Growing up on Kauai taught Gregg Moriguchi to be self-reliant and gave him an appreciation for hard work.
Those traits elevated the 1991 Kauai High School graduate to his recent promotion of regional fire chief for the Federal Fire Department Navy Region Hawaii, a position that oversees the fire and emergency services of the military installations on Oahu.
“I spent a lot of time with my uncle, Dennis Furushima,” Moriguchi said. “Growing as a child, I spent a lot of time with him, and he taught me life lessons in a subtle way. It wasn’t outward and direct. He basically taught me values and responsibility.”
Furushima, a former Kauai Fire Department fire chief, inspired Moriguchi.
“Back in high school, the original plan was to be a paramedic in the EMS field,” Moriguchi said.
After high school, Moriguchi worked for the City and County of Honolulu as an EMT employee and later a supervisor.
He was one of six paramedics to start an EMS program for the federal fire department, a program he and the others built from scratch in 2000.
“I have the ability to make positive changes for the department to move it forward into the right direction,” he said.
Moriguchi’s goal is to establish standardization throughout the department that encompasses 13 fire stations as well as to develop a sense of pride within the department.
“One of the challenges was being able to understand the needs of involved stakeholders. There’s a lot of people involved,” he said. “Everybody has different values, different needs, different wants and being able to identify those needs and wants and trying to strike the right balance.”
Another challenge Moriguchi had to overcome throughout his career was his age.
“A lot of the people I dealt with, my peers, are older than I am,” he said. “There was the perception of youth equaling lack of experience. I was able to overcome those issues just by demonstration of my abilities. I let my actions speak for themselves.”
The Aiea resident spends the majority of his free time with his family and with his camera.
He advises the younger generation, especially those who aspire to become paramedics or firemen, to have a plan.
“Always have goals on the table,” he said. “When you reach those goals, establish new ones. Without a plan or goals, you have no direction.”