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Wednesday, April 16, 2014         

Name in the News Premium

Richard Rosenblum, 63, was "a very happy fella" in retirement on Hawaii island in 2008 when a recruiter happened along and pitched a new job opportunity to him: president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Co.

The Blood Bank of Hawaii is not at the forefront of changes that make it easier for people to donate blood, and that's by design. Medical Director Dr. Randal Covin describes the center as "very conservative" in its approach, with the safety of blood donors and the patients who receive their lifesaving gifts of foremost concern.

Simeon Acoba Jr. is the latest victim of a Hawaii law that forces judges to retire at age 70, but he's actually OK with that. "That is what the law is, and that's something I basically accept," said Acoba.

The ocean has been part of Andrew Rossiter's life, practically from the day he was born. Rossiter, the director of the Waikiki Aquarium, grew up in Wales, "from the side where if you go 100 yards, you're in the Irish Sea," where he and his mates would go diving for fun.

Tom Yamachika was as surprised as anyone when Lowell Kalapa, the widely known, respected and liked president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, died in December at age 64.

John Holzman, who is departing from the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, has been sitting at that table for all of the most turbulent, headline-grabbing episodes.

Just about every good thing in life starts with a deep-rooted sense of community, to John Reppun's way of thinking. His large extended family is synonymous with the preservation of a sustainable, productive, rural lifestyle on Windward Oahu.

Dr. Christopher Happy has been on the job as Honolulu's chief medical examiner since late November and already he can tell you that some changes at the city morgue in Iwilei are going to have to be made soon.

The ironic element in Corey Rosenlee's work life: The most outspoken advocate for air-conditioned classrooms in public schools, after years of teaching in a sweltering environment, now has one.

Georgenne "GG" Weisenfeld moved to Oahu from New York City six years ago seeking a better life for her family, which includes her husband and two children.

Teri Orton has been general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center technically for a month now, though actually she started on the job about two weeks before.

At an earlier stage in his working life, Doug Cole had a real estate license and learned more about development law while he was studying to be an attorney. So he knows all about blueprints.

Marti Townsend walks to work most days, a 30-minute trip from Makiki to her office on King Street that not only serves as good exercise but also keeps her connected to Honolulu's cityscape at the street level.

Gordon Ito, insurance commissioner for the state of Hawaii, has an inbox filled with all matters relating to regulating insurance in the islands, with the exception of paying workers' compensation benefits. Earlier this week, the Insurance Division released rate guides for health, homeowner and car policies, posting them online (cca.hawaii.gov/ins).

Bruce Kim signed on as executive director of the state Office of Consumer Protection in July 2011 and it's been a wild ride ever since.

Charles Totto, executive director of the Honolulu Ethics Commission, like any other attorney, recognizes the importance of precision where words are involved. The words that have been causing a clash between his staff and that of the city Corporation Counsel are "administratively attached."

David Lassner has spent much of his University of Hawaii career in the virtual world: Information technology, his specialty, is like that.

Alan Downer arrived early this month in the Kapolei offices of the State Historic Preservation Division, an agency that has been under the gun over the past several years.

Diane Ragone laughed at the suggestion that the legendary Johnny Appleseed might be her role model, but the parallel is hard to ignore: Nurseryman Johnny Appleseed, aka John Chapman, traveled the North America continent in the late 1700s to encourage the propagation of apple trees.

Christopher Chun's job as executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association keeps him immersed in sports all year round, one of the many things he loves about his job at the nonprofit organization, which helps nearly 100 public and private schools engage student-athletes in healthy competition and ensures that they have the opportunity to compete in state-level tournaments in a diverse array of sports.

Dennis Brown is the longest-serving president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii, with 15 years at the helm and years doing other social service work. Even his graduate degree in urban planning had a focus on social program planning and administration.

Sheri Sakamoto joined Retail Merchants of Hawaii as its president in July with clear ideas about what she wanted to accomplish. "I'm hoping I can help educate everyone about the impact that retailers make on our economy as a whole," Sakamoto said Tuesday. "I don't think a lot of people understand that."

Geologist Chip Fletcher loves what he does so much it's hard to know where the work ends and hobbies begin. He loves being around the ocean and shoreline — he lives near Kailua Beach with his family — so if the research puts him offshore with students to collect core samples, he'll never complain.

Considering how long the debate and planning for rail have gone on already, Harrison Rue could be seen as coming in at one of the later chapters of the saga.

Yong Zhao is no fan of the Common Core standards. Why risk the very traits that made America great — ingenuity, confidence and entrepreneurial zeal — in a quest for conformity in U.S. public schools?

Clare Hanusz is one of Hawaii's better known immigration attorneys and advocates, thanks partly to her involvement in a criminal case that ended in 2011 against the owners of a local farming company accused of illegally importing and abusing dozens of farm workers from Thailand.

In 15 years of running JobQuest Hawaii, the state’s largest employment fair, Beth Busch has seen and heard just about every job-hunting circumstance.

Founding a public charter school in Waimanalo with legendary Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson brings Robert Witt full circle in his own educational journey.

Sherry Menor-McNamara achieved several milestones when she became president of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii at the beginning of September — both for herself and the venerable 162-year-old business organization.

After a globe-trotting career, both as a naval officer and in his profession of animal care, Jeffrey Mahon's latest post offers a kind of homecoming.

Ernest Lau is in a position to see aspects of Oahu's water supply the rest of us would rather miss: lines running through old communities, right beneath the sidewalks; exposed water pipes showing a level of corrosion that surely signals a break ahead.

Wanting to become involved in organized labor as "tools of Hawaii's people," Eric Gill dropped out of college after one year and chose a job as a hotel dishwasher as the deliberate avenue toward union leadership.

Randall Roth has been a "name in the news" in Hawaii for a long time, most recently as a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city's $5.2 billion rail transit system, currently before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. A decision is expected any day now, including on whether it is even within that court's jurisdiction to decide on it just yet.

Rich Bettini never envisioned a professional career in Hawaii. But one rainy day while he visited friends, an opening in Waianae caught his eye and the friends advised him it might be pleasant to check out a job some place where it likely was sunny.

Avery Chumbley says he didn't feel like a captain taking over the Titanic when he accepted the role as chairman of the financially beleaguered state hospital system in 2009.

The first thing visitors to Rockne Freitas' office notice is the spectacular koa desk, which has come with him on a few of his recent administrative postings.

Having settled in at a newly purchased central headquarters in Makiki, Catholic Charities Hawaii has launched a "Futures Campaign: Building a Bridge to Tomorrow," with a goal of raising $6.3 million over the next three years.

Within a year or so in downtown Honolulu, there will be a new $250,000 art piece dedicated to Hawaii's U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Sometime after that, there will be another $250,000 art piece honoring the late U.S. Rep. Patsy T. Mink.

Until Ray Soon urged him to apply as director, Atta hadn't really thought of leaving his job of 25 years at the planning and architectural firm Group 70 International, where he was a principal.

Sandra Dawson has been shepherding plans for the Thirty Meter Telescope through Hawaii's regulatory labyrinth for the past five years, and now, pending resolution of one last appeal, construction of the estimated $1.4 billion astronomy endeavor near the top of Mauna Kea is poised to begin.

Roger Morton is happy to show off the 21-acre Oahu Transit Services bus complex near Middle Street, recently expanded to position bus transfers near the planned Dillingham rail station.

Alicia Moy has started a new phase in her life in Hawaii in more ways than one. At 35, the recently appointed president and chief executive officer of Hawai‘iGas had overseen investments in the utility from New York where she worked for Macquarie Infrastructure Co., now the parent company.

A year after graduating from Princeton, Nicole Velasco was sitting at her job at a television and film production media office in New York City when she got an email in 2009 from a friend about "Furlough Fridays" in public schools in Hawaii.

The arts and international cultures come together in Eva Laird Smith's personal biography as well as her resume.

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.



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