Hawaii Business News and Events - SPECIAL BULLETIN

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Celebrating the 2015 Hawaii SBA Awards Winners

Since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, recognizing the critical contributions of America's entrepreneurs and small business owners. As part of National Small Business Week, on May 8th, 2015, the SBA Hawaii District Office honored Hawaii's outstanding small business owners and champions at the 28th Annual Statewide SBA Small Business Awards Luncheon. Please help the SBA Hawaii District Office recognize the twenty-four honorees for 2015!

Small Business Advocate for Media and Journalism

Randall Francisco, SB Advocate, Media, County of Kauai

Randall Francisco, Kauai Chamber of Commerce

Kauai County Winner

Randall Francisco has opened the doors for many small businesses through his role as President of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, as well as his involvement with the Kauai Made program, Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Filipino Chamber of Commerce, Kauai Workforce Investment Board, Kauai Visitor Bureau, and Kauai Business Roundtable. He has effectively used print and electronic media, reaching into key civic, community and industry segments with a positive message supporting economic well-being and a prosperous Kauai.

Nominated by Kamika Smith, Smith's Motor Boat Service

Bob Sigall, Creative-1, Small Business Advocate - Media, Statewide

Bob Sigall, Creative-1

State of Hawaii Winner

An entrepreneur, teacher, writer, mentor, and small business advocate, Bob Sigall has been an active voice in the small business community. As a journalist, he's written for Hawaii Business, Pacific Edge, and is noted for his column, "Rearview Mirror," in the Star-Advertiser, and his bestselling book, "The Companies We Keep." Through Small Business Hawaii, he has worked on legislation and written testimony, prepared business training curriculum, and created conferences and programs for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Nominated by Josephine Alonso at Central Pacific Bank

Small Business Advocate for Home Based Business

Jerry Ornellas, Small Business Advocate, Home Based, State of Hawaii

Jerry Ornellas, Agland Management LLC

State of Hawaii Winner

A prominent community leader and lifelong farmer, Jerry Ornellas has supported farming on Kauai and in Hawaii through his work with the Kauai Farm Bureau, Kauai Economic Development Board, State Board of Agriculture, East Kauai Water Users Cooperative and the Hawaii SBDC Advisory Board. He constantly addresses the challenges for farmers, many of whom are home-based, in financing, education, land availability, zoning, infrastructure, food and pesticide regulation, and farm management.

Nominated by Larry Dressler, Bank of Hawaii

Small Business Advocate for Minority Small Business

Craig Takamine, Small Business Advocate, Minority, County of Hawaii

Craig Takamine, Takamine Construction Inc.

County of Hawaii Winner

Craig Takamine started Takamine Construction Inc. in 2003 with his wife Audrey, creating jobs for 17 employees and weathering challenging economic conditions in a tough market. This experience provided knowledge and insight that he's put to use through extensive volunteer service on various boards and committees. He has served in leadership positions with Hawaii Island Contractors Association, the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association, and the Small Business Regulatory Review Board.

Nominated by Randy Hu of First Hawaiian Bank

Byron Goo, Small Business Advocate, Minority, C&C Honolulu

Byron Goo, The Tea Chest

City and County of Honolulu Winner

Byron Goo, owner of The Tea Chest, manufactures and packages Hawaiian and other gourmet teas. Together with his wife, Satomi, and supported by the Department of Agriculture, he works closely with 26 farmers across Hawaii to contribute new, value-added products to the State's diversified agriculture industry. He joined SBA's Emerging Leaders Initiative, served with the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association and the Hawaii Pacific Export Council, and collaborates with other entities such as the Innovate Hawaii, UH College of Tropical Agriculture, and the Food Innovation Center on Maui.

Nominated by Evan Watarida, Central Pacific Bank

Jean Jeremiah, Small Business Advocate, Minority, State of Hawaii

Jean Jeremiah, SCORE Hawaii

State of Hawaii Winner

In her role as administrator of SCORE Hawaii, Jean Jeremiah matches entrepreneurs with SBA's volunteer mentors to promote the education, growth and success of Hawaii small businesses. She established outreach locations at Oahu Worklinks, Kapiolani Community College, in Kapolei and on Maui, and has worked with various community groups to plan and conduct training and network events. She has assisted more than 75 individuals with obtaining financing through SBA's pilot Community Express program, and helped to establish the SCORE Women's Initiative, a mentoring project specifically designed for women in any stage of business ownership.

Nominated by Naomi Masuno, Bank of Hawaii

Small Business Advocate for Financial Services

Maureen Datta, Small Business Advocate, Financial Services, County of Hawaii

Maureen Datta, Adaptations Inc.

County of Hawaii Winner

As a practitioner and champion for community based organic farming and sustainability, Maureen Datta of Adaptations Inc. has been involved in agriculture on Hawaii Island for more than 20 years. From her food hub in Captain Cook, she consolidates harvests from over 150 farms and distributes to more than 65 restaurants, 6 local processors, 15 natural food stores, charter schools and families. She is a trustee for the Kiva Zip Loan Program and participates as a lender, and also refers people to other financial resources and services. She works with the Kohala Center, the Organics Materials Review Institute, USDA, Hawaii Regional Cuisine and many school groups.

Nominated by Christie Crawford, Bank of Hawaii

Louis Perez III, Small Business Advocate, Financial Services, State of Hawaii

Louis Perez III, Akamai Capital Inc.

State of Hawaii Winner

Louis Perez III is the managing director for Akamai Capital Inc., a subsidiary of the Akamai Foundation that furthers community economic development and business training. He is a frequent speaker, trainer and panelist for entrepreneurial programs such as the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative and the Community Development Venture Capital Fund. He's provided briefings for the State legislature, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the White House Initiative of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the Ford Foundation and the Native Hawaiian Convention on investment capital, community lending, and topics impacting local groups.

Nominated by Naomi Masuno, Bank of Hawaii

Special Award for Lifetime Achievement: Makana Hooko no ke Ola

Sam and Frederick Kamaka, Lifetime Achievement Award

Samuel Kamaka Jr. and Frederick Kamaka Sr., Kamaka Ukulele

Sam Kamaka Jr. and Fred Kamaka Sr. have devoted their lives to ensuring the success of Kamaka Hawaii and the perpetuation of Hawaiian values, culture, and music. Established in 1916, Kamaka Hawaii is a family owned and operated business making fine handcrafted ukuleles. The company has helped many others start new businesses, providing advice and sharing supplies, vendors and distribution networks; they've lead factory tours and conducted workshops on topics like lean manufacturing, waste materials management, and customer satisfaction. The company also supports various educational efforts, non-profit and business organizations and music festivals.

Nominated by Angeline Shiroma, First Hawaiian Bank

Family Owned Small Business

Gregory Kiyan and Barry Lai, Family Owned Small Business, C&C of Honolulu

Gregory T. Kiyan and Barry Lai, Air Central Inc.

City and County of Honolulu Winner

Air Central Inc. is a second generation family-owned HVAC contractor specializing in air conditioning, sheet metal, pipe-fitting and servicing for nearly 40 years. Founded by Darrel K. Lai in 1975, the company was eventually turned over to son, Barry Lai, and nephew, Greg Kiyan, in 2001. The company continues to grow its revenues and net worth, reflecting the positive and skilled leadership of this outstanding family owned small business.

Nominated by Lisa Tomihama, First Hawaiian Bank

Koa Chang, Family Owned Small Business, County of Maui

Forrest Koa Chang, Alii Kula Lavender

County of Maui Winner

Alii Kula Lavender farm, created in 2001 by agricultural artist and advocate, Alii Chang, has become a prominent Maui destination for tourists, occupying 13.5 acres at 4000 ft elevation in Kula, and is home to 45 different varieties and 55,000 plants. In 2011, the farm was passed on to Forrest Koa Chang, who followed his father's path to support sustainable and value added agriculture. Utilizing key strategies for sustainable growth gleaned from the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, the company values on-site tours as much as value-added item sales to an increasing international customer base.

Nominated by Julie Percell, 21st Century Marketing, SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative

Stephen Nii, Family Owned Small Business, State of Hawaii

Stephen Nii, Nii Superette Inc.

State of Hawaii Winner

For over a century, Nii Superette has been serving Waipahu and the Leeward Coast of Oahu.  Stephen Nii now holds the title of president of the family owned business and honors the legacy of his great grandfather, Kaneichi, grandfather Shoso, and uncle Norman, who preceded him in this challenging role. Since 2009, he has been applying long held traditions with a contemporary business spin to increase the store's warehousing capacity, update pricing to competitive advantage, modify retail space and adjust product lines to match consumer trends. All of these and other changes has increased profit margins and improved working conditions and employee morale.

Nominated by Evelyn Dizon, Bank of Hawaii

Young Entrepreneur

Diandra and Tyler Dickinson, Young Entrepreneur, County of Hawaii

Diandra and Tyler Dickinson, Dickinson General Contracting LLC

County of Hawaii Winner

When starting Dickinson General Contracting LLC in 2008, Diandra and Tyler Dickinson devised a strategy to specialize in building quality homes, keeping overhead low and investing back into their business, while establishing a solid reputation in their community. Their dedication and hard work has been rewarded with steady growth in revenues – over 60% increase in 2014, good jobs for 10 employees and continued opportunities to the business they've dreamed of. The Dickinson’s were also selected to be featured on HGTV’s “Building Hawaii” program this year.

Nominated by Hazel Beck, Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network, West Hawaii

Jason and Juliana Sung, Young Entrepreneur, C&C of Honolulu

Jason and Juliana Sung, Pancakes and Waffles

City and County of Honolulu Winner

The husband and wife entrepreneurial team of Jason and Juliana Sung opened their first location of Pancakes and Waffle in 2010. With SBA assistance, the Sungs opened a new location in Aiea at Waimalu Plaza in 2014. And to better serve loyal clientele, they opened a third location suited to the military community around Pearl Harbor and Hickam. The fast comfort food formulas appears to be working as the employee count hit 15 full time and 25 part time positions and revenues crested the million dollar mark.

Nominated by Reid Hinaga, Bank of Hawaii, and Stephanie Chan, Hawaii National Bank

James Stenger Jr., Young Entrepreneur, County of Maui

James Stenger Jr., Alpha Inc.

County of Maui Winner

In 2008, Jason Stenger established Alpha Inc., a construction company specializing in heavy civil site projects, water well drilling and pump installation, underground utility installation, excavation and grading and renewable energy. Now, at the age of 33, he is 100% owner of a thriving enterprise with 25 employees and revenues increasing considerably year over year. This young small business owner attributes much of his success to his employees so he strives to establish a quality work environment, providing good wages, training, an apprenticeship program and generous benefits. He also gives back to community-oriented projects such as construction of the Hana Skate Park, the rope challenge course at Neighborhood Place of Wailuku, and wetlands restoration at Kawainui Marsh.

Nominated by Bard Peterson, First Hawaiian Bank

Sean Fong, Young Entrepreneur, State of Hawaii

Sean Fong, Hawaiian Turfgrass Inc.

State of Hawaii Winner

Hilo native Sean Fong started with a 6,000 square foot patch of land, a second hand mulcher, an old pick up truck and a dream. By acquiring rights to new types of grass suited to specific climates and clearing inspections with the State, he cultivated the first batch of sod for sale. Since then, his small venture, Hawaiian Turfgrass Inc., has grown into a million dollar business with superior products, landscape design and turf installation. The company supports a payroll of 8 with more hiring planned, and has acquired additional agricultural lands to continue its phenomenal growth.

Nominated by Dan Yokoo, Bank of Hawaii, and Israel "Iz" Avilla, now with American Savings Bank

Small Business Exporter

Robert Fram and David Marabella, Small Business Exporter, City & County of Honolulu

Robert Fram and David Marabella, Garden & Valley Isle Seafood Inc.

City and County of Honolulu Winner

Garden & Valley Isle Seafood Inc., a major exporter and importer of the finest fresh seafood in the Pacific, ships fresh seafood within 24 hours to a customer base that includes high profile hotels and resorts, restaurants, and grocery store chains in Asia, Canada and the mainland U.S. Established in 1984 by two longtime friends, Fram and Marabella have performed every job in the company, including selecting product at the local auction 6 days a week. Their export strategy developed to diversify their revenue streams, creating a stable foundation while tapping into the demand in Hong Kong and other Asian markets. The owners credit their continued growth and success to the talented team of more than 70 experienced employees they have assembled over 30 years in the industry. Fram and Marabella also strive for sustainable fishery management and reduced environmental impacts for the fish industry.

Nominated by Curtis Tom, Bank of Hawaii

Robert Stehlik, Small Business Exporter, State of Hawaii

Robert Stehlik, Blue Planet Surf Gear

State of Hawaii Winner

Blue Planet Surf Gear was found in 1993 by Robert Stehlik as a clothing line selling to customers in Hawaii and Japan. Starting with apparel sales at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, the company debuted its first store in Maui in 1995, followed by a second location at Aloha Tower Marketplace, and a third on Kapahulu Avenue. The Ward Avenue shop opened in 2010 and marked a change in the small business’ strategic direction to focus on the manufacturing and sale of surfboards and stand up paddle boards. Now recognized as the stand up paddle board headquarters for locals and tourists alike, Blue Planet Surf provides rentals lessons, clinics and repairs, and generates revenues that have increased 57% since 2013.

Nominated by Anne Blasque and Jared Kashiwabara, Bank of Hawaii

Entrepreneurial Success

Eric Tanouye, Entrepreneurial Success, State of Hawaii

Eric Tanouye, Green Point Nurseries Inc.

State of Hawaii Winner

Started in 1977, Green Point Nursery Inc. is Hawaii’s premier producer and exporter of anthuriums, tropical flowers and foliage. The company developed industry standards for increased production through cinder growing media, irrigation systems, and hermetically sealed bags for shipping; beginning with 2 employees, it's grown to support more than 50 jobs in the East Hawaii community. As president, Eric Tanouye has been able to increase revenues and net worth, through diversification and interfacing directly with small growers, florists and shippers. He also works closely with the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, UH College of Tropical Agriculture, and other agricultural, visitor and business organizations.

Nominated by Amy Honda and Roberta Chu, Bank of Hawaii

Small Business Person

Bruce Grantham, Small Business Person, County of Kauai

William "Bruce" Grantham, Window Trends LLC

County of Kauai Winner

With more than 32 years of continuous operation, William Grantham, owner of Window Trends LLC, provides window coverings and associated services to residential and commercial customers of Kauai. Starting with quality products, 2 employees and the help of an SBA loan, the company has expanded to include the retail store, a warehouse, and installation vehicles. The business now has 5 employees, many of whom have been working with the company for 8-10 years.

Nominated by Joyce Vidinha, First Hawaiian Bank

Ray and Shelly Ciriako, Small Business Person, County of Hawaii

Ray and Shelly Ciriako, Precision Auto Repair Corp.

County of Hawaii Winner

Ray and Shelly Ciriako have experienced remarkable success over the last five years, due to their commitment to quality, hard work and to business consulting support from the Hawaii SBDC West Hawaii office. Started in 2010 and profitable since that time, the Ciriakos have tripled the size of Precision Auto Repair Corp. and acquired state of the art tools and equipment. In the early phase of the business, the owners secured an OHA Malama Business Loan and have never looked back. The company now supports 6 stable jobs.

Nominated by Hazel Beck, Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network, West Hawaii

Danny Boren, Small Business Person, County of Maui

Danny Boren, Skyline Eco-Adventures LLC

County of Maui Winner

Started in 2002 as the first commercial zipline tour operation in Hawaii and the U.S., Skyline Eco-Adventures LLC launched a new outdoor phenomenon with a cumulative economic punch of $40 million in Hawaii alone. The tours highlight the unique natural environment of the island and feature professional guides to escort guests along multiple ziplines, remote hikes, and offer captivating information about Hawaii’s unique environment and culture. Now, with operations on the islands of Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, Danny Boren, owner of Skyline Eco-Adventures, remains an innovator, conducting significant research and development in safety equipment and practices, and is a much sought after consultant across the nation.

Nominated by Alvin Santander, Bank of Hawaii

Ichiro Inamura, Small Business Person, City and County of Honolulu

Ichiro Inamura, Orion Intl., dba Arancino

City and County of Honolulu Winner

Since 1994, Ichiro Inamura has been serving delicious Italian cuisine to Hawaii visitors and locals, alike. His restaurant enterprise now comprises of three locations and employs over 200 people; annual sales continue to increase year over year, and the company is in a period of growth and prosperity. The company supports the Kapiolani Culinary Institute, Aloha Harvest, the Japanese Chamber, Japanese Cultural Center, Habilitat, Honolulu firefighters, and other organizations.

Nominated by Angeline Shiroma, First Hawaiian Bank

Russell Ruderman, Small Business Person, State of Hawaii

Russell Ruderman, Island Naturals Market Inc., Island Naturals Kona Inc., and Island Naturals Pahoa Inc.

State of Hawaii Winner

Russell Ruderman, president of the Island Naturals companies, had an expansive vision of success. Riding the momentum of healthy, natural and organic food trends, he established locations in Hilo, Pahoa and Kailua Kona and has become the “go-to” source for produce, prepared food items, and nutritional supplements. The company employs 150 people and sales have increased more than 40% over the last three years. The Island Naturals companies have also been honored as the Best Health Food Store for 9 years on Hawaii Island, inspiring customers and businesses with its healthy offerings and environmentally conscious operations. Russel is also an involved citizen and community activist who has supported fair trade, food safety and other initiatives. Most recently, he was elected to the State Senate in 2014.

Nominated by Keene Fujinaka, Bank of Hawaii