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The Hawaii Business 20 for the Next 20

(page 13 of 21)

    Photo: Courtesy of Wesley Machida

Wesley Machida, age 53

Administrator, State Employees’ Retirement System

About one of every three people in Hawaii is a current or retired state or county government employee, or an immediate family member. If you’re in that group, Wesley Machida is thinking about you.

Machida became administrator of the state Employees’ Retirement System in July 2010, where he manages a multibillion-dollar portfolio that pays out tens of millions of dollars in benefits every year to families across the state. It is a huge responsibility.

“The people we pay help to sustain the entire economy, the job market, at the grocery store. They even help pay for the grandchildren’s school tuition,” Machida says.

“They will spend 25 to 30 percent of their lives as retirees so we have to do a good job.”

Machida is fascinated by the range of people who depend on the ERS, ranging from retirees who have hit the century mark (often former public school teachers) to “homeless people who come into our office to pick up their checks.”

Machida spends much of his time talking to retirees, potential beneficiaries and many others about the need to keep the ERS strong and solvent, because right now it is underfunded by billions of dollars. “My job is to speak about the fiscal and financial status of the retirement system to anyone who will listen.”

A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Machida went to Pacific University in Oregon, but returned home to finish his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Hawaii when he discovered his father was regularly working three jobs to put him through school. “Every time I called home, I couldn’t talk to my dad. He was working,” Machida says.

Machida is eager to take the ERS to the next level, and he is convinced the new Abercrombie administration is behind him.

“I talked to the governor. He told me, ‘Do what’s fair.’ That’s what he wants to do. And I agree with that.”

 

1. Randy Baldemor
2. James Bennett
3. Kalei Cadinha-Puaa
4. Kainoa Daines
5. Matthew Delaney
6. Mark Duda
7. Charles Hew-Len
8. Michael Kaleikini
9. Daniel Leuck
10. Jennifer Li Dotson
11. Bryan Luke
12. Wesley Machida
13. Makani Maeva
14. Cameron Nekota
15. Robert Piper
16. Carol Reimann
17. Claire Sullivan
18. Michael Tresler
19. Raymond Vara, Jr.
20. Aulani Wilhelm

 

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