiba, 38, is executive director of Kanu Hawaii, a community-activism nonprofit with a focus on sustainability issues, founded in 2007.
Stephan Jost has been director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts since only May but already he has helped plan and implement major changes at the nonprofit institution, which was founded in 1922 by Anna Rice Cooke and now encompasses a wide range of collections, programs and facilities.
Q: Hawaii health insurance premiums are rising at nearly twice the rate of inflation, which is very frustrating. Can you explain what's causing that and what can be done?
Mark Glick moved to Hawaii from Texas in 2000 in search of a "higher quality of life." Now, as administrator of the State Energy Office -- part of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism -- he's trying to help the entire state achieve a higher quality of life by implementing policies aimed at Hawaii achieving 70 percent reliance on clean energy by 2030.
Dr. Linda Wong does not seek the spot on the business end of a camera but submitted to publicity in pursuit of one result: that people understand what the community will lose if Hawaii Medical Center shuts down.
On the wall of Hermina Morita's office across from the state library, there's a painting by Kapaa artist Sally French, a somewhat unsettling dreamscape of leaning utility poles, desktop computers, high-heeled shoes and yapping mad dogs. It once hung in the fellow Kauai resident's legislative office, where she held the House energy chair.
The past week — the past two years, really — the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, more officially called Leaders' Week, has consumed Peter Ho's attention, given his post as chairman of the APEC Host Committee.
The term "anchor" has taken on a different meaning for Kim Gennaula since she left TV news in 2008; now anchoring is more about bringing stability to Honolulu's nonprofits, which has been her main aim since taking over the top job at Aloha United Way.
ACLU-Hawaii, never an organization to shrink from controversy, is running toward it these days, arms wide open. The event, perhaps the highest-profile gathering in the local chapter's history, is November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, drawing heads of state and other leaders from 21 nations.
Practically the first place David Gierlach headed after stepping off the plane here 30 years ago was Hale Mohalu, the Pearl City residence for Hansen's disease patients targeted for demolition. Not long after that, he was in Chinatown joining in with the protest against evictions there.
Beth Fukumoto is interim chair of the Republican Party of Hawaii, yet she shares something in common with Hawaii's Democratic governor, Neil Abercrombie: They both majored in American studies at the University of Hawaii.
Kate Stanley has never been more than a stone's throw from Hawaii politics, even if it's been decades since her own last election. The hat she now wears -- succeeding Lloyd Nekoba as senior adviser in the administration of Gov. Neil Abercrombie -- is only the latest one.
Henk Rogers knows a little something about business, which is why he is among those scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s 2011 Hawaii Venture Capital Summit on what it takes to attract investment capital.
William Aila was a longtime harbor master at Waianae Small Boat Harbor and activist on Hawaiian cultural and environmental issues, best known for the conflict over military training in Makua Valley.
Everything, said Hakim Ouansafi, seems to happen for a purpose. Ouansafi is now 47 and very settled, both in his work as a hotel and condominium development consultant and in the role in which he is best known, as president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. But it took some wild winds to get him here, and now he’s in the habit of going with the flow.
The Rev. Sadrian "Brother Sage" Chee has endured more loss than most 50-year-old men should have experienced at this phase of their lives. He's pastor of the nondenominational Christian church Uhane Hemolele Piikea in Hauula, taking over the congregation from his father, who died last year.
Alvin F. Jardine III was set free recently after nearly 20 years behind bars; he had been wrongly identified as the man who raped a 25-year-old woman at her Maui home in 1992.
Dean Okimoto could be considered the godfather of farmers markets in Hawaii for his role in starting the immensely popular Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market, thereby boosting the "eat local" movement that brings locally grown foods to local tables and provides opportunities for many of the state's 800 or so farms that produce food.
Michael Nauyokas, labor lawyer and mediator, points to some of the framed thank-you notes and other keepsakes around his office, symbols of disputes he helped to resolve. People are sometimes so happy to have peace in the valley again, he said, that they send champagne and flowers.
Christy Martin, 42, finds her life intertwined with those of snakes, bugs, frogs, fungi, all manner of terrestrial creatures. Odd, considering that her degree was in marine biology.