2011 SBA Hawaii Award Winners

10 companies and individuals are honored as small-business leaders in Hawaii by U.S. Small Business Administration

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     Photo: Courtesy Soldier & Family Assistance Center,
     Schofield Barracks

Veteran Small Business Champion

Henry “Hank” L. Cashen, director, Soldier & Family Assistance Center, Schofield Barracks

The center may be a modest-looking facility, but its impact is big. It provides injured soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion with help ranging from financial advice to family counseling.

After multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers sometimes return home with physical injuries and mental challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. They use their recovery time at the center to plot their futures and many dream of starting their own businesses.

“Some of our soldiers are ready to leave the Army and are looking for educational and employment opportunities,” says Cashen, who became the center’s director in April 2009 after a 21-year career in the Air Force as a clinical social worker.

The center regularly invites specialists to talk to soldiers about debt management, business-plan writing, resume writing and job interviewing. Nonprofits, such as Special Olympics Hawaii, provide volunteer opportunities.

Naomi Masuno, a vice president at First Hawaiian Bank, has nothing but gratitude and admiration for Cashen and his 10-member team. “They’re there to assist the soldiers, men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend our country,” says Masuno, who nominated Cashen.

“After multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers sometimes return home with physical injuries and mental challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. They use their recovery time at the center to plot their futures and many dream of starting their own businesses. “

     Photo: Nagamind Photo Studio

Home-Based Business Champion

Roger Lane, owner, Roger Lane Inc.

Lane retired several years ago, but couldn’t stay away from what he loves: helping businesses succeed.
“I know how easy it can be, and I want everyone to know it,” he says from his home in Hana, Maui.

A business-development specialist, Lane has 24 clients at a time, recently ranging from a Wall Street lawyer to a hotel in Italy. He works from Monday through Wednesday, spending the rest of the time enjoying life in Hana.
“I tell my clients they should be able to work five days a week and have two days off and evenings,” he says. “If you can’t do that, there’s something you don’t know.”

Recessions tend to expose those things businesses don’t know. For example, companies that didn’t have to market their products suddenly had to be concerned about marketing, Lane says.

Greg Knue, VP and business banking manager at Bank of Hawaii in Kahului, says he nominated Lane for the award because he has the “skills, tools and processes that enable businesses to experience significant, sustained and measurable improvements.”

Previously, Lane was Hawaii district manager for Redken Laboratories. Among his successes was coaching the startup of Paul Mitchell Hair Products when he and Mitchell were neighbors.

Lane helps businesses near and far. As president of the Hana Business Council, he focuses on improving Hana’s business climate, where 99 percent of businesses are home-based, Knue says.

Greg Knue, VP and business banking manager at Bank of Hawaii in Kahului, says he nominated Lane for the award because he has the “skills, tools and processes that enable businesses to experience significant, sustained and measurable improvements.”

     Photo: Courtesy L&L Drive-inn

Minority Small Business Champion

Eddie Flores Jr., president and CEO, L&L Drive-Inn and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

In 1976, Flores bought an L&L restaurant as a gift for his mother. He took over operations in 1990 and quickly grew the company.

Today, more than 180 L&L franchises serving plate lunches at fast-food prices are located in Hawaii, on the U.S. Mainland, and in Japan, New Zealand and American Samoa.

In addition to his company’s rapid success, Flores is a respected community leader. He has created entrepreneurial programs for minorities, mentored hundreds of business owners and helped to raise $14.2 million to build the Filipino Community Center, now the heart of economic development and revitalization in Waipahu.

Building the center has been his biggest challenge. “It was an impossible dream for the community, and I thought it might never happen,” Flores says.

Flores’ community involvement is “genuine and well beyond his business or professional responsibilities,” says Keith Shimomura, assistant vice president and manager for Hawaii National Bank, who nominated Flores. “He has achieved his American dream and now works to help others achieve the same success.”

Flores’ community involvement is “genuine and well beyond his business or professional responsibilities.”

     Photo: Strategic Financial Concepts LLC

Financial Services Champion

Patrick Garcia, business development manager, Strategic Financial Concepts LLC

Patrick Garcia once advised a client about starting a food service. After their fourth meeting, however, the client admitted he’d rather sell his own artwork. Garcia encouraged him to pursue his passion and, today, the man’s business grosses more than $350,000 annually.

“Those are the things we look for,” says Garcia, who founded Strategic, an alternative investment firm, with business partner Rey Agustin, in March 2007. “By working with a businessperson’s heart and soul, we get a higher success rate, versus a 60-page business plan.”

A self-taught investor, Garcia previously owned insurance and mortgage firms and worked with private investors. Today, his company’s clients run the gamut from individuals living in transitional shelters to corporations with $20 million in gross annual sales.

“The company’s comprehensive approach to businesses appeals to a broad range of people, from startups to well-established firms,” says Lauren Tanouye, a Bank of Hawaii business banking officer, who nominated Garcia.
They met at a Waianae transitional home, where Garcia advised residents. “He always sticks to the fundamentals of running a business, through good and bad times,” Tanouye says.

“By working with a businessperson’s heart and soul, we get a higher success rate, versus a 60-page business plan.”

     Photo: Bishop & Co Inc.

Women in Business Champion

Judy Bishop, president and owner, Bishop & Co. Inc.

Bishop believes so strongly in women’s business ownership that she is mentoring her own staff of women to possibly take over someday as owners or managers of her employment agency.

“I have been a supporter of women in business for as long as I have been a businesswoman,” she says. Bishop started the company in 2006 after acquiring the assets of CTA Staffing, where she had been general manager for five years. She has more than 30 years of staffing experience.

Kevin T. Sakamoto, senior VP and regional manager at Bank of Hawaii, praises Bishop’s support of women, which includes work as a board member for the Women’s Fund of Hawaii and the Organization of Women Leaders.

“Judy has a passion that makes her special,” says Sakamoto, who nominated Bishop for the SBA award.
Bishop cites women’s passion for what they do as a reason they make great business owners. “They are willing to do the dirty work as long as they are fulfilled. They know hard work and ... how to wear every hat!”

“I have been a supporter of women in business for as long as I have been a businesswoman.”

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