May, 2015

Instrument of Aloha

Manufacturers, performers and teachers share their passion

Since the ukulele arrived in the Islands late in the 19th century, it has been a symbol of Hawaii and the aloha spirit. That aloha is shared widely and generously by ukulele makers, performers and teachers, both locally and around the world. Alan Okami, president of ukulele manufacturer KoAloha, says his parents, who founded the Read the full article…

May, 2015

UH-Hilo: Hawaii’s Under-the-Radar Hotbed of Innovative Research

Within the UH system, the Hilo campus is like the younger kid who is always overlooked in favor of his more celebrated big brother, Manoa. Yet, younger siblings often accomplish remarkable things even if they don’t always get the recognition.

Among the faculty and administrators  I spoke with, there is a strong consensus that UH Hilo deserves to be recognized as an innovative research and educational center in its own right. “We’re a small but comprehensive university,” says Matthew Platz, vice chancellor of academic affairs. “You’ll see cutting-edge scholarship in all areas: indigenous language, aquaculture, Read the full article…

May, 2015

This Company Is All Sewn Up

If you coach a local sports team that needs uniforms or run a business that uses logo wear, you probably know about Kenjo Inc. in Kalihi. For 28 years, Sidney Lynch has been the quiet, steady force behind Hawaii’s second-oldest embroidery factory.

My former life and business partner, Mike Wu, and I started Kenjo in 1987 as a totally new business,” recalls Lynch, now 56. “We had no idea what we were doing and did everything we could possibly do wrong! “Mike’s brother-in-law had a company here importing shirts from Taiwan and the embroidery was being done Read the full article…

May, 2015

When Disaster Strikes, MERCI Responds

THE APP Mobile Emergency Response and Command Interface, aptly called MERCI, is an app developed by Oceanit Laboratories Inc. that streamlines the documentation of disasters to speed recovery and relief. All on one device, MERCI allows people to record the severity, location and cost of the damage after a disaster, natural or manmade. Users can Read the full article…

May, 2015


The University of Hawaii has produced many innovations but struggled to turn them into successful businesses. Here are four products that show great promise and may help UH’s commercialization programs turn the corner.

For many years, Vassilis Syrmos didn’t spend much time thinking about business. An electrical engineer with a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech and a new career in academia, he was happy to focus on pure research. “When you’re a young assistant professor,” he explains, “your science is the most important thing to you.” That changed in Read the full article…

May, 2015

Talk Story with David Lassner

President, University of Hawaii System

David Lassner says he is on a mission to improve the UH system’s services to students and the community – to make “the elephant dance,” as he calls it. He explains where he intends to lead UH and how. It was not your idea to vie for this job; the UH Board of Regents asked Read the full article…