First week a breeze for chamber president

The first week at his new post as president of the Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce has been infused with “aloha,” said Randall “Randy” Francisco.

“It’s been great … everyone has been terrific and filled with hospitality,” he said. “Everyone seems happy that someone from Kaua’i has come back to be the president.”

The new president returned to his home island of Kaua’i after going to college and beginning his professional career on O’ahu and the Big Island.

Born and raised on Kaua’i, Francisco, 50, is a 1973 graduate of Waimea High School. “My parents live in Hanapepe,” he said.

Francisco graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo on the Big Island, prior to landing a job on the faculty at Kapiolani Community College. He moved on to be an administrator at Leeward Community College, then went on to work in, and develop, workforce training programs for 18 years.

Now he is back on Kaua’i to offer his expertise, learned in his off-Kaua’i experiences. “I just love Kaua’i’s rural character,” he said.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we extend a warm aloha and welcome to Randy,” said Sandi Kato-Klutke, Chair of Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, in a press release. “With Randy aboard and our newly elected Board of Directors, I am confident that 2006 will be a year of great accomplishments for our membership and the community at large. We know (Randy) will be out there talking story and listening to your concerns.”

Francisco plans to promote, develop, and improve commerce, quality growth and economic stability during his tenure. “I want to help strengthen and leverage the business climate and its assets; both the physical assets and the people,” he said.

He has many ideas how to attain those goals, and plans to develop them within the framework of the chamber’s strategic plan. “In the strategic plan for the upcoming year, I hope to align the programs and the budgets with the board’s plan for 2006,” Francisco said.

The plan for 2006 has yet to be developed, but the mission of the chamber is clear, he said, to foster and help grow small business on the island.

To help encourage business growth he will look at ideas such as historic community walks in the separate communities and then somehow tying them together into a whole island Kaua’i historic walking tour. “One idea to encourage business is to get tourists engaged with the community,” Francisco said.

He also thinks culinary tours may work as well as agricultural tours. “I would like to figure out ways to showcase made-on-Kaua’i products,” he said.

Francisco hopes to contribute to the community and the Chamber in any way he can while president. “I want to manage with aloha,” he said. “I want to live and do and conduct myself with aloha.”

But for now he is still settling in — learning the lay of the land, he says.

Next week he will dive right in with some chamber-sponsored training programs and a planned trip to meet the state Legislature.

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