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Hawaii’s Best Places to Work 2012

(page 4 of 5)

Medium Companies

Support for Employees’ Growth and Empowerment

1 Bowers + Kubota Consulting
U.S. Headquarters: Waipahu

Employees:  109
Average annual pay:  $75,000 (salaried)
Paid days off a year:  15

The architecture and engineering consulting firm pays the entire healthcare premium for employees and their dependents. Employees who excel in their performances may be considered for a company vehicle.  Approximately 40 percent of the staff are privileged to have a company vehicle and gas card.

There’s a strong sense of pride, passion and responsibility when you talk to B+K principals Brian Bowers and Dexter Kubota. No strangers to our Best Places to Work winners’ list, the two take the honor seriously.

“We always need to constantly improve and think about what we can do better,” says Bowers. “You can never rest on your laurels because people will catch up to you pretty quickly.”

Bowers is referring to how his firm serves clients and treats its employees.

“The bottom line is serving our clients,” he explains. “But if we keep our employees happy, they will serve our clients well.”

Employees seem happy, indeed. With turnover virtually non-existent, except for three long-term staff members who retired last year, B+N is thriving with 109 employees. That’s compared to the 10 employees who survived the firm’s downsizing in the early 1990s.

When the company’s past president passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 1997, Bowers and Kubota, who had been with the firm for 11 and 10 years respectively, took over company leadership and set the focus for the future.

“Memories of the layoffs drive us to constantly look at how we do things,” says Kubota.

They’ve created an office culture that can be described as “progressive,” with a Web-based wellness program, health benefits that include 100-percent premium coverage for employees and their dependents, many firm-related activities, and a commitment to each employee’s personal growth and empowerment.

“They support our individual passions and aspirations,” says Aaron Ackerman, who wears two hats, as a project architect and sustainability project facilitator.

Ackerman has taken a keen interest in the Living Building Challenge, a certification program for sustainable buildings. The firm will be sending him to the Pacific Northwest this year to learn more.

“Both of us were involved in sports growing up,” says Bowers, a retired one-star general. “Dexter and I want to promote a team environment and a coaching atmosphere. I don’t like the word ‘boss.’ ”


Happy Employees = Satisfied Clients

2 PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  51
Average annual pay:  $70,000 (salaried)/$47,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  17

Ask manager Heather Yanazaki what’s the best perk at PKF and she’ll tell you it’s the trip to Las Vegas.

At the end of last year, the staff was treated to a vacation in Sin City on the company dime.

“This was the second time we’ve done it in the last year and a half, and it’s a way to thank our employees,” says partner Trisha Nomura.

But the trip was partly educational, says managing partner Patrick Oki. “We took a tour of the hotel and compared its customer service to ours,” he explains. “It was important for us to understand why someone would stay at a nice hotel like the Aria instead of a cheaper hotel. It’s the same in our business: Why would a client choose us over a smaller CPA firm? It comes down to the level of service.”

Aria management discussed how it makes its employees’ jobs easier by providing benefits such as a first-rate cafeteria and laundry service.
Oki says the accounting business is similar to the hospitality or any other business. “If we take care of our employees, they’ll take care of our clients.”


Thinking Outside the Box

3 N&K CPAs Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  53
Average annual pay:  $83,000 (salaried)/$48,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  10

N&K managing principal Alton Miyashiro fondly recalls what he believes to have been the defining moment at the firm, when a concerted effort was made to develop the workplace culture.

“It was in 2001 when we formed the ‘WE’ committee,” says Miyashiro. “WE” is an acronym for “Work Environment.”

“At that first meeting, I turned off the lights and put a box on my head, turned the lights back on and said, ‘OK, we’re going to get out of the box, think differently and this is the start.’ ”

Since then, the WE committee has overseen a variety of ideas to promote a better work environment, including massages, stress-relief day during tax season and free beverages.

The firm’s commitment to a positive work culture is reflected in the presence of Dennis Higashiguchi, N&K’s manager of consulting services. He’s in charge of coaching, marketing and training at the firm.

“Dennis is not an accountant, so he thinks out of the box,” explains Miyashiro. “He’s the one who came up with our first Halloween party, where people actually came dressed up. For an accounting firm, it’s something you would never, ever see.”


All other medium companies listed alphabetically

Allana Buick & Bers
U.S. headquarters:  Palo Alto, Calif.

U.S. employees:  85
Hawaii employees:  15
Average annual pay:  $105,193 (salaried)/$58,352 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  5

The architectural and engineering firm’s commitment to health and fitness is reflected in free membership to 24 Hour Fitness as part of its benefits package. Discounted fitness memberships are available for employees’ dependents.


Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees: 162
Average annual pay:  $61,340 (salaried)/$30,126 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  15

The 75-year-old credit union pays 100 percent of the healthcare premiums for staff members and their dependents. Family members are invited to the annual company picnic.


Atlas Insurance Agency Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:   110
Average annual pay:  $65,358 (salaried)/$33,317 (hourly)
Vacation days  a year:  10
Sick days a year:  12

Atlas shows its commitment to employee wellness through weekly tai chi classes on premises. Employees can also purchase fresh fruits and vegetables monthly when the company brings a local farmer on site.


Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

U.S. employees:  67
Hawaii employees:  65
Average annual pay:  $79,700 (salaried)/$47,700 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  9

This engineering firm believes in promoting a healthy life and work balance, offering a compressed workweek with half-day Fridays. A personal trainer comes in once a week for an hour to lead staff workouts. 


Certified Hawaii
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  144
Average annual pay:  $59,448 (salaried)/$33,372 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  5
Sick days a year:  12

Certified Hawaii maintains an onsite fitness facility with a TV, exercise equipment and a shower. Massages are offered once a month and employees are allowed to bring their children to the office when they do not have childcare.


Goose’s Edge Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Kailua-Kona

Employees:   61
Average annual pay:  $70,000 (salaried)/$30,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:   5

This family-run business operates gas-station convenience stores in Hawaii and California. The company pays for the DOE’s A+ (After-School Care Plus) program for employees’ children.


Hale Ola Kino
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  50
Average annual pay:  NA
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  8

The healthcare center at One Kalakaua Senior Living Retirement Community is a kid-friendly environment where keiki can come any time. All staff members receive free meals when they work on a holiday.


Hickam Communities LLC
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  77
Average annual pay:  $62,138 (salaried)/$41,221 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  24

Hickam Communities’ full-time employees are eligible for quarterly incentive bonuses of 5 percent to 10 percent of their salaries. The amount awarded is based on company and individual performance benchmarks.


Honolulu HomeLoans Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  71
Average annual pay:  NA

Top sales personnel are recognized on a monthly and annual basis. The company is committed to being green with a 100-percent virtual mortgage banking system as all documents are scanned electronically, shredded and recycled. 


U.S. headquarters: Kapolei

Employees:   65
Average annual pay:  $61,458 (salaried)/$30,619 (hourly)
Paid days off a year: 12

InPeace provides full weeks of paid time off at Spring Break and Christmas so employees can strengthen their own families. The non-profit educational organization also offers employees the option to work flexible schedules so they may include exercise and fitness into their daily activities.


Island Insurance Company Ltd.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  198
Average annual pay: $70,060 (salaried)/$36,134 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  12

Employees enjoy “Half Staff Days” when they are allowed days off at their regular pay with the intent for it to be used for relaxation and family time. For a special summer event, the company closes for a half-day and rents out a bowling alley where employees can take part in cosmic bowling, Wii, bingo and karaoke.


Kokua Kalihi Valley
Comprehensive Family Services
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  170
Average annual pay:  $36,000 (salaried)/$21,500 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  17

KKV has a bike exchange program in which employees can use a bike to ride to different KKV sites. To promote fitness, Zumba is led by staff four mornings a week.


Maryknoll School
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:   184
Average annual pay:  $52,039 (salaried)/$23,486 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  15

Free after-school care and programs are offered for children of employees and tuition reimbursement for employees’ children attending Maryknoll School. Employees declining medical coverage receive an additional $50 per pay-period as additional compensation.


ProService Hawaii
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

U.S. employees:  112
Hawaii employees:  111
Average annual pay:  $69,922 (salaried)/$36,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  15

ProService Hawaii employees take part in an annual company retreat consisting of a weekend getaway. Other company events include an annual family picnic, holiday party and casual/breakfast Fridays.


Saint Louis School
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  115
Average annual pay:  $50,200 (salaried)/$7,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  10

Employees enjoy spiritual renewal through employee retreats three times a year. Tuition discounts are available to those who have worked for Saint Louis for one year. A pau hana barbecue takes place at the end of each quarter.


Skyline Eco-Adventures
U.S. headquarters:  Pukalani

Employees:   59
Average annual pay:  $60,000 (salaried)/$32,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  6

The company will reimburse staff members up to $75 twice per year to enter any fitness-type event, such as a running event, surf contest, etc.


Swinerton Builders
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  76
Average annual pay:  $100,300 (salaried)/$42,700 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  7

The accounting department rings in the new year with mochi for everyone. Employees have monthly get-togethers for team-building activities and events at places such as Kualoa Ranch, Downtown First Friday and more.


Y&M Radiology
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  59
Average annual pay:  $140,000 (salaried)/$51,900 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  15
Sick days a year:  13

Employees’ families are invited for movie night at a local theater where a short meeting is held and hot dogs, popcorn and drinks are available for all. Stress relief and meditation take place at staff meetings.


Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Apr 27, 2012 10:17 pm
 Posted by  FriedRice

NYLife's retention rate goal of New Org Agents is 30 percent. They can't get to that number.

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