Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2021 Annual Meeting with Governor Ige
June 28, 2021
KAILUA-KONA – The chief executive for the State of Hawaiʻi, Governor David Ige, joined the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) for its annual meeting on Friday, June 25, 2021. As the keynote speaker, he presented relevant information to West Hawaiʻi’s business leaders that included his support for the tourism industry, increasing broadband infrastructure, economic diversification initiatives at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority and improvements at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole.
The meeting, held virtually, was sponsored by chamber members Hawaiʻi Community Federal Credit Union, Hawaiʻi Water Service and KTA Super Stores. The program included the installation of a new board of directors and the presentation of the Chamber’s Pualu Awards.
Ilihia Gionson with Hiehie Communications and KKCC Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Leadership Council opened the event with a beautifully articulated, thoughtful message based on the saying, “Ka moʻopuna i ke alo - the descendants in the present.” Gionson explained, “As we go about our work, and as we celebrate a year of achievements today, let us always keep in mind that we are not far removed from the generations before and after us. The decisions we make today are more for them than they are for us.”
After officially calling the annual meeting to order, Board Chair Mark Leong gave a heartfelt welcome and big mahalo to the membership, volunteers, staff and the board for their dedication and support throughout the past year. He encouraged members by stating, “Whether new or renewed, join one of our committees, get involved and be a part of the solution.”
Chair Leong recognized and thanked two board members, Porter DeVries with DeVries and Associates, who stepped off the board after six years of service, and Laura Varney with Hospice of Kona who served on the board for five years.
Governor Ige installed the 2021-2022 Board of Directors. They are:
- Chair Mark Leong: Lex Brodie’s Fast Lube & Big Island Express Car Wash
- Dennis Boyd: West Hawaiʻi Small Business Development Center
- Jane Clement: Hawaiʻi County, Office of the Mayor
- Vaughn Cook: Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris, & Knorek: Attorneys at Law
- Mendy Dant: Fair Wind Cruises
- Jen Johansen: Cyanotech
- Randy Kurohara: Creative Arts Hawaiʻi and Community First
- Pam Latinis: Venture Sotheby’s International Realty
- Hobbs Lowson: Bank of Hawaiʻi
- Clayton McGhan: Aliʻi Health Center
- Jonathan Mitchell: Parker Ranch
- Sharon Sakai: Communications Consultant
- Nancy Sakamoto: Kona Commons
- Doug Simons: Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope
- Dale Suezaki: Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Throughout the program, board leaders presented the KKCC Pualu Awards. These prestigious awards recognize businesses, organizations and individuals that work together for West Hawaiʻi in providing business leadership and community service. According to the Hawaiian Dictionary, pualu means “all together, in unison, and cooperative.”
Sharon Sakai, KKCC North Kona Vice Chair, explained, “Though the past year was a time of uncertainty and struggle, many businesses, organizations and individuals demonstrated leadership and innovation in the face of crisis. By working together we strengthened our position in responding to the pandemic and provided positive impacts for our community.”
2021 KKCC Pualu Award Winners:
- Aliʻi Health Center - Community Health
- IRONMAN - Kahiau Together - Local Food Distribution
- Hawaiʻi Community Federal Credit Union - Financial Leadership
- Jack’s Diving Locker - Community Education
- Kona Commons - Business Innovation
- Ross Wilson, Jr. - 2021 Chamber Member of the Year
About KKCC: As the largest business advocacy organization on Hawaiʻi Island, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce exists to provide leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawaiʻi. Since 1968, this organization has worked to enhance the quality of life for the community through a strong, sustainable economy. For more information, go to www.kona-kohala.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-329-1758.