David Iha: I’ve got the skill set for KIUC

Editor’s note: Today marks the fourth, of seven profiles of candidates running for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors. The candidates are competing to fill three seats made available as three-year terms expire on the nine-man board. The candidates are: Carol Bain, Jim Mayfield, Peter Thielen, Dee Crowell, David Iha, Raymond W. Paler and Allan A. Smith. Ballots were mailed the week of Feb. 25 and voting will close at 12 p.m., March 17. Today’s profile is David Iha.

Helping manage KIUC’s quarter-billion budget is within reach for David Iha, who touts his fiscal experience at the University of Hawai‘i as the linchpin of his qualifications.

Iha, who is running for a seat on the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors, was an executive administrator at the University of Hawai‘i until he retired Oct. 1. While a UH administrator he managed a budget near $1 billion.

“I’ve seen large budgets before,” Iha said. “Both state appropriations of federal dollars and other special funds the university generates.”

Iha already has researched the fundamentals of the KIUC budget, as well as its challenges, he said.

“It’s my understanding the large budget KIUC has is related to oil cost and 150 employees. At the university when I served as executive administrator, we had about 10,000 employees.”

Public service has always been of keen interest to Iha, he said, noting he has an onslaught of volunteer experience both on Kaua‘i and in Honolulu.

“I think my whole life has been in public service,” he said. “I served on the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board, Kaua‘i Museum, Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, the Board of Directors on O‘ahu, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and the American Council of Education over the past 20 years.”

Iha hopes his next challenge will be helping the island find reliable energy sources.

“It’s hard with a limited population base, and so as a board member, my interest is to first of all ask questions, to have consultants help us in addressing that need,” he said. “We all are interested in having a sustainable economy as well as trying to reduce our dependency on electricity through oil production. So it’s incumbent on us to ask the questions so that we can get answers to what is best for rate payers on Kaua‘i.”

One alternative source that could kill two of the island’s problems with one proverbial stone is trash, he said.

“I’d like to see how we can recycle our garbage and convert it to energy,” he said. “That would take care of the waste problem and energy reduction. We’d reduce the flow to the dumps and reduce our dependency on oil.”

• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or agregg@kauaipubco.com

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