LIHUE — Gov. David Ige nominated Carleton Ching to serve as chairman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Kekoa Kaluhiwa to the position of first deputy on Friday.
“Stewardship of Hawaii’s unique resources is one of the most critical tasks of state government, and Carleton Ching has the heart, knowledge and skills to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources,” Ige said in a press release. “No one understands better the complex issues this department handles and how to balance the needs of our environment and our residents.”
Ching devoted much of his career to creating communities for Hawaii’s residents. He spent a decade with the Hawaii Housing Authority, where he specialized in building affordable homes. He also worked for Westloch, Inc., Castle & Cooke Kunia, Molokai Ranch and SSFM International.
Currently, Ching is the vice president of community and government relations for Castle & Cooke Hawaii. Ching graduated from Kaimuki High School and earned a business administration degree from Boise State University, where he was a left tackle for the Broncos.
“It’s humbling to be asked to protect Hawaii’s natural, cultural and historic resources,” Ching said.
Kaluhiwa began his career as a fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and then as a graduate intern in the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools. He also worked in U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka’s Honolulu office, and later served for two years as the director of external affairs for First Wind Energy.
He is currently a principal at Kuanoo Communications, where he helps clients understand the unique cultural and environmental challenges of doing business in Hawaii.
“Kekoa Kaluhiwa learned about leadership from his kupuna,” Ige said. “He has the education and skillset to carry out his kuleana in an ever-changing world. I know he will make a difference.”
Both appointments are subject to approval by the Senate.