20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2014
(page 8 of 8)
Photo: Courtesy of Danny Boren
Daniel "Danny" Boren has been an entrepreneur from the time he sold golf balls on the side of the road as a child.
By 15, he was a sales representative for a snowboard company, though mostly selling to his friends. By 23, he and his father had created the first zipline adventure tour in the U.S. – on Maui, where he grew up.
“I’ve always been figuring out what I enjoyed doing and trying to make that into a business,” says Boren, who runs Skyline Eco-Adventures LLC, which now includes four ziplines that draw up to 80,000 visitors a year.
“For the first few years, we were the only ones doing this,” says Boren. “There are now more than 200 in the U.S. and more than 20 in Hawaii. But our Haleakala tour was the first commercial zipline tour in the U.S.”
Boren and his father brought the idea back from Costa Rica, where they’d gone for a college spring break. With investments from family and friends, the Borens hired a land-use consultant and created their first tour on the slopes of Haleakala.
“Typically, the way a zipline tour works is it’s not just a single ride but has multistations. We never focused on the longest ride, but more about creating an experience: Going on a hike in the woods. You get to areas where instead of climbing down the valley you hook on and fly above it. You have two guides with you, and are hooked in by a guide at every spot.”
Boren has since become “a sought-after industry consultant,” notes Alvin Santander, VP and commercial-banking officer at Bank of Hawaii. Skyline has been named by Hawaii Business as one of Hawaii’s Best Places to Work for the past five years.
Since his first successful venture, Boren has added three more tours: one above Kaanapali on Maui, another on Hawaii Island near Akaka Falls (a franchise) and another this past summer in Poipu on Kauai.
Boren is passionate about giving back to the community. Each November, he does a fundraiser for local charities on Hawaii’s Arbor Day, planting up to 1,000 trees. He also helps to eradicate invasive species and gives 1 percent of his sales to environmental groups. To date, that has amounted to $600,000.
“We’ve been giving back since the day we started,” Boren says.
VP for Investments,
Scott Kuioka sympathizes with commuters who make the trek each day between Honolulu and West Oahu. He’s done that.
“For most of my grade-school years at Iolani, our family lived in Waipio Gentry and Mililani,” says Kuioka. “We left the house before the sun came up, got to town, had breakfast and went to school. Then in the afternoon, we’d make the drive back home in traffic. It wasn’t fun back then, but those who make that commute today have it much worse.”
He says thinking of those who spend hours in traffic is one of the many reasons he’s passionate about his job at Island Insurance.
“My job involves evaluating opportunities in Hawaii to make good strategic investments to make life better for the people of Hawaii,” he says. “A good example is our investment in 801 South Street. While there are reasons people oppose the project, I truly believe the overwhelming need for access to affordable housing in town, so people don’t have to spend so much time commuting, outweighs the arguments against it.”
Following the birth of his first child in 2006, Kuioka made a difficult quality-of-life decision: Like many of Hawaii’s best and brightest, he took a pay cut when he left a lucrative mainland job to come home. He was a portfolio manager at Mellon Financial in San Francisco when he accepted a job with Bank of Hawaii.
During his five years with the bank, Kuioka helped lead a transition to a different approach to serving trust clients, moving from investment managers picking stocks to the use of outside consultants.
In 2012, he met Colbert Matsumoto, Island Insurance’s chairman and CEO, who told him about an opportunity managing investments through Tradewind Capital Group. TCG reinvests the earnings of shareholders of Island Holdings, the parent company of Island Insurance.
Kuioka was inspired by the idea that TCG made investments in businesses that could help Hawaii thrive economically. In April, he will have been on the job for two years.
“He has a quiet confidence that reveals itself when he confronts a challenge,” says Matsumoto. “That’s when he demonstrates his willingness to take on situations that many others would avoid or defer. When there’s an elephant in the room, Scott isn’t afraid to call it out.”
Kuioka says his job allows him opportunities to do good things. “To be able to use my experience to make Hawaii a better place is something I work toward every day.”
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