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Island Inc. | Business briefs 8-19-13

Nominations of advocates for people with disabilities sought

The East Hawaii chapter of the Business Leadership Network is hosting its fourth annual Hoomohala Awards banquet to recognize and honor businesses who promote the hiring and advancement of employees with disabilities.

On Oct. 5, business leaders, employees, friends and supporters will celebrate the crowning of this year’s winners of the Hoomohala Awards at the Imiloa Astronomy Center. Business networking begins at 5:30 p.m. The dinner and awards ceremony start at 6:30 p.m. The event also offers a silent auction and live entertainment.

Mayor Billy Kenoi, business leaders and other luminaries are expected to attend this event. The mistress of ceremonies is Rhea Lee, a network member and HELCO administrative manager.

The public may nominating businesses that exemplify and advocate for the hiring and advancement of people with disabilities. There are four business categories: Small (with 1 to 50 employees); Medium (with 51 to 100 employees); Large (with more than 100 employees); and Government Employers. Nominations can be submitted by individual businesses, employees, disabilities advocates, or consumers who have experienced or witnessed a supportive work environment for all employees.

The deadline for nominations is Sept. 16. For more information, call Raymond Elia at 981-2860 ext. 228. The chapter is seeking corporate sponsors for the awards banquet. To learn more about corporate sponsorship, call Lee at 969-0273 or email

Chapter members include: Big Island Toyota, Hawaii Electric Light Co., Suisan Co. Ltd., Tradewinds Hawaiian Woods, Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hawaii Island Workforce & Economic Development Ohana, Puna Kamali I Flowers, PKF Document Shredding Services, Employment Network Hawaii, UH Center on Disability Studies, Hawaii County’s Department of Human Resources, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Workforce Development Division’s Hawaii Branch.

Credit union presents free seminar

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union will host “Trusts and Estate Planning,” a free educational seminar, at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 24 at the Kaloko location’s John Y. Iwane Credit Union Center Training Room.

Estate planning attorney Ethan Okura of Okura & Associates will discuss topics such as probate, conservatorship, estate taxes, nursing home costs and asset protection. He will also explain the differences between various types of trusts and their uses.

To register or for more information, contact the credit union’s call center at 930-7700 or Seating is limited.

Vendors of water cooler timers sought

Hawaii Energy, the energy efficiency and conservation program for Hawaii, Honolulu and Maui counties, is calling for vendors to participate in a new upstream water cooler timer business.

The offering, slated to launch this fall, will be available to businesses that are on commercial electricity rate schedules P, J or G.

“Our goal for this upcoming offering is two-fold,” said Ray Starling, the program’s director. “We want to promote simple, yet practical measures such as timer installations that can help businesses instantly achieve savings on their electric bills. Additionally, we hope that the adoption of energy-saving behaviors will extend from the workplace to households across the state.”

Many businesses have water coolers plugged in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A standard hot and cold water cooler can use more electricity than a large refrigerator. Installing a plug-in timer can reduce electricity use by up to 50 percent, or about 350 kilowatt hour, annually, which is more than $100 in electricity cost per year based on 30 cents per kilowatt hour).

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Similar to timers used to control lights in a home, plug-in appliance timers allow for pre-programming of times when various appliances are turned on. For example, a water cooler timer can be pre-programmed to turn on one hour before the office opens and turn off when the office closes for the day.

For vendors to participate in this upcoming offering, the timers must be digital, as well as include an internal rechargeable battery and seven-day programmable on and off settings. Timer vendors will be responsible for identifying and contracting directly with water cooler companies to install timers on customer water coolers. Installation of the timers will be incentivized 100 percent by Hawaii Energy (up to $15 per timer).

For more information, call 839-8880 or (877) 231-8222.

HEMIC announces policyholder dividends

The board of directors of Hawaii Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. has declared a $2 million dividend payable to qualifying policyholders. This marks the seventh consecutive year the HEMIC board has authorized a multimillion dollar dividend.

Policyholders who have been insured with HEMIC for more than one policy year, and who possess demonstrated safety records, qualify for the dividend.

HEMIC is a Hawaii-based, mutual insurance company specializing in workers’ compensation insurance. Through HEMIC, most Hawaii employers are guaranteed coverage and policy premiums are tailored to each employer’s individual loss history.

“Overall, we anticipate nearly 80 percent of our members will receive a dividend in 2013,” said Jason Yoshimi, president and CFO.

HEMIC is owned and governed by its policyholders, referred to as members, who meet annually to review results, conduct business and elect directors.

Starwood Hawaii selects property-branded guide books

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii has selected Nella Media Group’s ROOM+SERVICE visitor books to complement the in-room guest experience for its properties on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island. NMG will also provide each Starwood Hawaii property with a custom online edition of ROOM+SERVICE, with the same high-quality editorial and guide content, for distribution to guests before their arrival.

With a focus on providing compelling content for the modern traveler, ROOM+SERVICE has been well received by both hoteliers and guests. The publication has been awarded the Pele Gold Regional ADDY Award in its category each year it has entered the competition. ROOM+SERVICE will now serve as the exclusive property-branded in-room publication for Starwood Hawaii’s Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay on Hawaii Island.


Courtright named Hawaii Volcanoes fire management officer

James Courtright is the new fire management officer at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and will oversee fire management for 11 national parks in the Pacific Island Park network.

Courtright, who previously worked as the assistant fire management officer at Zion National Park and the Utah Parks Group, has extensive experience in fire and aviation management. He has helped extinguish countless fires in the western United Sates and worked cooperatively with multiple agencies during his nearly 20-year career. His experience ranges from interagency management of wildland fires and all risk incidents, prescribed fire, aviation operations, engines to “hotshot” hand crews.

In his new position, Courtright will coordinate fire management with partner agencies, including the County of Hawaii Fire Department, the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Pacific Island Park network extends from the West Pacific and includes the National Park of American Samoa, American Memorial Park in Saipan, War in the Pacific National Historic Park in Guam, and all eight national park units in Hawaii.

Shetler named VASH executive director

The board of directors of VASH Hawaii Island has named Hilde Shetler executive director.

The team of program directors, visitor assistants and volunteers offers assistance to those who face adversity during their visit to Hawaii Island. They provide practical and compassionate help around the clock to ensure that visitors get assistance and to provide basic needs during times of tragedy, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical support and transportation.

The number of visitors helped by VASH Hawaii Island has grown year over year. In 2012, VASH served 1,268 visitors. VASH receives funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and also depends on community support to provide resources and services. For more information, call Shetler at 756-0392 or visit

HGEA members elect president, board of directors

Darren Wong has been elected to a two-year term as HGEA president, effective July 1.

Wong is a Unit 13 member and electrical engineer with the City & County of Honolulu’s Wastewater Design Division. He will serve, as will the board of directors, through June 30, 2015. All are volunteers who serve without compensation.

The HGEA directors for the 2013-15 term are:

c Unit 2 (blue-collar supervisors): Carrick Agbayani of the Halawa Correctional Facility

c Unit 3 (white-collar nonsupervisors): Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto of the state Harbors Division; Harry Gima of the City & County of Honolulu’s Budget & Fiscal Services Department; Darleen Hoshida of the state Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs; Adele Koyama of University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Arts & Sciences; and Pualeilani Sanborn of the state’s Special Education Branch

c Unit 4 (white-collar supervisors): Constance Malo of the state Benefit, Employment & Support Services Division

c Unit 6 (educational officers): Kelcy Koga of Waiakea High School

c Unit 8 (UH administrative, professional and technical employees): Patrick Frane of UH-Manoa

c Unit 9 (registered professional nurses): Barbara Uwekoolani of Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Post Anesthesia Care Unit/Surgery Center

c Unit 13 (professional and scientific employees): Amanda Lowrey of the state Environmental Health Services Division; Mary Wagner of Maui County’s Information Technology Services Division

c Hawaii-at-large: Veronica Tarleton of UH-Hilo’s Library Services

c Retirees Unit (ex-officio director): Ruth Walker, a former principal for Keaukaha Elementary School and Hilo resident.

Hawaiian Airlines promotes Liu

Timothy Liu has been promoted to Hawaiian Airlines’ senior director, international sales — Asia. In this new role, he is responsible for leading and overseeing all of the airlines’ sales efforts throughout Asia, as well as developing strategies for entry into new markets.

Liu previously held the title of director — network strategy since 2010, where he was instrumental in developing the airlines’ route network as it expanded into new destinations throughout Oceania and Asia.

Liu has more than 15 years of combined experience in airline and business management. Prior to joining Hawaiian Airlines in 2010, he held various revenue management and analyst positions for other domestic carriers such as United Airlines and Northwest Airlines. He also served as a business management consultant at Bain & Co. in Seoul and Los Angeles, and Brierley & Partners in Dallas.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science and a master of business administration in finance from the University of Chicago. Liu is fluent in Mandarin and Taiwanese.

Kimi inducted into restaurant Hall of Fame

William Kimi Jr. of Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel is one of nine individuals being inducted into the Hawaii Restaurant Association Hall of Fame this year. Kimi is the only Big Island honoree.

Those selected for induction have “demonstrated dedication and commitment to the growth of the restaurant and food service industry in Hawaii, contributed to the enhancement of its quality and image, and demonstrated service through outreach.”

This year’s celebration begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki. Tickets cost $200. Tables of 10 are available, ranging from $1,500 to $5,000. Proceeds benefit the association’s scholarship program. For more information, call 944-9105 or visit

Ulu makes OpenTable’s top 100

Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge is the only Big Island eatery featured on OpenTable’s list of the top 100 scenic view restaurants in the United States.

The list reflects the combined opinions of more than 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With spectacular views of natural wonder and city landmarks, the list spans 29 states.

Located at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Ulu offers an innovative ocean-to-table menu with table-side presentation.

For the complete list, visit


Christie’s grants affiliate status to Island Resort Property

Christie’s International Real Estate, the world’s leading luxury real estate network, has awarded affiliate status to Island Resort Property, LLC.

Island Resort Property founders Edward Rapoza, Brandon Wood and Frank Schenk combined their business backgrounds with community-focused passions to offer clients comprehensive and personalized service, innovative proprietary programs, and the highest standards of trust, integrity and expertise.

Island Resort Property will represent the Christie’s brand in Kailua-Kona and through the Kohala Coast.

For further information, visit or

Big Catch Tees producing wearable trophies

Big Catch Tees of Kailua-Kona has introduced a new line of apparel for the fishing community.

Many fishermen take a photograph with their big catch hanging on a scale, displaying fish size, type, angler and date. With Bragging Rights apparel, fishermen can wear that information on a shirt.

Anglers write their name, fish type and weight, and date on the front of the shirt. Versions are available for saltwater and freshwater species. The machine-washable shirts become a lasting trophy for the angler.

Big Catch Tees is working with retailers and boat captains to personalize shirts with their logos.

For more information, visit or call Vince Mott at 443-6913.

Spiritual retreat opening Aug. 31 in Hilo

Hale Lamalama Kaili, a new spiritual retreat in Hilo, will open Aug. 31. It’s owned by Michael Russo, founder of Hawaii Pacific DEEG, an advanced neurology and brain injury diagnostic and treatment center in Honolulu.

Hale Lamalama Kaili, a bed and breakfast spa located in a Balinese-style home, will offer a variety of spiritual and health-related treatments, along with an assortment of amenities and activities. Locally grown produce, organic eggs and fresh goat milk and cheese will be offered for breakfast.

“Hale Lamalama Kaili is dedicated to sustaining and improving the physical and spiritual health of our guests,” said Russo. “My hope is that Hale Lamalama will offer that very special spiritual retreat we all long for and need so much today in the very fast paced world in which we live in.”

To celebrate the opening, Hale Lamalama is offering a free night stay for married couples who renew their vows. For more information, visit or call 339-7192.