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Globally Connected: Locally Sustainable

(page 13 of 15)

Photo: U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and Congresswoman Colleen
Hanabusa at a Kapolei Chamber meeting where they shared their
views and support of Kapolei. Also in the picture are Kapolei
Chamber board members Theresia McMurdo and David Rae.

The Voice of Business in Kapolei

Kapolei Chamber of Commerce

One of the signs of a community’s growth is the time when it makes sense for businesses to form their own chamber of commerce. That time came in 2008, when business leaders established the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce. By then, there were more than 800 businesses in the region generating more than 27,000 jobs.

“Our mission is to be the voice of business for Kapolei,” said Chamber president Attilio Leonardi. “We focus on issues that are important to Kapolei, which in many cases are also important to Hawaii.”

Any economic growth in the current climate is important to the state. And Kapolei has been pulling its weight with more than 900 companies now accounting for over 36,000 jobs.

“I think it would be fair to say that Kapolei could be propping up the state’s economy,” Leonardi said. “You just have to drive around and see all the construction at places like UH West Oahu, the Kroc Community Center, the FBI Center at Kalaeloa, the Hawaiian Homes residential projects, and the really big one — Disney’s $800 million Aulani Resort at Ko Olina. It says a lot when a company like Disney invests in Kapolei.”

He gives credit to all the “early adapters” who bet on Kapolei’s potential. “There are two types of people — those that ‘wait and see’ and those that say ‘let’s jump in and do this.’ We’re lucky that Kapolei has more of the second type.”

They are the ones that see the advantage of coming to a city that’s new and growing. “Kapolei still has that brand new car smell, with lots of great roads to travel ahead of it,” he said. “This engine has tremendous momentum behind it, and we’re lucky to be along for the ride.”

Leonardi says the Chamber is especially excited about Kapolei’s opportunity to take center stage when it hosts APEC meetings at Ko Olina. “Organizers wanted to have something outside Waikiki, and they chose Ihilani Resort at Ko Olina,” he said. “The APEC forum is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Hawaii, and Kapolei is extremely fortunate to play a role in it.”

Chamber members are also aware of the residual benefits of being showcased to an international audience via extensive media coverage. APEC organizers estimate that the expected coverage will equate to about $220 million in marketing value. “What more could we ask for?” Leonardi said.

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