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Kauai spokeswoman to join agribusiness firm

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A Kauai County spokes­woman is headed for a new job as community outreach manager for global agribusiness company Syngenta.

Beth Tokioka’s last day with the county will be Monday. She starts a week later at Syngenta on Kauai.

She’ll have the same position at Syngenta that was previously held by Kauai Economic Development Board President and CEO Tai Kaneko.

Tokioka, 52, said her decision to join Syngenta is based on a desire to bolster the island’s agricultural industry. She said that passion stems from her working to create the county’s Kauai Made program during her time with the Office of Economic Development.

"I didn’t grow up on a farm, but through this experience and getting to know people in agriculture on Kauai, I always felt like I wanted to help to create a more robust and thriving agricultural sector on the island," she said.

Syngenta Hawaii spokes­man Mark Phillipson says the company is thrilled to have her highly regarded expertise.

Tokioka began working at the county in 1994 as then-Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s executive secretary, Lihue newspaper The Garden Island reported Monday. That’s when the island when was still recovering from Hurricane Iniki.

Tokioka had just moved to Kauai when the hurricane struck in 1992, and she was working as an associate sales manager at the former Hyatt Regency Kauai.

After serving as Kusaka’s executive secretary for four years, Toki­oka became the county’s sole public information officer when Kusaka was re-elected in 1998. In 2002 then-Mayor Bryan Baptiste picked Toki­oka to become the county’s Office of Economic Development director.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. tapped her as communication director during his first term in 2008.

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