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Hawaii Business' SmallBiz 2013 Editor's Choice Awards

Hawaii small businesses are honored in five categories: New, Green, Woman-Owned, Innovation and Long-term Success

(page 3 of 5)

Matthew Delaney

Photo: Courtesy Matthew Delaney

Best New Business

Hawaii Human Resources

CEO: Matthew Delaney

Nominator: Scott LaRue, Atlas Insurance

There’s hardly a moment Matt Delaney isn’t working. With a portfolio of companies – six at last count and two more coming onboard in the next few months – he doesn’t have time to be idle. Nor does he like to be.

“I love work, I’m excited about it, but I’m working 18 hours a day,” he says. “I’m at that point now where I need to clone myself or find my mini-me.”

Delaney and his business partner Scott Meichtry launched HiHR in 2009 with a single client – an air-conditioning contractor with 21 employees – and support 368 companies today. In the same time frame, the company went from two employees to 37. The growth, he says, puts HiHR within range of the two largest HR companies in the state and Delaney plans for that growth to continue.

“What it will do for us is provide additional stability in regard to the industry and the economy,” says Delaney. “Now, we’re so well diversified between construction and retail and hospitality and service that if the economy turns and construction takes a dive, this provides a bit of insulation for whatever is happening in the world.”

HiHR is the original company in his Hawaii Group portfolio; the latest addition is HiNursing, a company with 48 people working in hospitals and assisted-living facilities. He’s also expanding to California, his home state, where he also has a second home and spends weekends.

One of the secrets to HiHR’s success is the company’s ability to inspire employees, treat them well (he still provides free lunch every day) and support their lives. Employees’ children are often there after school, and employees are encouraged to support charities of their choice on company time.

Scott LaRue is an independent Atlas Insurance agent who nominated HiHR for the Best New Business award. LaRue met Delaney a dozen years ago paddling outrigger canoes and figured he was “a beach bum from California.” Today, LaRue sees a talented, driven entrepreneur who attracts top-notch employees and tends to bring them along with him wherever his business goes.

“Everyone in that office seems to genuinely be a good person and it all starts from the top down,” says LaRue. “The true sign of a good leader is to look at the turnover in his company.” Basically, says LaRue, there isn’t any.

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