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Hawaii's Best Places to Work 2013

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Large Companies

Fitness, Healthcare and Chances to Get Ahead

1 Servco Pacific
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 935 (Hawaii)
Years on the BPTW List: 9

Wednesday is Rick Ching’s favorite day of the week. It’s when the executive VP of Servco Pacific heads to the company’s fitness center in a converted warehouse in Mapunapuna to play basketball with more than a dozen coworkers.

“It builds camaraderie,” Ching says. “All titles are left at the door. Everyone is out there, sweating and laughing with each other. It’s all very positive.”

The fitness center, which is open to all employees, boasts free weights, machines, volleyball and basketball courts, and various fitness classes taught by certified instructors. It’s one example of Servco’s commitment to the health and well being of its more than 900 Hawai‘i-based employees.

“It’s definitely a win-win,” Ching says. “It’s certainly good for employees and their families to have them healthier and, for Servco, healthy employees are key to providing great customer service. It’s an expense in the short run, but, in the long run, it will pay off.”

Servco Pacific provides many other benefits that create loyalty and boost morale. For example, the company extends its long-term healthcare and medical-insurance benefits to family members, offers discounts on new vehicles and other products, provides financial assistance to employees who want to further their education, and recently launched a mentoring program to help employees advance within the company.

Todd Yee took advantage of the opportunities for advancement. He started 14 years ago as a technician in a Servco dealership. Six years ago, he got the chance to do something different. Now, he’s the product training and certification manager, instructing the sales staff on new vehicles, like the highly anticipated Lexus IS.

“I had been a technician for so long, it wasn’t a challenge anymore,” Yee says. “And even though I was scared to step away from all that I knew, it was the best decision I made in my life. I absolutely love my job.”


Standing With You Through Thick and Thin

2 Maui Divers Jewelry
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 502 (Hawaii) / 538 (U.S.)
Years on the BPTW List: 7

After about a year working at Maui Divers Jewelry, Alika Simpson was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He went to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for a life-saving bone-marrow transplant twice. He was there for six months both times, and the company supported him through it all. He even got care packages and get-well cards from his coworkers.

“(Maui Divers) held my position, with the same pay, and when I was better, I came right back to my old job,” says Simpson, 33, now the company’s benefits administrator and cancer-free for two years. “Everyone kept in contact. They were behind me and supporting me. I don’t think a lot of companies would have done that.”

That supportive environment is one reason the company has made the list for seven straight years. Other reasons include the employee stock ownership plan, which entitles employees to 38 percent of the company; supplemental insurance plans for cancer and accidents; transportation subsidies; generous vacation time; a 401k plan; and one of the liveliest Christmas parties around.

“It’s important for our employees to like their jobs because of the products we offer and the consumers we deal with,” says president and CEO Mary Beth Brenner. “We’re not just selling jewelry. We are selling an experience that many of our customers remember Hawaii with.”


Respect, Integrity, Creating the Future, and Excellence

3 First Insurance Co. of Hawaii
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 305 (Hawaii)
Years on the BPTW List: 4

A key to First Insurance’s success is its culture, says CEO Allen Uyeda.

“The primary goal of our employee benefits and programs is to attract, motivate and retain an engaged workforce,” he says. “But we recognize programs don’t add up to culture, people do.”

“If our employees are on the same page about what is important, we can persevere through all kinds of changes in the marketplace.”

The company uses the acronym RICE for its core values: Respect, Integrity, Creating the future, and Excellence. “Our RICE core values continue to provide an enduring foundation for how we treat each other, our customers and the larger community,” Uyeda says.

Karen Street, VP of organizational development, says that, since every employee shares responsibility for the company’s success, each should share in the rewards, which include cash bonuses. The company also supports employees’ professional growth by subsidizing industry-specific professional designations or accreditations as well as university study toward advanced degrees.

First Insurance has also been looking into flexible start times and expects to further use telecommuting as an option following a successful pilot program, Street says.

“I think First Insurance is a great place ... and we will continue to work to get better by staying attuned to the lives of employees,” she says.


Large Employers, 250 or More Employees (listed alphabetically)

American Savings Bank
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 1,201 (Hawaii)
Years on the BPTW List: 4

The bank’s employee appreciation month features thank-you cards to employees, a LEGO building contest and an all-employee party at Iolani Palace with live entertainment, food and prizes. Payday for all employees is every Friday.


Central Pacific Bank
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 931 (Hawaii)
Years on the BPTW List: 4

Employees at the bank enjoy casual Fridays and can take part in Employees’ Club events. In 2012, events included drive-in movie night, tailgating at a UH football game and Ohana Day at Polynesian Cultural Center. Three employees win the Core Values Award at the holiday party; two go to those who excel in helping clients and the other is given for community service.


City Mill Co. Ltd.
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 409 (Hawaii)
Years on the BPTW List: 6

Awards are given for excellent customer service at this local hardware store chain. Employees can receive $100 for keeping a safe workplace. A Store of the Year award is given annually; each employee at the store receives a polo shirt and $100, and the trophy is displayed at the store.


First Hawaiian Bank
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 2,052 (Hawaii) / 2,193 (U.S.)
Years on the BPTW List: 3

Employees have access to the main branch’s courtyard and patio facilities for family celebrations. Top sales performers and support staff are treated to an all-expenses-paid trip. The free employee-wellness program includes health assessments, flu shots and exercise classes. When an employee’s family member passes away, FHB sends a floral wreath in remembrance. Employees receive a lunch subsidy at the on-site cafeteria.


Parents And Children Together
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 418 (Hawaii)
Years on the BPTW List: 2

Every year, the nonprofit family-services provider holds a picnic at which PACT recognizes employees for their years of service. Employees receive two mental-health days a year. On their birthdays, employees receive gift certificates and birthday cards, and are listed in the company newsletter.

Do you work at a great workplace? Register for our Best Places to Work in Hawaii program! Registration is free.


Methodology for Best Places to Work

The Best Places to Work in Hawaii is a partnership between Hawaii Business and Best Companies Group of Harrisburg, Pa. BCG is an independent workplace-excellence research firm that partners with local publications and organizations to create similar lists across the U.S. and internationally.

The program is free and open to all publicly and privately held organizations in Hawaii, either for- or non-profit. To be eligible, companies must have 15 or more employees working in Hawaii. BCG surveys employees and assesses the company's policies and practices, evaluates the data and ultimately names the companies appearing on the list. Employees who fill out the surveys are granted anonymity, which encourages honest responses.

Companies are placed in their categories depending on the size of their Hawaii workforce; only the companies' Hawaii workforce is surveyed.

To learn more about the survey questions and the process, or to nominate a company for the 2014 list, visit

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.

Old to new | New to old
Oct 30, 2013 10:56 pm
 Posted by  joeshmoe2000

great website. wished I had found it sooner. Aloha!

Dec 5, 2013 04:49 pm
 Posted by  WWJD96744

Hickam Communities Housing is one of the worse places to work for. they put fear in the workplace, large turn around of senior regular employees, who quit because of poor management, maintenance superiors are close minded and will not let you voice opinions, individuals are shyed upon for voice out, employees are harrassed for work related injuries and illnesses, 90% of the maintenance staff are not happy with the system, poor morale, and lack of team spirit. On-call policies are in violation.

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