Kaua’i native Mata named to head TSA in Lihu’e

Officials with the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) this week named Kaua’i native Sharlene K. “Shar” Mata as the federal security director at Lihu’e Airport.

She replaces Shannon Garcia-Hamilton, who accepted a similar position in her native California.

“Shar brings a wealth of knowledge to this position, as both an airline and TSA employee,” said Dennis Clark, the TSA Western Area director in Washington, D.C., in a press release.

“I am confident the airport, TSA employees and travelers into and out of Lihu’e will benefit from her exceptional abilities.”

Mata began working for the TSA in 2002, and has served in several capacities, including administrative officer, assistant federal security director (AFSD) for screening, and AFSD for operations.

Previously, Mata was the district sales manager for Hawaiian Airlines, and assistant airport manager at Lihu’e Airport when Hurricane ‘Iniki devastated the island of Kaua’i in September of 1992.

Then, she was with the state Department of Transportation Airports Division.

Shortly thereafter, she accepted a job with the County of Kaua’i as project manager of the hurricane-recovery efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mata then returned to the airport industry as the assistant airport manager at the Honolulu International Airport, until she accepted her first position with the TSA.

Mata holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

The position of federal security director was created by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act signed by President George Bush on Nov. 19, 2001.

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