Editor’s Note: Hawaii Business To Da Max

September, 2004

Among Hawaii Business’ earliest interactions with former University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle was his interview with Jacy L. Youn for the inaugural “Power Issue” in 2002. To set up the interview, Jacy had informed Dobelle that he made Hawaii Business’ list of the “Top 10 Power Brokers.”

Dobelle started the interview with a question of his own: “Am I No.1?” He wasn’t. However, it was a telling moment – giving us a pretty good measure of the man and his ego. To his credit, Dobelle had only been in Hawaii about a year when he was interviewed for that story, yet he still landed in the No. 3 spot.

He told Jacy in that interview, “If I had been here 10 years, and I had turned morale around in the institution and had a 23 percent increase in applications and built a medical school, people would say, ‘He was a great president.’ That’s if I had been here 10 years. I’ve done all that, and I’ve been here only a year.”

In light of those comments, it’s clear that we should have written this month’s cover story “Local Style for Lo-lo-s” by David K. Choo and Jacy’s accompanying how-to manual several years ago (Dobelle would have benefited from reading tip No. 7, “Check your ego at the airport”). However, it’s not too late for all the rest of the folks who need a clue about how to do business in Hawaii and for those of us locals to take a good, hard look at ourselves and how we operate.

When you get right down to it, Hawaii is a special place, with a special culture, which permeates every facet of our lives here, including the way we do business. However, the bottom line for businesses, whether here or in the Mainland is the same: results trump style every time. That’s closely followed by: it really does matter if you are an honorable person. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or a university president for that matter, to figure that one out.


Hawaii Business’ third “Power Issue” will be out in October. Evan Dobelle did not make this year’s list.

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Kelli Abe Trifonovitch