Local Industry for Sunday — January 01, 2006

Kaua’i unemployment still way low

  • Kaua’i’s November unemployment rate was 2.7 percent, with just 850 people out of work, 31,900 people working, and a total labor force of 32,750, according to statistics from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The November mark meant that, for calendar 2005, for 10 out of 11 months, the island unemployment rate was under 3.0 percent. In October of 2005, Kaua’i’s unemployment rate was 2.6 percent, and in November of 2004 the rate was 3.3 percent. Kaua’i’s unemployment rate in both October and November was the lowest among counties in the state.

Hawai’i’s unemployment rate in November was 2.8 percent, up slightly from 2.7 percent in October, and down slightly from 3 percent in November 2004.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in November 2005, up slightly from 4.6 percent in October of 2005, and down from 5.2 percent in November 2004, the DLIR statistics revealed.

Topenio promoted at Bank of Hawaii

  • Sonia I. Topenio has been promoted from assistant vice president to vice president and branch manager of the Lihu’e branch of the Bank of Hawaii, a bank spokesperson said.

Her responsibilities include over-seeing sales activity and client relationships, in addition to managing the Lihu’e and Po’ipu branches and Kauai Processing Center.

Topenio joined the bank in 1981 as a management trainee. Prior to her most-current position, she was district service manager for the Kaua’i district, and branch manager for the Kapa’a, Princeville, Hanapepe and Waimea branches.

Topenio holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Fukuda named at ResortQuest Hawaii

  • Leaders at ResortQuest Hawaii, formerly Aston Hotels & Resorts, have named Tracy Fukuda information technology systems trainer. Fukuda will be responsible for providing basic computer hardware and software training throughout all of ResortQuest Hawai’i’s 28 properties, including the Kaua’i properties such as Waimea Plantation Cottages, Hanalei Bay Resort, Poipu Kai, and Islander on the Beach.

Prior to joining ResortQuest Hawaii, Fukuda was a business analyst with the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children, where she was responsible for new-user training and support of a computerized charting system.

She was also previously a systems analyst for San Diego-based Clinicomp International, whose leaders develop electronic medical-recordkeeping systems.

Born and raised in Hollywood, Calif., as a child Fukuda routinely visited members of her family in Kona on the Big Island every summer, to work in family-member-owned macadamia nut and coffee farms. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, in psychobiology, and a master’s degree in computer information systems from the University of Phoenix, San Diego.

Hunt named at Hyatt Resorts Hawaii

  • Steve Hunt has been named regional sales director for Hyatt Resorts Hawaii, covering Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Hyatt Regency Maui, and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. Katy Britzmann, director of sales and marketing for the Grand Hyatt Kauai, made the announcement recently.

Hunt has been with Hyatt Hotels Corporation for more than 14 years, and most recently served as associate director of sales at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, Md.

He began his Hyatt career in 1991 at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick as an assistant convention service manager, then worked at Hyatt Cambridge in Massachusetts for four years, followed by back-to-back positions at the Hyatt Regency Maui, with two years as a catering and convention services manager and two years in sales.

Then he went back to the Mainland for two years as senior sales manager for the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Naples, Fla.

“Steve is a fantastic asset to our team,” said Robert Purdy, executive director of sales, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. “He meets and exceeds sales quotas in every position he has held, and demonstrates strong leadership qualities.

“Even as far back as 1996, he was responsible for scheduling, forecasting, hiring, and training of all employees in banquets, beverage and convention services,” said Purdy.

“He’s a team player, and works well with both small and large groups, with a natural ability to inspire and motivate people. We are thrilled that he has accepted this position,” Purdy said.

Born in Brombourgh, England, Hunt moved to the United States in 1985, and attended Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I., were he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in hotel and institutional management.

He has won numerous awards for outstanding service, including the Oihana Maika’i award for the fourth quarter of 2000 and second quarter of 1998, manager of the quarter for the third quarter of 1995, manager of the month in September 1994, and manager of the future award in 1991.

“It is an honor to be selling the aloha spirit again for three wonderful resorts,” says Hunt. “I look forward to meeting and working with everyone.”

Chung directs Maryl Pacific Construction

  • Officials at Maryl Pacific Construction, Inc. have named Thomas Chung as vice president and director of operations for their offices on O’ahu, Maui and Kaua’i.

Chung will oversee field operations on the three islands, and coordinate as needed with operations on the Big Island. His multi-island responsibilities include direction of Maryl’s construction operations to ensure the company’s business plans and financial objectives are being met while optimum efficiency is achieved, a company spokesperson said.

His duties will entail employee and equipment resource allocation to various job sites, monitoring and evaluating project standards, quality, and controls, and ensuring job safety, the spokesperson said. Chung will serve as Maryl Pacific’s client liaison, so those clients have personal attention for the duration of their particular project, the spokesperson continued.

Chung is a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in finance and industrial engineering. He comes to Maryl with more than 20 years of construction experience. Within his short time at Maryl, Chung has already had much success in managing projects on O’ahu and Maui, the company spokesperson continued.

Most recently, Chung served as Maryl Pacific Construction’s senior project manager on the Hoku Scientific project in Kapolei on O’ahu.

“Tom’s promotion is well-deserved, and demonstrates his experience, work ethic and commitment,” said Maryl President Mark Richards.

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