Hawaii Society of Business Professionals

Feb. 7, 2018: Martin & MacArthur Workshop


Martin & MacArthur, a place of fine craftsmanship : HSBP Tour February 7, 2018

The store was started by John MacArthur in 1957 and eventually took a partner -  Doug Martin When he was 70, John retired and left Doug to run the business himself.  When Doug decided to retire, he went on a search for the perfect person to replace him:  He choose Michael Kam who gave our tour.  The company is still run as a family business (that’s the definite ambiance). 

Twenty-one of us were lucky enough to go on the tour of Martin & MacArthur.  We learned about Koa and the construction/building of their fine furniture and accessory pieces.  Beautiful pieces which most of us have never seen – beautiful!  Go look in a store, you will be wonderfully surprised to see what is there today.

Mr. Michael Tam took us on our tour and gave us the history of the company until the present day.  We started at the landing pad where craftsmen bring up finished pieces ready to be sold there or sent to a store.  We went all around the factory and were introduced to the master craftsmen who shared their work and the pride they take in their skill with us

Martin & MacArthur was established in 1957 and still buys Koa from the same families they did years ago.  The original intent was to make something special for/in Hawaii.  They choose Koa because this is the only place it grows.  It wasn’t easy, the company was founded when formica was “the thing to have” – not wood. The same three generations of families from the Big Island still supply the Koa. It grows high up on the mountain and everything is still harvested one by one.  They only harvest fallen trees which are taken out of the forest very carefully by the land owners., They do not cut living trees, only harvest from the ones that have fallen and even then, they (M&M) pick and choose carefully from among those.  The Martin and MacArthur people go to the forest and choose felled trees individually and the land owners get them down the mountain.  The trees are specially marked and matched (afterwards) – which answers the “how do you know you are getting what you picked from the forest floor?”

Martin & MacArthur only buys Koa from Hawaii.  They wanted to support Hawaii from the beginning of their business.  The second of the original owners just retired recently (Doug MacArthur) and still comes to visit. 

The factory is filled with wood, work in progress and craftsmen.  The craftsmen are very special – each with their own job.  Each piece is made totally by one person and signed by them, also.  There is plenty of room to work, as well.  It is not a crowded factory floor – each craftsman is given enough space to create a fine piece of workmanship for someone else to cherish.

It was amazing to go there and see the work being done, the immense amount of wood on hand, the special care that each person takes in what they are making and the admiration they share for one another.  It is just simply an amazing place with beautiful craftmanship and finished results.

Martin & MacArthur now has 17 stores each having an assortment of Koa wood, Glass and Ceramic.  All made by craftspeople (handmade).  All the Koa comes from here, the glass and ceramic may come from the mainland crafters.

This was a fabulous tour, such a blessing – and then they thanked us for coming!


Karen Offerdahl

Nov 2017: Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

The November boardroom tour was a behind-the-scenes peek at the newly renovated Pacific Beach Hotel, designed by the award-winning firm, Rockwell Group, and rebranded as the all-new, vibrant ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. The resort is named in honor of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s beachside cottage Kealohilani – the Royal Light or Heavenly Brightness – on the same location. 


The tour was led by Rob Robinson, Managing Director, Highgate Hotels, who described the depth and breadth of the renovation, which cost over $115 million and took place over 18 months.  Amazingly, the hotel never closed and continued to provide 1st class service to guests throughout the work.  Now boasting 839 guestrooms, the resort also completely restored the 2-story, 280,000 gallon Oceanarium to pristine condition, holding over 500 fish.  Wrapping around the Oceanarium is Lychee Restaurant, serving guests with a daily breakfast from 6am-10am and weekend brunch buffet from 10am to 2pm. 


HSBP members got to see a standard suite as well as a gorgeous beachside suite, the new salt water infinity pool with a lovely tree top ocean view, and nearby Keiki pool and Swell Bar. Finally, were feted on delicious drinks and pupu in the O Bar in the open lobby just under the Oceanarium.  Coming soon – not one, but two Morimoto restaurants: Momosan by Morimoto will offer a more casual experience and a diversity of Japanese dishes including ramen and yakitori, and the other, Morimoto Asia will be a special destination restaurant offering Iron Chef Morimoto’s world-renowned cuisine with a menu that integrates traditional Asian and Western ingredients.  Previously, the hotel catered primarily to Japanese visitors, but the “repositioning” is targeting a broader demographic and locals with food, drink and retail. 


In summary: the resort has small touches throughout which make it warm and welcoming and overall, members agreed that a long deserved renovation of the property has been well done.

Oct. 2017: PBS Hawaii

In October, HSBP members were treated to a tour of the gorgeous new headquarters of Hawaii public television on Sand Island Access Road. Did you know that PBS Hawaii has been in operation for more than 50 years? Established in 1965, the station provided educational TV for the University of Hawaii. PBS Hawaii came to be the Hawaii member of the Public Broadcasting Service through its success as the State-funded Hawaii Educational Television Network.

We were lucky to have the President and CEO of PBS Hawaii, Leslie Wilcox, lead the tour with a Q&A session from Jason Suapaia, VP of Integrated Media Production. Attendees got to see the broadcast room where most programs are filmed, with very cool cameras and touches that provide special effects when required. Although most HSBP members are probably familiar with Leslie Wilcox from her Long Story Short interviews, or the Na Mele musical series. The crew seemed most proud of their work on Hiki No, a weekly half-hour program written by and featuring stories from high school students and now middle and even elementary students around the state.

Especially interesting were descriptions of the work of the students along with their successesand struggles. Nikki Miyamoto, the Hiki No producer and online weekly editor, gave us an idea of the mentoring and heart that goes into each show. The show has received national recognition and is the epitome of the organization’s mission, which is "We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that touches lives”. 

PBS Hawaii, being a non-profit, locally owned media company, has the freedom to feature topics that islanders are interested in---locally, nationally and internationally. It is its goal to address issues that affect us in Hawaii. 

The design of the new TV station came about, in part, by reaching out to kids in the community to gather ideas on how a Hawaii TV studio should look. The kids’ input was the inspiration for the building, which cost $30 million. PBS Hawaii moved into the new station in May 2016. The facility is bright and airy. The broadcasting room is surrounded by glass with vantage points so visitors and employees can see what’s going on at any given time. The facility has room to grow. There are currently 30 employees and independent contractors. Students also participate
in the productions. 

All non-profits are tasked with raising funds to remain in operation. PBS Hawaii is no different. The funds for the new facility was raised entirely by PBS Hawaii with a successful capital campaign. They have several income streams—individual donations, grants, business support, and sponsorships. Believe it or not, they are not government funded. This is not a plug for donations---just informational details.

Leslie Wilcox and her team sure are doing Hawaii a huge service with the news, personal
interviews, science and nature, musical series, entertaining shows for kids and adults, and their support of island children offering them an education in media production, and more importantly, giving the children a voice in the community.

Courtesy of Valerie Koenig & Noe Johnson

Sept. 29, 2017

Our visit to Island X, located at the Old Sugar Mill in Old Waialua Town was "time well spent," wrote one attendee. Bill & Reba Martin have operated the retail location and coffee mills, since 1991. 

Bill gave us a tour of the coffee trees (just out back);  explained the differences between the coffee blends and processes from "tree to shelf", showing us the coffee bean dry stations and milling plants. We also had the pleasure of sampling Waialua cacao and the finished coffee products.

The small town of Waialua was once known for it's thriving sugar cane industry with the Waialua Sugar Company in operation for more than 100 years. The sugar mill played an important role in the economic and cultural development of the unique local community but in 1996, the sugar mill closed down, leaving the area devastated. waves . These days , the dusty old town of Waialua is making a name for itself as the home of genuinely rare , high quality "Hawaiian Made" products.

Aug. 2017: Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, we visited the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship
(PACE) at Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus.  It was an
extraordinary Boardroom.

Our presenter was Susan Yamada, formerly the Executive Director of PACE, now the Director of the University of Hawaii Ventures. Also present were Dean Vance Roley, and the new Executive Director of PACE, Peter Rowan. What an honor to have them both attend to greet us and join us for Susan’s presentation.

Shidler College has more than 30,000 alumni worldwide. Did you know that PACE has 20 entrepreneurial programs open to all UH students, not just for those affiliated with the Shidler College? PACE was founded in 2000 and has been growing and expanding ever since with the goal of promoting entrepreneurial thinking. Shidler is very active in the community creating relationships between its community partners, its students and its faculty.

In her opening, Susan said, “The world is flatter than ever. The competition is fierce.” As innovation disrupts the status quo, there will be more change in the next 5 years than in the past 50 years, thanks to the ease of access to information, which continues to expand the horizons of entrepreneurs.

On partnerships for the 21st Century, Susan explained that moving beyond the basics of the 3 Rs, reading, writing & arithmetic, and embracing the 4 Cs, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication, is what’s important for advancement in our ever- changing world. My most favorite part of the presentation was when Susan gave me permission, as an entrepreneur, to do the following:

1.   Make decisions without perfect information
2.   Find comfort being uncomfortable
3.   Be innovative, take initiative (start a pilot program, volunteer, look for solutions)
4.   Practice taking risks, mitigate and categorize
5.   Fail forward

I truly took her words to heart---my world got a little bigger. And, I wonder what the rest of you
in attendance thought?

If you ever have a chance to hear Susan Yamada speak, or find yourself in a position to participate in a PACE event, DO IT! She will inspire you, broaden the scope of your thinking
and who knows what will be ahead for you.

With much aloha, Noe

June 2017: La Tour Bakehouse

June 29, 2017 - La Tour Bakehouse’s humble beginnings can be traced back to a small Vietnamese sandwich shop in Honolulu’s historic Chinatown. When Thanh Lam opened the very first Ba-Le Sandwich in 1984, his vision was to offer delicious and authentic banh mi sandwiches on freshly baked bread. Unable to find a supplier that could produce the same crusty french bread he remembered from his youth, he learned how to bake it himself. His dedication to quality bread and a focus on customer service has spanned nearly three decades and countless loaves of bread.

Throughout the years, the small family business has grown to include nearly 20 Ba-Le shops, a thriving wholesale business, presence at numerous farmers’ markets around the island and an exciting retail concept. Due to the tremendous growth and success of the wholesale operations, Thanh and his two sons decided that a new name would better encompass the range of products offered. La Tour Bakehouse was introduced in 2011 and reflects the artisan techniques used by Executive Pastry Chef Rodney Weddle.

HSBP members were fortunate to have one of Thanh’s sons, Brandon, spend some time to share the company’s story and history, including his father’s very personal journey as a refugee from Vietnam. A tour of La Tour Bakehouse’s 80,000 sq. ft. facility followed, where they bake over 300 fresh products for hotels, airlines, supermarkets and local restaurants. La Tour’s future expansion plans include growing a reputation outside of Hawaii with their Furikake Puff, now selling in Costco warehouses across the mainland. While they are bucking a trend of a declining Hawaii manufacturing industry by producing the puffs in Honolulu, Brandon discussed the challenges and costs related to shipping their products to the mainland and hinted at considering other options that will help take their business to the next level.

The event concluded with a very exciting surprise when Brandon generously offered everyone an empty shopping bag to fill with whatever pre-packaged goodies that could fit in the bags! It was like “Supermarket Sweep” and everyone went home with wonderful treats! Many members in attendance also stayed to have lunch at La Tour Café afterwards—it was a delicious way to show our appreciation and support for a great morning with Brandon Lam and the team at La Tour Bakehouse!

Apr. 2017: Kahuku Farms

Kahuku Farms is a true island treasure.  Kylie Matsuda is a 4th general farmer.  She and her husband, Judah Lum, welcomed us to their lovely farm and home.  

The Farm consists of 125 acres spread across the valley and the wonderful north shore coastline.  The Farm’s primary crops sent to market are papayas, long eggplant, luau leaves, and bananas.

Of the dozen families that formed a farming coop when the plantation shut down, there are 3 families still in business.  The Matsudas and Fukuyamas that formed the Kahuku Farmers Inc. and Matsuda-Fukuyama Farms Inc., and the Nozawas who grow sweet corn. 

Diversification was Kylie’s vision as farming is a costly and very risky business.  Agri-tourism is a great way to draw interest about island agriculture and a way to educate visitors on the importance of caring for the land while offering tasty treats produced yards to a few acres away.  Kylie said she especially enjoys educating kids about where our produce comes from.  

Both the Cafe and the Farm were opened to the public in October 2010.  The Cafe serves meals and refreshments grown on the Farm.  The Farm grows its own acai, cacao, kale, lettuce, lilikoi, sugar cane, green onions, mint and basil.  

Did you know that about 90% of our food is imported?  Although we have farms spread across the islands, on a grand scale, we produce a very small amount of our own food.  Controlling the bug population and the weeds is a constant issue.  Weeds love our year-round awesome weather just like the bugs love our crops.  Disease is another matter of concern.  On another note, making sure there is enough water is another concerning topic year round.  Farming is truly a huge undertaking.

At the start of the tour, we saw what Judah called static hydroponics, which is the most basic form and can be used for quick production.  It needs no electricity and costs very little. The pictures show lettuce growing out of the tub of water.  The container is filled with water infused with the plant nutrients and covered with a piece of styrofoam to fit the container.  Holes are cut into the styrofoam to hold the lettuce heads.

Behind the Café are raised beds with plants growing organically amid the backdrop of the grassy lawn and field.  Kylie mentioned that the Farm is working toward its organic certification for the 5 acres behind the Café.  Not surprisingly, it takes a few years to earn the designation.  On the commercial side, best farming practices are used, but now they are adopting some of the farming systems used from the Farm’s organic fields.

We walked to a section to the side, where pallets held the waste products from the Cafe.  We saw how the waste goes through stages of breakdown and its own production of microorganisms that will be used to nourish the plants.

The fields are massive.  We saw just a small portion of the farm with fields of old and new papaya trees, taro plants, cacao trees, and banana trees.  Lining the roadways were acai palms and other trees and bushes.  On the tour, we passed lilikoi vines and other trees.  We also rode by the packing plant where the produce is cared for and made ready for pickup.  

In talking to Kylie, Kahuku Farms has 15 employees specifically for the fields, café and tours, and 20 who work the commercial farm.  Quite a small amount of people for what seems like a large operation---125 acres!  

The tour ended, and we disbursed to the Café.  It was a wonderful place to contemplate the enlightening experiences of the morning.  

March 2017: HART

HSBP was treated to a tour of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) 43-acre Maintenance Storage Facility and Rail Operations Center in Pearl City for our March Boardroom event.  The Honolulu Rail project is hoping to open as early as 2020, and the entire system is projected to come online by 2025.  HSBP members were able to see the maintenance facility where the trains will be cleaned and maintained on a nightly basis, as well as the operations center where the trains will be controlled.  Honolulu’s system will be the first completely driverless transit system in the U.S., so naturally we were very curious to see the nuts and bolts behind the trains. 

Akira Fujita, the Project Manager for the facility, gave us a great overview of the coming system and we were able to board a sample train to see exactly what the city will be getting.  Officials explained that there is a lot of emphasis on safety and security, personal safety for passengers as well as the system as a whole.  Ultimately, the system will connect West Oahu with downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana Center via the airport.  Everyone expressed hope that the final system will deliver relief from the rush hour traffic and logjams that currently make commuting from West Oahu to town so painful.   

Feb. 2017: Institute of Human Services

The Institute of Human Services (HIS), Hawaii’s largest homeless shelter, hosted a group of members from the Hawaii Society of Business Professionals for February’s boardroom tour.  We were extremely lucky to be led by Connie Mitchell, the Institute’s Executive Director, who introduced the demanding array of services the Institute offers, which far exceed just housing and nourishment.  They are constantly experimenting and trying new approaches in their outreach and assistance efforts and we were fortunate to hear about several great success stories.  The highlight was the tour of the new facility on Sand Island, Hale Mauliola, opened in 2016 with some shipping containers and a lot of work from volunteers and City offices. 


If you want to help, the Institute welcomes you!  They need volunteers, donations - drive by at their Kalihi Headquarters next to CostCo in Iwilei – kitchen goods, sheets and towels, and toiletries, but most especially money.  If you can help, please go online at https://ihshawaii.org/donate


HSBP Members enjoyed a fun, informative, and extremely heartwarming tour of the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS) in January.  Our tour guide was Allison Gammel, Director of Community Relations, a font of knowledge.  What was most surprising to many was the size and scope of the operations.  

If you think the HHS is just the front you see from Waialae Avenue, you are badly misinformed!  With recent additions, over 75 employees and hundreds of volunteers, HHS expands a couple of acres and multiple buildings in their Kaimuki space.  And although members did not visit any distress animals, the Hawaiian Humane Society has a serious mission.  

The organization is responsible for the not only stray or lost animals, but also rescued ones, and in October 2016 was the lead organization in the liberation of over 300 dogs and other animals from a disgraced puppy farm in Waianae, the largest rescue in their history.   A busy and bustling place, the Humane Society does 70 adoptions a day, on average, and a steady stream of happy adoptees, and adopters, were a delight to see.    

Nov. 18 - Blue Note Hawaii

On November 18, 2016, members of the HSBP were treated to a behind the scenes tour of Blue Note Hawaii and open discussion with General Manager, Marco Olivari.  Mr. Olivari managed the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City before arriving in Hawaii to open this exciting new entertainment venue in Waikiki.   Mr. Olivari shared the history of the Blue Note and what the clubs offer both audiences and artists around the world. 

Blue Note Hawaii was founded by Danny Bensusan.  It is a family business and is growing.  Their goal is to offer an intimate jazz club setting, equipped with the latest in music technology.  The showroom provides a personal and professional setting for entertainers and the audience, gives audiences the opportunity to experience the music and artistry of acclaimed international and local artists all while enjoying wonderful food and beverages.  

Blue Note Hawaii’s showroom is located at the OutriggerWaikiki Hotel.  It is 3-tiered consisting of a bar , and plentiful booth and table seating allowing patrons to enjoy great dining.  

Our HSBP attendees received a double perk with the opportunity to participate in a back-of-the-house and showroom tour, as well as an evening of entertainment featuring internationally acclaimed entertainer, Peter Cincotti!  Oh, and not to mention, dinner and “spirits”!  According to the attendees, Blue Note’s investment in the showroom’s sound and lighting, and the ambiance of the showroom, resulted in an amazing “true jazz club” experience!

For those interested in an upcoming show, visit www.bluenotehawaii.com for information on the entertainment lineup, ticket prices and show times.  Note that kamaainas receive a 15% discount.  

Oct. 20: NOAA Inouye Regional Center, Ford Island

On October 20, 2016, an intimate group of HSBP members had the very exclusive opportunity to visit the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) facilities on Ford Island.  After a thorough security clearance check and an okay to proceed through the gate onto the island, we were provided with a very informative tour conducted by staff members, Matt Ramsey and Patty Miller.

The tour started with a demonstration of their "Science On a Sphere (SOS)" global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. It is an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere to explain complex environmental processes.  They were even able to show us where sea turtles were in parts of the ocean that they were observing as one of their many research initiatives!

Our tour was then led to their auditorium.  Here we learned some very interesting facts:

*NOAA is a $331M project partially funded under the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act *NOAA provides about 400K sf of laboratory and offices *NOA consists of 16 NOAA offices on Oahu now on one campus *NOAA is LEED Gold Certified (environmentally sound design)

        *The auditorium's air conditioned using cold seawater from a 1500 foot deep well that brings the cold water up,         one of many ways in which the NOAA facility promotes a "very green" building.

        *NOAA is limited to installation of solar panels as it is a historic property.

*Noah's work includes exploring our oceans, managing our fisheries, charting our waterways, understanding our climate,  conserving our maritime heritage, deepening our knowledge of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic oceans.

*NOAA falls under the U.S. Department of Commerce and under NOAA falls the National Marine Fisheries Service (protects our ocean resources and their habitats), National Ocean Service (helped to remove the humpback whale from being on our endangered species list), National Weather Service (provides weather, water and climate data, forecasts and warnings to protect life and property), National Environmental Satellite Data and Info Service, Office of Marine & Aviation Operators (conducts marine debris cleanups and deep water explorations) and Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

  • NOAA has 600 employees
  • NOAA receives 200 visitors per day
  • NOAA runs a 24/7 Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

NOAA History:

  • 2001 - Navy developed Ford Island master plan
  • 2005 -  NOAA selects Ford Island as site for Pacific Regional Center
  • 2006 - Groundbreaking for Pacific Regional Center Project
  • 2013 - Renamed as Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center (IRC)

Other areas of the NOAA facility that we were able to tour were the laboratory in which research is conducted on the animal life found in our waters, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in which we learned about DART sensors, Coastal Sea Level Gauges and Seismic Stations that are all placed strategically around our earth to enable detection of a potential tsunami impact to the Hawaiian Islands.  Did you know that there are two staff members at all times monitoring this center and at least one cannot be sleeping!

Our tour ended with a beautiful view of Pearl Harbor from the outside lanai of the NOAA facility and an opportunity to network with each other at one of the staffs' most favorite places - the cafeteria!

Anyone interested in booking a tour of the NOAA facility is welcome to contact Matt Ramsey at (808) 223-4404.

September 22: "Talk Story" & Tour with UH Athletics Director David Matlin

Our September Boardroom took our HSBP members to a visit with David Matlin, our new UH Athletics Director and a tour of the Athletics facility at UH Manoa. We got the opportunity to sit around and “talk story” with the new director in the LetterWinners Clubhouse (coffee and pastries included), where we got a chance to check out the Life Members wall and listen in on a presentation on what David Matlin felt was the #1 question he has been approached with since taking on his new position and that is “How is the financial situation of our UH Athletics?”. He actually stated that his #2 most frequently asked question is “When is Dave Shoji going to retire?”; however, not knowing the answer to that, he stuck to addressing #1 instead. (haha)

Some of the UH Athletics’ financial highlights that were shared were:

· Nationwide, only 10% of NCAA Division 1 public schools generate enough funds to cover expenses/

· UH also has $5.2M of additional costs, unique to Hawaii (simply due to our location), that other schools do not have and if not for the unique costs, for example, UH would have had a “surplus” in budget rather than a deficit in 2014.

· UH falls short in generating revenues in 3 of 14 revenue categories – student fees, governmental support, and contributions. Otherwise, UH is above or comparable to its peers in the other 11 categories. As such, Dave Matlin, shared his 5-year financial plan to reduce deficits and meet Athletics’ future competitive needs, shooting for a target year of 2020. The focus of his plan is to create partnerships that would help sustain the athletics program and improve tickets sales. One of the biggest successes achieved this year was the approval from the legislature to allocate $2.7M to UH Athletics for operational needs in 2017. These monies will primarily be used to redesign two gyms, the Wahine Softball Stadium, and refurbish the Les Murakami Baseball Stadium’s locker room.

Dave Matlin welcomed several questions from our members and graciously allowed time to answer all of them. During this Q&A session, we heard a few notable facts:

  • One of the biggest challenge nationwide for college athletics is that millennials are not coming out to games anymore because of their “virtual lives”.
  • UH supports 21 different sports, something a majority of other colleges do not.
  • The current average GPA of the UH student athletes is higher than the UH’s entire student body.

Our day was ended with a great tour of the UH Athletics training academy, wellness center, student athletes’ gym facilities and a back-of-house/underground tour of the Stan Sheriff Center.

It was definitely an exclusive opportunity, which everyone enjoyed!


Aug. 27: Four Seasons at Ko'olina

On Saturday, August 27th, our HSBP members were treated to a great property tour of the newly opened Four Seasons at Ko'olina.  General Manager, Sanjiv Hullagalle, and his team did a terrific job from start to end. Our group was welcomed at their Oysters and Bubbles Lounge to a delightful spread of treats from fruit-infused mimosas, to smoothies, pastries, sushi, and wonderful delicacies created by their talented catering team.  Mr. Hullagalle addressed the group, along with his Resort Manager, Mr. Phil Clough, on the Four Seasons culture; its luxury service standards and embracing the local community to help create a magical experience for guests; their employees and the residents of West Oahu. We learned that during the hiring process, there were 20,000 applications received to fill 700 positions.  Imagine that.  Additionally, we learned that the hotel has created special opportunities for guests to enjoy local activity such as fishing with the kama'ainas, and gets involved in community service projects such as cleaning up the coastline. The welcome address was conducted all while enjoying the scene overlooking the hotel's beautiful ocean view and lagoon.

Already impressed with the welcome, the group was led throughout the hotel to rooms ranging from $950 - $17,000 per night penthouse.  We walked through the lobby where a local resident from Waianae was performing beautiful music on a unique instrument.  We got in some sun as we checked out the various pool decks, roamed through the beautifully-designed restaurants, and one of our members even snuck in a photo opp with a celebrity guest staying in-house (shhhh, can't mention who)!

The Four Seasons at Ko'olina truly shined in their hospitality and our HSBP members left with a memorable experience.

May 6: Armstrong Produce Tour

Founded in 1979, Armstrong Produce has grown from a small family-run wholesale business into Hawaii’s leading produce wholesaler and distributor. With locations in Honolulu, Kona & Kahului, Armstrong Produce supplies a wide range of customers, from local chefs to big box retailers, with fresh produce every day.

Armstrong Produce is committed to sourcing the freshest produce at the best prices. The company prides itself on having built a network of partners that procure produce from around the world. Once the produce arrives in their facilities, they uphold the highest food safety standards to ensure that safe, high-quality produce is delivered to customers. Looking back at 80 years in the produce business, starting at the family farm in the 1920s, the company understands the importance of supporting local growers.  Local farmers are an integral part of Hawaii’s community, economy and food supply, and the company is pleased to source fruits and vegetables from over 100 local farmers across the state.  Our hostess for this visit was Tisha Uyehara, the Director of Marketing and Food Safety.

March 14: Creative Industries Acceleration & Innovation Programs

The February 2016 cover story for the Hawaii Business Magazine featured, “Creativity as Hawaii’s Next Big Export” and the 6 accelerator/innovation programs run by Creative Industries in six basic areas, including: screenwriting, broadband content for the web, interactive media, fashion and couture design, production and music.

Georja Skinner, the head of the Creative Industries Accelerator and Innovation program, spoke to HSBP about how Creative Industries was the fastest growing segment of the Hawaii economy.

Using the accelerator model, Creative Industries puts together panel and keynote workshops in the six basic areas.  This month the focus is on screenwriting.  The screenwriting immersion program starts with the workshops and bootcamp. 

A member of the Writers Guild of America West, Terri, spoke to HSBP members about the Hawaii program and described the importance of having a “big tent” for writers that include minorities and women.  The minority/women screenwriters is a missing component that is reflected in the lack of programming and TV series and movies that discuss feature actors of color and older women.  The Hawaii program features minorities and women and provides that missing component for the Writers Guild of America


HSBP members learned about a successful participant in the 2013 program who went from an idea to a script and finally to production of a film that was entered into the 2016 Academy Awards under the Best Foreign Films Category, Josh Kim’s “How to Win at Checkers Every Time”.

Members of the HSBP group were also invited to attend an evening presentation on Friday by the woman screenwriter for Pixar’s “Inside Out”.


November 10: Cut Collective

November’s Boardroom ventured into the field of couture and the fashion design industry.  The two principals at the “Cut Collective” fashion incubator , Alison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi, spoke about the diverse business aspects of operating as a factory hybrid for the fashion designer industry.  This is Hawaii’s fashion incubator which also functions as a factory hybrid dedicated to providing independent designers with the resources and skills to streamline their production process, transforming local manufacturing into the most innovative and affordable process, while providing a design-driven option for the local consumer.

It was fascinating to learn about the mentoring process for the 11 designers who went through the innovation workshop and to hear about how it is possible to design, cut and produce garments in Hawaii.  The “Gerber” system of placement of the pieces of the design on the fabric for cutting was intriguing.  It was also interesting to learn that the Gerber system allows designs to be sent on the internet to the production facility.  Their perspective on the fashion industry is unique and really provided the HSBP members with a view of the fashion and design industry from the designer’s and producer’s perspective.

Alison is the owner and design force behind Alison Izu Denim which focuses on clothing for petite women and is featured at Nordstrom and carried nationally at jeans.com.  Recently Alison’s design was on the cover of the November 2015 “Honolulu” magazine for the fashion week coverage.

Summer has over 12 years of experience in retail and buying and is the contributing editor for “Honolulu” magazine.  Summer has the Ten Tomorrow line of ready-to-wear fashion.

Their presentation clearly articulated how vital it is to the people of Hawaii to support and nurture the Cut Collective and the fashion designers.  


P.O. BOX 26181, HONOLULU HI 96825     INFO@HSBP.BIZ     808.537.2356