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20 For the Next 20

Twenty people to watch

(page 1 of 5)

Energetic and intelligent leaders may be our most valuable resource. We count on them to inspire us, to be our problem solvers, and to guide us as we build our future.

We need to nurture and support our emerging leaders, and that’s why Hawaii Business has devoted the following pages to identifying 20 emerging leaders for the next 20 years.

About 200 people were nominated and it was difficult to narrow that list to 20. Age was not a factor. We looked for breakout people who are already having an impact on Hawaii and appear likely to be even more important leaders in the next two decades. We chose them from different fields: business, public service, innovation and politics. (To avoid favoritism in an election year, we did not select anyone who is running for higher office and limited our list to just one elected politician.)

Be assured that many of the people who were not selected this time will be on our watch list as we pick another 20 next year. We’ll be soliciting nominations again in the fall.

Many people nominated this year are already well-known, major players in Hawaii. We wanted to reserve the list of 20 for those who are a little under the mainstream radar, so for some prominent, but still-rising leaders, we created a second list of “Ten for Today” (page 38).

Finally, we saw another group of young and dynamic people we also wanted to recognize, so we created a third list of “Five for the Future” (page 31, with profiles online at

We hope you enjoy reading about our 20 emerging leaders. We feel they are a strong foundation for Hawaii’s future.


Photo: Expressions Portrait Design

Keith Amemiya, 44

Executive director,
Hawaii High School Athletic Association;
Starting March 8,
chief administrative officer,
UH Board of Regents

Recalling his time on the Punahou track and cross-country team, Keith Amemiya describes himself as a “marginal athlete, skill-wise.” As the executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, he was phenomenal.

After six years as an attorney in commercial litigation, a colleague suggested the HHSAA job in 1998. The association had been under the state Department of Education’s jurisdiction, but became an autonomous nonprofit in 1996, meaning it needed other sources of revenue.

Amemiya’s accomplishments there are staggering: multiyear statewide TV and radio agreements; numerous corporate sponsorships; double the number of state championships with nearly an equal number for boys’ and girls’ sports; and the HHSAA Foundation for scholarships are just a few of his creations and successes.

“Keith is a very strategic thinker and a very organized thinker, and I think he is able to see the big picture, ” says Bruce Nakamura, an attorney at Kobayashi Sugita & Goda, which worked closely with HHSAA. He adds that Amemiya is easy-going and well-connected to private- and public-sector movers and shakers.

“From the kamaaina perspective, he’s the ideal, because he’s done the unthinkable – he’s innovated and recreated this otherwise antiquated entity, but he’s done it within the context of being a local guy,” Nakamura says.

Amemiya managed the interests of 94 public and private schools statewide while reforming HHSAA. Those skills will prove valuable at his new job as the liaison between the UH Board of Regents and the system’s president and chancellors. 

– JU

Photo Courtesy of Bryan Andaya

Bryan Andaya, 38

Vice president and COO,
L&L Drive-Inn

Bryan Andaya recently traveled to Ookala, a tiny town near Hilo, to see the plantation home in which he was raised. Though the house no longer existed, the trip helped him connect the different parts of his life.

“I’ve come full circle, ” says Andaya, who was raised by Filipino immigrants – his mother picked macadamia nuts; his father was a sugar-cane farmer. “To come from that to where I am now, in many ways I’ve come so far, and in some ways I don’t feel any different,” he says.

Andaya left the Big Island more than 20 years ago to study law in Oregon and Chicago. In 1997, he returned to Hawaii to work for the Supreme Court and the law firm Imanaka Kudo & Fujimoto.

Today, Andaya is chief operating officer of L&L Drive-Inn, one of the nation’s fastest-growing restaurant franchises with more than 200 locations worldwide.

“I hope to spread our aloha and the plate lunch to far and distant areas of the world,” says Andaya, who masterminded L&L’s “express model,” featuring lower startup costs and food-court-style operations.

“Bryan thinks five to 10 years ahead,” says Eddie Flores Jr., chief executive officer and president of L&L. “He has an uncanny ability to maximize efficiency and drive growth in existing business models.”

Andaya has made similar strides in the community as well. He is past president of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii and serves on the boards of the Hawaii Restaurant Association and the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu.



Photo: Olivier Koning

Andrew Aoki, 41

Co-founder, 3Point Consulting,
and political strategist

Andrew Aoki is not a “normal” guy – and that’s a compliment. He’s attended some of the best colleges in the nation, including Stanford University, Michigan Law School and Harvard University, but he doesn’t exactly scream Ivy League. He’s soft spoken, says he never really had a clear career path – even now – and is more concerned about making Hawaii a better place for future generations than padding his bank account.

“I don’t want much, and I don’t really have expectations from anybody, but I do want my kids – and their peers – to be able to pursue their dreams,” Aoki says. “The work I do now in public service will hopefully improve their future world.”

So far, that work has been extensive. Aoki is the co-founder of 3Point Consulting and was part of the original staff of Kanu Hawaii. He also helped develop College Connections Hawaii, a nonprofit created to improve educational opportunities for college-bound students, oversaw the grant program at the HMSA Foundation, was an analyst for the state auditor and served as program director for the YMCA.

Olin Lagon, director of Kanu Hawaii, says what impresses him most about Aoki is his selflessness, sound moral compass and expertise in many different disciplines. “Andrew is a good communicator, but he’s not a talker,” Lagon says. “He sees a problem, sees a need and then can strategize and implement a plan. He’s very grounded in Island values and always thinks big picture.”

Aoki is now taking his first stab at running a political campaign as the deputy campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie.


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
Mar 8, 2010 10:31 pm
 Posted by  csapdt

Wow, a few business people mixed in with union/democrat anti-business people. Surprising from a 'business' magazine. Maybe they should be watched for the threat they represent to businesses in Hawaii.

Aug 22, 2012 08:36 am
 Posted by

If you want real information on Keiki, check out

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