Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today he has named Mark Yonamine as his nominee as the city’s next director of the Department of Design and Construction.
He replaces Robert Kroning, who served the city five years and is returning to Europe where he and his wife previously lived.
Yonamine will serve as acting director pending confirmation by the Honolulu City Council.
“Robert made a huge difference for the people of the City and County of Honolulu during his time at the Department of Design and Construction and really moved the needle forward on this administration’s focus on infrastructure,” said Caldwell in a news release.
Kroning began his position in September 2014 and was instrumental in completing the Kaneohe-Kailua sewer tunnel and hundreds of millions of dollars in repaving contracts. He also engineered the move of the Kapalama satellite city hall to the new Kapalama Hale — on Dillingham and Boulevard and Alakawa Street — from City Square where it had been for decades.
Kroning was also in the middle of the firestorms surrounding some of the city’s most controversial projects — including planned improvements at Ala Moana Regional Park and, most recently, the city’s decision to renovate the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.
And he disagreed with Council members who insisted that health issues in the aging Honolulu Hale required them to relocate, at least temporarily, to Alii Place downtown.
Meanwhile, Caldwell said, “The city is extremely lucky that Mark Yonamine has agreed to lead the department in a seamless transition that ensures the city’s infrastructure projects will progress in an expeditious manner during the coming year.”
Yonamine, a civil engineer and an ‘Iolani School and University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate, was most recently the department’s deputy director, a position he held for more than six years.
The city’s search for Yonamine’s replacement as deputy director is ongoing, city officials said.