The Power of One

September, 2008

What a difference one person can make. Who knows where we might be today, if Rene Mansho hadn’t given mass transit a thumbs down, as the deciding vote in a 5 to 4 Honolulu City Council transit throwdown in 1992. According to Associate Editor Jason Ubay’s cover story “The Money Train” on page 31, Hawaii’s economy would have taken a much different turn instead of the economic — pardon the pun — near train wreck that ensued.

The lack of the train wasn’t to blame for the bad economy, but if mass transit and other public construction projects had been approved and funded, the downturn in the 1990s may not have been as long, nor as severe. That’s the lesson we all need to learn going forward. Public construction projects can cushion us, especially when tourism starts going south as it recently has by double-digit percentages and private construction slows.

Of course, construction isn’t the lone answer to our state’s economic woes. As has been cited in this magazine’s pages, it will also take innovation and resourcefulness on the part of all kinds of businesses here. That’s why Hawaii Business is intent on facilitating that process for the business community in a number of new ways.

In July, we launched the first annual Wahine in Hawaii Business Forum at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. With our new Web portal at, we are creating ways for Hawaii’s businesswomen to interact, ask questions and share best practices through online forums and other resources. We are also committed to more events throughout the year to facilitate more face-to-face interaction. Additional information on those opportunities can be found on the Web site, too.

This month marks the relaunch of our monthly small business resource, now called Hawaii Business SmallBiz. Through this section in our magazine and our new online resource at, we want to make it easy for small businesses to ask questions, to be seen and heard and to share information. Some of the new features include “Ask SmallBiz,” where small businesspeople can go online to ask questions of our panel of experts. We’ll print some of the best questions and answers every month. We also present opportunities for startups to give their best business pitches and receive feedback from local business consultants. Last, but not least, SmallBiz online will also feature Hawaii-based video resources, in addition to our daily Small Business School video.

Take advantage of these resources and share your knowledge and feedback, too. Remember, what a difference one person can make.

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Kelli Abe Trifonovitch