If you read Hawaii Business regularly, you know Dennis Hollier writes engaging stories about complex subjects, such as energy, construction, leadership and farming.
He does the opposite of dumbing down; what should I call it, “understanding up”? In his articles, he captures both the big picture and the important nuances of issues. Rather than being driven away by complexity, readers follow along, because he writes so eloquently and explains things with apt analogies and examples. He enlists his sources to clarify rather than confuse. And at the end of the story, you see the subject more clearly – you were both educated and entertained, informed and inspired. Editing his stories was not work for me, it was fun.
Business leaders and experts of all kinds look forward to being interviewed by Dennis because they know he will translate their ideas effectively to Hawaii Business’ intelligent and educated readers. Often, when I discuss a complicated subject with someone, they will end the conversation with, “You should have Dennis write a story about it” and I agree.
Unfortunately, the deaths of some close friends have persuaded Dennis and his wife to move back to the Washington, D.C. area. He has a couple of stories in the can, so you will continue to see his byline. And our plan is for him to report on how decisions made in Washington are affecting Hawaii, but he won’t be available to report anymore from the ground in the Islands. That’s a big loss.
There is no way to replace Dennis, because he is truly unique. He is the most intellectually curious person I have ever met, interested in almost every subject and knowledgeable about most of them, ranging from rare animals to rare watches, from sailing to shorthand, and carpentry to cooking.
He’s led a fascinating life. His dad was an Air Force officer and military attache at American embassies, so he grew up all over the world. He graduated from Punahou School in 1979, the same class as Barry Obama, who Dennis says still owes him $50 from pickup bridge games. He managed a hotel for years in Washington, with a cast of colorful long-term lodgers who have supplied Dennis with plenty of stories worthy of a Joseph Mitchell book. He’s sailed long distances, such as from Washington to Bermuda and was almost crushed in the night by an aircraft carrier. He is intimately acquainted with many of the world’s great cities, and can tell you about the more esoteric landmarks in each.
His departure makes me feel sad for our readers, but even more so for myself. No longer will I be able to turn around and ask him for help with a headline, a hard-to-recall name or a shapeless story idea.
Good luck in your next adventures, Dennis. I look forward to hearing and reading about them.