LIHU‘E — County officials announced that long-time county employee Glenn Sato has been selected as the Kaua‘i County sustainability manager, a newly created position.
In his new role, Sato is tasked with determining where improvements can be made in various aspects of county operations as the county expands its efforts toward sustainability, a county news release states. Among the areas he will be examining are: energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, reuse, transportation, land use, important agricultural lands, affordable housing and other resources.
“Sustainability is a major area of focus for the county and having someone to guide this effort is essential to making great strides,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “Glenn has the skills, expertise and experience to handle this key position.”
A 23-year county employee, Sato expressed excitement about moving into his new position.
“I look forward to working with diverse groups and individuals concerned with sustainability and forging a long-term program for the county,” said Sato, noting that his past experiences and lessons learned will help him in his new job.
Much of Sato’s work has been in the environmental field, where his responsibilities included an array of assignments such as preparing environmental impact statements and environmental assessments, as well as managing studies that documented flora and fauna on military bases in Hawai‘i, according to the release.
From 1991 to 1993, he served as the director of the Office of Economic Development where he played a key role in the Hurricane Iniki economic recovery efforts focusing on agriculture, energy, film, tourism, and the Workforce Investment Act.
In his recent position as energy coordinator for the Office of Economic Development, Sato was responsible for many programs over the years including establishing the first used oil collection and recycling program in collaboration with Denny’s Repair and Service in Hanapepe and the former Lihu‘e Chevron operated by Glenn Konishi.
He also started the first public bus system on the island in 1988 with a state grant, the release states. The program was designed as a Park and Ride primarily for Kilauea Agronomics workers who commuted from the Westside, but it also made stops along the way.
“Back then, we offered Lapperts’ coffee and ice cream to promote ridership; I even served the coffee myself,” Sato said. “It had a humble beginning, and I’m glad to see its growth and success.”
He also pointed out that the Niihau photo-voltaic and Water Maker projects he managed a few years ago greatly increased his awareness of being sustainable.
“Niihau residents are quite resourceful and impressed me with their subsistence lifestyle,” said Sato.
Prior to working for the county, Sato managed an aquaculture operation and a papaya farm in Ki¯lauea, where a 7.5kW micro-hydroelectric plant provided power for these businesses.
“In such a small operation, we had to be very conservative and lead a very sustainable operation in order to survive,” said Sato. “We had very little resources to waste.”
Sato is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Ma¯noa where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in biology.
He is a certified grant writer and wrote numerous grants that resulted in grant awards to the county totaling over $2.8 million.
Originally from Hilo, Sato moved to Kaua‘i in 1978. He is married to the former Diane Takenaka. They have two grown children, Scott and Kristi (Moises).