It was a Commodore 64.
“I remember my dad buying it for us,” said Kelly Ueoka.
It was the Hanapepe boy’s introduction to computers and what, at the time, was the latest technology. And even though he was just 4 or 5 years old at the time, he was fascinated by what it could do — and what he could do with it.
It was the first step in what would became a lifelong interest, more of a passion, really, in the world of high-tech.
“I never wanted to do anything else,” he said.
Ueoka maintained that singular focus.
He graduated from Kauai High School in 1997, then earned his degree in computer information systems from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. He climbed the proverbial ladder, working with private companies, government agencies and utilities.
In 2011, he landed a job on Oahu with Pacxa, a technology solutions provider. Since, the company has flourished. It is Hawaii’s largest information technology group providing an extensive range of end-to-end solutions for many of Hawaii’s top 250 businesses, small- and medium-sized companies, and government and nonprofit agencies.
Pacxa works with its clients to meet their technology needs by tailoring solutions and leveraging partnerships with industry leading hardware and software providers to improve operational efficiency and increase revenue.
Ueoka’s performance recently earned him promotion from executive vice president to president, overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations and the expansion of Pacxa’s products and services.
Gordon Bruce, another senior executive, was promoted from president to new chairman, and will remain chief executive officer.
“I am excited to continue my work with Kelly and the Pacxa team to provide creative, cost-effective solutions to small businesses as well as large enterprises,” Bruce said in a press release. “By supplying the best technology support services in the state, we can also continue to offer the highest level technology jobs and keep talented students here in Hawaii.”
Both men were instrumental in guiding the company’s revenue growth of over 200 percent since late 2012. Pacxa has grown from 70 employees to more than 90 since its inception that same year.
Pacxa’s partnerships include technology leaders such as Oracle, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.
“I’m excited to be a part of an amazing team whose vision is to build state-of-the-art, innovative technology solutions for Hawaii and beyond,” Ueoka said. “We’ll continue to enhance our core technology solutions and other capabilities that we deliver in collaboration with our global partners to offer the most advanced platform of tools to help Hawaii businesses perform faster, more securely and with greater operational efficiency than they could before.”
Ueoka said finding the right skill set can be challenging, but part of Pacxa’s mission is to attract the talent in technology from Hawaii to stay in Hawaii, and draw back those who left the Aloha State.
He loves seeing the company’s young staff succeed and grow. He encourages today’s teens interested in technology to do research, attend job fairs and spend time surfing the Internet to track down what they want to know.
“Getting information from the right places online is a big start,” he said.
Ueokea, who puts in work weeks of 60 to 80 hours, still has family on Kauai and visits often.
“I love Kauai,” he said. “I’ll never forget Kauai.”
He relaxes by playing video games when he can, but in the fast-moving world of high-tech and demand for Pacxa’s services as increases, he said he’s “always online, never not working, never not responding.”
That’s no problem.
He loves it just as much today as he did when he hit the keys on that old Commodore 64.
“More so now,” he said. “I love the business aspect to it and helping companies and people succeed.”