Editor’s Note: It’s Bad, But Here’s What You Can Do

July, 2008

Things are bad and getting worse. In May, the Hawaii Council on Revenues revised its forecast for the fiscal year beginning in July downward, projecting a $128 million drop in tax revenues. Hawaii Business asked a diverse group of leaders in our community for their thoughts about Hawaii’s economic condition. The consensus seems to be that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

According to Hawaii Tourism Authority Chairman Douglas Kahikina Chang, “I don’t believe we have really yet seen the extent to which this economic downturn is going to impact Hawaii. We have known for a while that 2008 and into 2009 were going to slow down compared to the boom years of 2006 and 2007. What we probably didn’t fully factor in was the external influences of our domestic financial markets, the value of the dollar against foreign currencies and fuel pricing and the impacts it would have on our economy. We should assume that this will get worse before it’s over.”

However, Chang and others see opportunity in the downturn. Good leadership can make all the difference. As First Hawaiian Bank CEO Don Horner says, “Well led businesses actually become stronger during difficult times because their leaders look for ways to expand their product lines, make strategic investments, better manage overhead, encourage and reward true innovation/productivity and view quality customer service as a strategic asset.”

For more analysis and advice, turn to page 35 to hear from Chang, Horner and seven others. In that story, energy consultant Maurice Kaya says, “The Hawaii economy is clearly in rocky shape right now, much of it because of our overdependence on imported fuels.” To battle this overdependence, leaders on Maui are assembling a kind of renewable energy buffet. As Associate Editor Jason Ubay shows us on page 28, Maui’s businesses are making this an island-wide and intergenerational effort.

There’s a mixed bag of news for women in business here. Find out where women in Hawaii really stand and gain valuable advice from women business leaders through our inaugural Wahine in Hawaii Business special issue following . More information about our upcoming Wahine in Hawaii Business: A Toolkit Forum and resources for Hawaii’s businesswomen can also be found at hawaiibusiness.com.


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Kelli Abe Trifonovitch