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SBA Award Winners 2014

(page 8 of 8)

Hawaii County


Small Business Person of the Year

Melanie Gross
President, Wai Kai Inc.

Sponsor: Reginald Morimoto, First Hawaiian Bank

Since 2007, Melanie Gross and Wai Kai have consulted, designed and installed fresh- and salt-water ponds and aquariums for homes and businesses, primarily along the Kona Coast. Wai Kai also services hotels that want to feature koi ponds, salt-water aquariums and other living systems.

Exporter of the Year

David Bateman
Owner, Heavenly Hawaiian Ltd. dba Heavenly Hawaiian Farms

Sponsor: Christie Crawford, Bank of Hawaii

David Bateman commitment to Hawaii’s coffee industry has helped increase demand and prices for Kona and Hawaii coffee in the world marketplace. He is involved with the Hawaii Coffee Association and the Kona Coffee Council, and helps draft industry labor laws for Hawaii’s Legislature.

Family Owned Small Business of the Year

Robert “Chuck” Porter
Owner, Hawaii Tire Co. dba Lex Brodie’s Tires

Sponsor: Mason Yoshiyama, First Hawaiian Bank

Before he became a co-owner of the Big Island Lex Brodie’s Tire Company, Chuck Porter was the manager of the facilities in Hilo, Pahoa, Waimea and Kona for the company’s previous owners. Services have expanded to include quick-lube and oil-changing operations, and the Porter family continues to explore ways to help their customers stay on the move.

Financial Services Champion of the Year

James Yoshiyama
President, James M. Yoshiyama CPA Inc.

Sponsor: Randy Hu, First Hawaiian Bank

Certified public accountant James Yoshiyama is determined to help clients succeed. In addition to his CPA work, he helps private contractors navigate the complexities of licensing paperwork and also provides pro bono services – described as brutally honest – to guide someone with their startup idea.

Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year

Hazel Beck
Acting Center Director, Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network – West Hawaii Office

Sponsor: Christie Crawford, Bank of Hawaii

A Navy veteran raised in a military family, Hazel Beck is passionate about business enterprise for veterans. On Oahu, she was heavily involved with Boots 2 Business to help Marines transition to civilian life. Beck has counseled more than 50 veterans in areas such as operations management, startup planning and expansion.

Women in Business Champion of the Year

Susan Moss
President, Trans-Pacific Design

Sponsor: Ian Kitagawa, First Hawaiian Bank

Susan Moss’s expertise is evident in collaborations that span residential, commercial and hospitality projects. She delivers designs that delight, on time and within budget. But she is also well known for her volunteer work with Rotary Club of North Hawaii, Malama Ohana and other groups.



Honolulu County


Small Business Person of the Year

Robert Barrett
President, Coastal Windows Inc.

Sponsor: Gregory Sitar, First Hawaiian Bank

Coastal Windows designs and manufactures long-lasting windows and doors that address Hawaii’s dynamic weather conditions: salty air, harsh sun and wind-driven rain. Since 1990, Robert Barrett has instilled pride, professionalism and ohana in his staff when it comes to customer contact and installation.

Entrepreneurial Success of the Year

Jeffrey Kan and Jianye Wu
President and VP, K & W Trading

Sponsor: Aaron Kanemura, Bank of Hawaii

In the summer of 1999, Jeffrey Kan and Jianye Wu founded K & W to provide beautiful and affordable Hawaiian jewelry. Intricately detailed pieces capture the essence of Hawaii’s flora and fauna from the mountains to the sea, each a tangible memory of the Islands.

Family-Owned Business of the Year

Monica Toguchi
President and Owner, Highway Inn

Sponsors: Jeffrey Ventura and Martha Camacho, First Hawaiian Bank

Monica Toguchi, granddaughter of Highway Inn founder Seiichi Toguchi, grew up with the family business that began in Waipahu and has since expanded to a restaurant in Kakaako, a general store selling Hawaiian salt, sauces and apparel, a seafood market, and a catering business.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Steve Haugse
Managing partner, Sunside Islands LLC dba Flip Flop Shops

Sponsors: Anne Blasque and Aaron Kanemaru, Bank of Hawaii

Steve Haugse’s sales and marketing skills make him a leader in both brick-and-mortar and on-line strategies. He is also a cofounder of BMT Media and a partner at Head High Media, where Haugse helps clients reach their marketing goals.

Women in Business Champion of the Year

Lisa Kracher
President, Staffing Solutions Hawaii

Sponsor: Ji S. Liu, First Hawaiian Bank

One of Lisa Kracher’s business goals is to become the leading staffing company in the Islands. But community service is also paramount to Kracher, whose support for many nonprofits has also helped instill compassion and spur personal growth among her staff.

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

Betty Hoang Brow
Executive VP, Bank of Hawaii

Sponsor: Thanh-Lo Sananikone, Vietnamese-American Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii

As president of the local Chinese and Vietnamese-American Chambers of Commerce, Betty Brow is a leader who believes in Hawaii and its ability to attract investors from Asia. Brow’s expertise and global perspective help her guide clients eager to woo foreign investment.

Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year

Charles “Chip” McClelland
President/CEO, Global Business Services Inc.

Sponsor: Keith Shimomura, Hawaii National Bank

Charles “Chip” McClelland has volunteered countless hours to mentor and teach new entrepreneurs and small business owners. Many veterans have benefitted from the time and expertise he has generously given in Hawaii and beyond.



Maui County Winners


Small Business Persons of the Year

Robert Campbell and David L. Tucker
President and VP, Maui Printing Company Inc.

Sponsor: Bard Peterson, First Hawaiian Bank

Robert Campbell and David Tucker have built their company on a foundation of excellence. They’ve set the bar with competitive prices and quality printing services, all while constantly assessing their papers, inks and final products for environmental impact.

Entrepreneurial Success of the Year

Brad Albert and Mattias Besasso
Managers and Owners, Rising Sun Solar

Sponsor: Royle Taogoshi, First Hawaiian Bank

Rising Sun’s success is a prime example of how the SBA helps small businesses prosper. The 10-year-old firm grew from a single employee to 80. A SBA 7(a) loan helped it beat the economic downturn by expanding to Hawaii Island and growing on Maui and Oahu.

Financial Services Champion of the Year

John Roberts
Principal, Niwao & Roberts, CPAs

Sponsors: Desiree Ting and Scott Sakakihara, Central Pacific Bank

John Roberts performs management consulting and audits, and is a tax expert and peer reviewer for the American Institute of CPAs. He is also the treasurer of the Rotary Club of Wailuku and past president of the Maui Chapter of the American Heart Association.

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

Sharon Zalsos
President, Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce

Sponsor: Rudy Balinbin, First Hawaiian Bank

Sharon Zalsos helps Filipino businesses succeed with her guidance and expertise. As president of the Filipino Chamber, she promotes the Filipino business community through festivals, scholarships, pageants and other projects that highlight the many contributions Filipinos make in Maui’s economy.

Women in Business Champion of the Year

Jennifer Brittan-Fulton
President, Exceptional Inc. dba Employers Options

Sponsor: Curtis Tom, Bank of Hawaii

Jennifer Brittan-Fulton founded Employers Options in 1992 and has helped Maui businesses weather economic downturns and succeed by providing temporary workers, payroll management, expert human resources guidance and up-to-date information on labor laws.



Kauai County Winner


Small Business Persons of the Year

Abby and Frank Santos
No Ka Oi Landscaping Services LLC

Sponsor: Larry Dressler, Bank of Hawaii

For 30 years, Frank’s creativity in landscape design and Abby’s business sense and friendliness have made No Ka Oi a business leader on Kauai’s west side. They and their employees are environmentally responsible by building healthy soils, selectively pruning, and appropriately mulching and irrigating clients’ properties.



SBA Helps Local Businesses

The Hawaii District Office for the federal Small Business Administration offers extensive loan programs, export financing, technical training and consultation to develop and expand businesses.  

One of those is the 7(a) loan program, says district director Jane Sawyer. “The 7(a) program is offered primarily through participating vendors and is SBA’s most common loan program.” Maximum loans are $5 million with no minimum.

Though it is not a requirement, many of the Hawaii SBA award winners over the years have been beneficiaries of SBA loan programs.

For four years, the Hawaii SBA office also has been offering the Emerging Leaders Initiative, which provides intensive training for seven months. “There’s a very small admission to the class; only 15 businesses (in Hawaii) can participate in the program,” Sawyer says.

Businesses run by Hawaii graduates of the program have been among the best performers nationwide at creating revenue and jobs.  

“We’ve been in the top five groups of performers every year,” Sawyer says.

Contact the SBA
(808) 541-2990

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