Born, raised and educated in Aberchirder, Scotland, John Sandison (1897-1970) was the manager of McBryde Sugar Co. on Kauai from 1942 to 1959.
Sandison only attended school until the age of 14, when poverty forced him to quit and go to work for a living.
In 1914, while World War I erupted in Europe, Sandison, then 16 years old, joined the world-famous British infantry regiment, the Gordon Highlanders.
Incredibly, Sandison fought and survived 20 months of trench warfare on the Western Front with the Gordon Highlanders.
He was commissioned a lieutenant and was twice wounded.
In 1921, two years after leaving the British Army, he suddenly and inexplicably abandoned Britain to settle in Hawaii, where he went on to a successful 38-year career in the Hawaiian sugar industry.
Sandison’s first job was cutting cane luna at Kohala Sugar Co. on the Big Island. Following his promotions to timekeeper and head luna at Kohala, he joined Koloa Sugar Co. on Kauai in 1925.
That same year, McBryde Sugar Co. hired him as its timekeeper. By 1938, he’d advanced to section luna, then division luna and later, assistant manager at McBryde.
When McBryde manager Cedric A. Baldwin was called to active U.S. Naval service in 1941 during World War II, Sandison was appointed acting manager. He became manager in 1942.
As McBryde’s manager, Sandison was noted for his good judgment and integrity.
Production at McBryde rose from 20,000 tons per year to 30,000 tons during his 17-year tenure, and McBryde paid a dividend in each of those years.
During the time he managed McBryde, Sandison also served as manager of Kauai Electric Co., increasing its capitalization from $50,000 to $1,000,000, while integrating into one unit a number of small electric companies from Koloa to Mana, as well as Kilauea.
John Sandison and his wife, Grace, made their home at Kahala, Oahu, following his retirement from McBryde and Kauai Electric in 1959.