Hawaiʻi’s Best Places to Work 2012

Index of Best Places to Work 2012


Among this year’s Best Places to Work are 18 companies that have been on the BPTW list for at least five of its eight years. (In parentheses is the number of years on the list, including this year.)

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (5)
Bowers + Kubota Consulting (5)
Castle Medical Center (7)
City Mill Co. Ltd (5)
Deloitte (7)
Edward Jones (8)
Hale Ola Kino (7)
Honolulu Board of Realtors (6)
Island Insurance Co. (6)
It’s All About Kids LLC (5)
John Hancock Financial Network – Hawaii Financial Partners (5)
Maui Divers Jewelry (6)
Maui Family Support Services Inc. (5)
N&K CPAs, Inc. (6)
Nordic PCL Construction Inc. (5)
Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) (5)
Servco Pacific Inc. (8)
SVC Management Hawaii (formerly Shell Management)  (6)


Thirty-three other companies that made this year’s Best Places to Work have also been on the list before. (In parentheses is the number of years on the list, including this year.)

Allana Buick & Bers (4)
Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union (4)
America’s Mattress Hawaii (4)
American Savings Bank FSB (3)
Atlas Insurance Agency Inc. (4)
Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates Inc. (2)
Central Pacific Bank (3)
Edible Arrangements Manoa Marketplace (3)
First Hawaiian Bank (2)
Goose’s Edge (3)
Hawaii Families as Allies (2)
Hawaii Foodbank (4)
Hawaii Human Resources (HiHR) (2)
Hawaiian Information Consortium (2)
HawaiiUSA FCU (2)
Hospice of Kona (3)
Imua Family Services (3)
Integration Technologies (Intech) (2)
Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. (3)
Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family (2)
Life Foundation (4)
Maryknoll School (2)
Navy Federal Credit Union (2)
New York Life Hawaii (4)
Pacific Administrators (4)
PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP (4)
ProService Hawaii (3)
Skyline Eco-Adventures (4)
T&T Tinting Services (4)
The Berry Co. (3)
University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus (2)
Wakelight Technologies (3)
Wealth Managing Partners Inc (2)


For 22 companies, this is their first year on the list.

Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering Inc. (BASE)
Certified Hawaii
EnviroServices & Training Services LLC
Expedia Local Expert
Gregory House Programs
Grove Farm Co.
Hawaiian Eye Center
Hickam Communities LLC
Honolulu HomeLoans Inc.
Kahala Associates
KYA Design Group
Pacific Biodiesel
Saint Louis School
Swinerton Builders
The Wedding Ring Shop
T-Mobile dba U-Mobile LLC
Toshiba Business Solutions
UBS Financial Services
Ventura Technology
Wealth Strategy Partners
Y&M Radiology


Very Large Companies

Investing in employees helps company thrive

New York Life
U.S. Headquarters: New York, N.Y.

US Employees: 15,000
Hawaii Employees: 130
Average annual pay: $157,000 (salaried) / $45,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year: 7
Sick days a year: 3

New York Life offers a pension plan that guarantees income for life upon retirement. Fun events include an annual picnic, camp outs, barbeques, Christmas Party and many lunch time events throughout the year.

In just three years at New York Life’s Hawaii office, 26-year-old Sayaka Ogura has worked her way up to become one of seven partners. Her goal in the next two years: senior partner.

Fresh out of the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a degree in finance and business management, she lauds the company for its nurturing, supportive culture, its expansive training program and its potentially lucrative rewards.
“New York Life invests $215,000 in every agent,” says Ogura. “It’s the best, most structured training program, and it’s all paid for. That’s why we consistently have the most members in the million-dollar roundtable.”

But that’s only part of the reason the insurance company’s Hawaii office has topped the Very Large Companies category of the Best Places to Work. According to Mike Ceci, Hawaii managing partner, the company creates loyalty and healthy longevity for every employee, starting with health insurance on the first day of employment and four retirement programs for all employees: a pension, a 401K, a deferred compensation plan and an agent-progress sharing plan.

“When you look at the tenure of the individuals – people who have been here 45 years – they’re still active, not because they need to work, but because they love being part of the agency,” says Ceci.

Along with free training programs, the company also offers tuition reimbursement for additional financial degrees and sponsors a master’s program in financial services or management.

Plus, there are parties that occur regularly and are designed to bring the staff together as a supportive team. Ogura says they work.
“There’s so much camaraderie. And it’s a lot of fun. This business is not easy, so if we didn’t have that enthusiasm and energy it would be even harder. That culture is so important.”


Running your own office

2 Edward Jones
U.S. Headquarters:  St. Louis, Mo.

U.S. Employees:  36,522
Hawaii Employees:  92
Average annual pay:  $91,159 (salaried)/$38,065 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  8

At 25, and with a new bachelor’s degree in business, Christopher Lee is already running his own office.

Lee, a financial advisor with Edward Jones Hawaii, loves the firm’s horizontal organization, which puts him on an equal footing with people who have been there far longer.

He says he also gets the resources he wants, can consult with other company advisors and didn’t need to make a huge capital investment to be his own boss.

“I have the same voice as someone who has been here 25 years,” says Lee, who runs a Pearl City branch for the company he joined a year and a half ago. “I manage an office plus I have clients.”

Edward Jones Hawaii gets high marks from its employees for its compensation, high levels of personal responsibility and opportunities to achieve. Everyone can become a partner. Across the mainland, Edward Jones has been named a best place to work in many similar state surveys.

“It’s a firm that invests a lot in its employees in terms of training,” says David Nako, recruiting leader and financial advisor for the Hawaii region, who has been with the company 18 years. “We run our own branches and have our own assistant we work with. In our structure we’re never pitted against one another in that competitive setting. We think like owners because we are.”



Free tuition for employees

3 University of Phoenix
Hawaii Campus
U.S. Headquarters:   Phoenix, Ariz.

U.S. Employees:  53,239
Hawaii Employees:  65
Average annual pay:  $85,768 (salaried)/$49,788 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  16
Sick days a year:  5

If you work fulltime for the University of Phoenix, there are many opportunities to move your career ahead. The university offers its full-time employees free tuition waivers to pursue either an associate or bachelor’s degree in any field the university teaches. Employee dependents are eligible for 80-percent tuition reductions.

“We also have tuition waivers at the graduate and doctoral levels,” says Kristine Averill, the school’s Hawaii Campus director. “We want our employees to advance their education.”

There’s a company-wide wellness initiative with free health-related webinars, health coaching, support groups, discounts, incentives and even free fruit and “juicers” during breaks. Averill says the company also “hosts frequent wellness challenges” to support personal fitness goals for employees.

“The University of Phoenix Hawaii campus is like an ohana,” says Hawaii Campus project manager Ivy Wong. “We have regular team-building and community-service activities to have fun and to give back.”


All other very large companies listed alphabetically

American Savings Bank, FSB
U.S. Headquarters:  Honolulu

Hawaii Employees:  1,128
Average annual pay:  $64,984.01 (salaried)/ $26,704.11 (hourly)
Paid time off days a year:  19

Employees are eligible to utilize paid time off from their first day on the job. ASB has a LifeBalance Room where it holds fitness classes. The room is equipped with exercise balls, a TV and a DVD player, weights, exercise bands and a restroom with a shower.


Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.
U.S. Headquarters:   McLean, Va.

U.S. Employees:  24,837
Hawaii Employees:  309
Average annual pay:  $95,988 (salaried)/$44,700 (hourly)
Paid time off days a year:  21

Booz Allen offers benefits for domestic partners and flexible work arrangements. All or part of an employees’ full- or part-time childcare is paid, either on a regular basis or only during busy seasons. A stock purchase plan allows employees to purchase firm stock at a 5 percent discount off the fair market price and with no service fees.


U.S. Headquarters:  New York, N.Y.

U.S. Employees:  40,700
Hawaii Employees:  67
Average annual pay:  $85,000 (salaried)/$62,000
Paid time off days a year:  26

Deloitte employees get discounted rates at health/fitness clubs. Other benefits include parental leave, sabbaticals, pet insurance, 529 college savings plan, legal coverage, pre-tax transportation programs, pre-tax FSA and HSA health savings accounts, mortgage assistance and tuition assistance.


First Hawaiian Bank
U.S. Headquarters:  Honolulu

Hawaii Employees:  2,225
Average annual pay:  $65,195 (salaried)/$26,493 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  5
Sick days a year:  130

Employees can work out and take free fitness classes at the onsite exercise facilities. The bank’s courtyard and patio facilities may be used for private family celebrations. Full-service cafeterias with meals served daily at a nominal charge.


John Hancock Financial Network – Hawaii Financial Partners
U.S. headquarters: Boston, Mass.

U.S. employees:  5,000
Hawaii employees:   30
Average annual pay:  $70,000 (salaried)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:   6

Employees enjoy work schedule flexibility to promote a balanced lifestyle. There is recognition and compensation for performance in the form of company trips, such as a weeklong Alaskan cruise.


Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.
U.S. Headquarters:  Omaha, Neb.

U.S. Employees:  10,300
Hawaii Employees:  170
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  10

Kiewit offers health coaching to help target specific risks, address methods for reducing those risks and provide year-round resources and encouragement. Employees may benefit from on-site personal- development and/or stress-management workshops, seminars and classes.


Navy Federal Credit Union
U.S. Headquarters:  Vienna, Va.

U.S. Employees:  8,025
Hawaii Employees:  49
Average annual pay:  $61,070 (salaried)/$35,524 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  8

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a generous Education Assistance Program and three scholarship programs for its employees.


Nordic PCL Construction, Inc.
U.S. Headquarters:  Denver, Colo.

U.S. Employees:  1,301
Hawaii Employees:  91
Vacation days a year:  15
Sick days a year:  N/A

Employees are eligible for an annual performance bonus averaging between 6 percent and 10 percent of their annual salaries. They also receive up to $200 per year for participating in health and fitness programs.


Toshiba Business Solutions
U.S. Headquarters:  Irvine, Calif.

U.S. Employees:  2,300
Hawaii Employees:  60
Average annual pay:  $80,100 (salaried)/$40,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  15
Sick days a year:  6

A massage therapist comes to the office once a week.  Employees pay $5 plus tip and the company pays the balance. Toshiba rents a beach house on Presidents Day weekend where employees and their families can enjoy friendship and food provided by the company.


UBS Financial Services Inc.
U.S. Headquarters:  Weehawken, N.J.

U.S. Employees:  25,000
Hawaii Employees:  52
Average annual pay:  $60,000 (salaried)/$38,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  15
Sick days a year:  8

UBS employees are eligible for performance bonuses, a holiday party and Friday Jeans Day, fitness workshops and fee waivers for The Great Aloha Run.


Large Companies

Thanking employees every day

1 SVC Management Hawaii LLC
U.S. headquarters: Northbrook, Ill.

Employees: 294 (Hawaii) / 969 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $63,022 (salaried) / $32,445 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 13

The Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy is a perfect example of why SVC (formerly known as Shell Management Hawaii) has topped the large companies category for three years on the Hawaii Business Best Places to Work list.

“We try to tell our employees ‘thank you’ every day,” says Tim Albao, who, as executive housekeeper, supervises a staff of 22. Albao has been with the company for 11 years. He started as a bellman and has also worked at the front desk, in security, as the pool bartender and as an administrative assistant. “Staff appreciation is huge and we like to have fun and celebrate the successes of our departments and employees, always with food, of course.”

There’s a lot of celebrating going on at this picturesque, Kauai beachfront resort, which is one of 25 timeshare resorts in North America managed by Shell Vacations Hospitality. The other Hawaii locations are the Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village, Kona Coast Resort, Paniolo Greens in Waikoloa and Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai.

“The Hawaii region is consistently the company’s best performing region,” says Linda Anthony, SVC’s regional VP, Hawaii. A lot of it has to do with the high retention rate of employees. Although the company takes training seriously, there are so many old-timers who know the ropes that there’s not a lot of time spent retraining new staff. Things run smoothly, making for happy workers and satisfied guests.

“One thing that keeps employees happy is expectations,” Anthony explains. “We have extremely detailed procedures on how we do everything, even how to clean a mirror. So nobody has any doubt how to do their job.”

Although she works out of the company’s Kailua-Kona office, Anthony warmly greets staff at this Kapaa resort as family. It may sound corny, but Anthony says they don’t have a problem saying they love each other.

“If you’re in an environment where you know you are loved as a person, then you’re not afraid. If everyone trusts one another, you’re not afraid to admit mistakes and you’re not going to hide them. That’s how we learn and grow. We genuinely care about each other.”


Helping each other

2 Hawaii USA
Federal Credit Union
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 305
Average annual pay: $59,000 (salaried) / $35,000 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 11

“Life matters.”

For Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union concierge Vai Seto, those two words are more than just her employer’s motto.

Seto moved her family to Oahu from American Samoa after her teenage son, Hipa, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and she was hired by the credit union a few months later.

After a lengthy battle with the rare form of bone cancer, Hipa passed away in June 2011. During the process, Seto came to see her co-workers as family.

“I had planned to return to work the Monday after Hipa’s services because I had run out of paid time off,” she recalls. “That’s when I found out that many of my co-workers had donated their PTO to me.”

Seto says she was truly touched by her co-workers’ generosity and wanted to thank them personally, but was told they wished to remain anonymous.

Senior VP Stevette Santiago says Seto’s story captures the essence of their workplace. “It feels like a home away from home,” explains Santiago. “We try to help each other internally and it manifests itself in how we treat our customers.”


Glad to come to work

3 Castle Medical Center
U.S. headquarters: Roseville, Calif.

Employees: 802
Average annual pay: $78,692 (salaried) / $43,209 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 15

In the anonymous surveys conducted as part of the Best Places to Work selection process, Castle Medical Center employees said they enjoyed coming to work, even though they must regularly deal with human suffering.

President and CEO Kathryn Raethel has felt the same way from the start. “When I first walked in, I felt something different,” says Raethel, who took the helm in December after 12 years at Castle. “There’s an atmosphere that’s friendly and welcoming. It’s a place where people are comfortable.”

The second-largest employer on the Windward side opened its doors in January 1963. “One associate has been here for 45 years and five have more than 40 years of service,” says Raethel. “It’s a place where people come and want to stay. Me, included.”

Steve Bovey feels that way, too.

He started as a family therapist at Castle 28 years ago and for the past 14 years has served as its quality-improvement coordinator. Bovey plans to retire there.

“The combination of meaningful work and working with upbeat, positive people makes it a great place. Every day, I leave feeling like I did something important with people I love working with.”


All other large companies listed alphabetically

Central Pacific Bank
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 928 (Hawaii) / 931 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $64,622 (salaried) / $26,734 (hourly)
Vacation days a year: 12
Sick days a year: 6
Personal days a year: 3

The annual holiday party is a big occasion for the bank and its employees. For the past two years, a professionally produced video starring CPB’s executive team has been screened at the annual holiday party. In 2011, many of the 900 employees were involved in a companywide flash mob, with departments and branches coordinating dances and getting into costume.  CPB also gives back to the community, and employees can earn points for volunteer service projects, which can then be redeemed for rewards.


City Mill Company Ltd.
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 411
Average annual pay: $50,362 (salaried) / $18,928 (hourly)
Vacation days a year: 10
Sick days a year: 7
Personal days a year: 2

The hardware store recognizes and awards its employees for great customer service, either from customers or their peers. Awards are announced monthly and published in the quarterly newsletter. Prizes range from polo shirts to $250 gift certificates.


Expedia Local Expert
U.S. headquarters: Bellevue, Wash.

Employees: 182 (Hawaii) / 279 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $75,000 (salaried) / $55,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year: 18
Sick days a year: 6

The GM at this concierge service provider visits the offices on all islands every month to celebrate birthday lunches. Employees are eligible for the Concierge of the Year award, for which they are recognized nationally at Expedia’s annual tradeshow in Las Vegas.


Maui Divers Jewelry
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 498
Average annual pay: $75,000 (salaried) / $32,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year: 15
Sick days a year: 8
Personal days a year: 1.5

The jewelry manufacturer and retailer loves employee referrals. Maui Divers pays $500 to $1,000 per qualified referral, and even entered referring employees into an iPad drawing. Employees are encouraged to take their breaks to relieve stress during the day.


Servco Pacific Inc.
U.S. Headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 875
Average annual pay: $88,100 (salaried) / $51,475 (hourly)
Vacation days a year: 10
Sick days a year: 10
Personal days a year: 3

Servco, which does business in automotive retail, home appliances and insurance, has a number of formal and informal ways to recognize its employees, ranging from gift cards to sales-incentive trips to the mainland, Japan or Australia. For employees who reach 25 years of service, the company presents them with a Rolex watch at the annual company dinner.


The Berry Company
U.S. Headquarters: Englewood, Colo.

Employees: 53 (Hawaii) / 783 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $103,746 (salaried) / $42,814 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 14

The Berry Company, a local advertising specialist in print and Internet, brings out the kid in its employees by having ice cream carts and popcorn days. It recognizes its sales team through top producer awards, sales bonuses and hotel stays at places like Disney’s Aulani Resort.


Medium Companies

Support for Employees’ Growth and Empowerment

1 Bowers + Kubota Consulting
U.S. Headquarters: Waipahu

Employees:  109
Average annual pay:  $75,000 (salaried)
Paid days off a year:  15

The architecture and engineering consulting firm pays the entire healthcare premium for employees and their dependents. Employees who excel in their performances may be considered for a company vehicle.  Approximately 40 percent of the staff are privileged to have a company vehicle and gas card.

There’s a strong sense of pride, passion and responsibility when you talk to B+K principals Brian Bowers and Dexter Kubota. No strangers to our Best Places to Work winners’ list, the two take the honor seriously.

“We always need to constantly improve and think about what we can do better,” says Bowers. “You can never rest on your laurels because people will catch up to you pretty quickly.”

Bowers is referring to how his firm serves clients and treats its employees.

“The bottom line is serving our clients,” he explains. “But if we keep our employees happy, they will serve our clients well.”

Employees seem happy, indeed. With turnover virtually non-existent, except for three long-term staff members who retired last year, B+N is thriving with 109 employees. That’s compared to the 10 employees who survived the firm’s downsizing in the early 1990s.

When the company’s past president passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 1997, Bowers and Kubota, who had been with the firm for 11 and 10 years respectively, took over company leadership and set the focus for the future.

“Memories of the layoffs drive us to constantly look at how we do things,” says Kubota.

They’ve created an office culture that can be described as “progressive,” with a Web-based wellness program, health benefits that include 100-percent premium coverage for employees and their dependents, many firm-related activities, and a commitment to each employee’s personal growth and empowerment.

“They support our individual passions and aspirations,” says Aaron Ackerman, who wears two hats, as a project architect and sustainability project facilitator.

Ackerman has taken a keen interest in the Living Building Challenge, a certification program for sustainable buildings. The firm will be sending him to the Pacific Northwest this year to learn more.

“Both of us were involved in sports growing up,” says Bowers, a retired one-star general. “Dexter and I want to promote a team environment and a coaching atmosphere. I don’t like the word ‘boss.’ ”


Happy Employees = Satisfied Clients

2 PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  51
Average annual pay:  $70,000 (salaried)/$47,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  17

Ask manager Heather Yanazaki what’s the best perk at PKF and she’ll tell you it’s the trip to Las Vegas.

At the end of last year, the staff was treated to a vacation in Sin City on the company dime.

“This was the second time we’ve done it in the last year and a half, and it’s a way to thank our employees,” says partner Trisha Nomura.

But the trip was partly educational, says managing partner Patrick Oki. “We took a tour of the hotel and compared its customer service to ours,” he explains. “It was important for us to understand why someone would stay at a nice hotel like the Aria instead of a cheaper hotel. It’s the same in our business: Why would a client choose us over a smaller CPA firm? It comes down to the level of service.”

Aria management discussed how it makes its employees’ jobs easier by providing benefits such as a first-rate cafeteria and laundry service.
Oki says the accounting business is similar to the hospitality or any other business. “If we take care of our employees, they’ll take care of our clients.”


Thinking Outside the Box

3 N&K CPAs Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  53
Average annual pay:  $83,000 (salaried)/$48,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  10

N&K managing principal Alton Miyashiro fondly recalls what he believes to have been the defining moment at the firm, when a concerted effort was made to develop the workplace culture.

“It was in 2001 when we formed the ‘WE’ committee,” says Miyashiro. “WE” is an acronym for “Work Environment.”

“At that first meeting, I turned off the lights and put a box on my head, turned the lights back on and said, ‘OK, we’re going to get out of the box, think differently and this is the start.’ ”

Since then, the WE committee has overseen a variety of ideas to promote a better work environment, including massages, stress-relief day during tax season and free beverages.

The firm’s commitment to a positive work culture is reflected in the presence of Dennis Higashiguchi, N&K’s manager of consulting services. He’s in charge of coaching, marketing and training at the firm.

“Dennis is not an accountant, so he thinks out of the box,” explains Miyashiro. “He’s the one who came up with our first Halloween party, where people actually came dressed up. For an accounting firm, it’s something you would never, ever see.”


All other medium companies listed alphabetically

Allana Buick & Bers
U.S. headquarters:  Palo Alto, Calif.

U.S. employees:  85
Hawaii employees:  15
Average annual pay:  $105,193 (salaried)/$58,352 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  5

The architectural and engineering firm’s commitment to health and fitness is reflected in free membership to 24 Hour Fitness as part of its benefits package. Discounted fitness memberships are available for employees’ dependents.


Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees: 162
Average annual pay:  $61,340 (salaried)/$30,126 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  15

The 75-year-old credit union pays 100 percent of the healthcare premiums for staff members and their dependents. Family members are invited to the annual company picnic.


Atlas Insurance Agency Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:   110
Average annual pay:  $65,358 (salaried)/$33,317 (hourly)
Vacation days  a year:  10
Sick days a year:  12

Atlas shows its commitment to employee wellness through weekly tai chi classes on premises. Employees can also purchase fresh fruits and vegetables monthly when the company brings a local farmer on site.


Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

U.S. employees:  67
Hawaii employees:  65
Average annual pay:  $79,700 (salaried)/$47,700 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  9

This engineering firm believes in promoting a healthy life and work balance, offering a compressed workweek with half-day Fridays. A personal trainer comes in once a week for an hour to lead staff workouts.


Certified Hawaii
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  144
Average annual pay:  $59,448 (salaried)/$33,372 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  5
Sick days a year:  12

Certified Hawaii maintains an onsite fitness facility with a TV, exercise equipment and a shower. Massages are offered once a month and employees are allowed to bring their children to the office when they do not have childcare.


Goose’s Edge Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Kailua-Kona

Employees:   61
Average annual pay:  $70,000 (salaried)/$30,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:   5

This family-run business operates gas-station convenience stores in Hawaii and California. The company pays for the DOE’s A+ (After-School Care Plus) program for employees’ children.


Hale Ola Kino
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  50
Average annual pay:  NA
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  8

The healthcare center at One Kalakaua Senior Living Retirement Community is a kid-friendly environment where keiki can come any time. All staff members receive free meals when they work on a holiday.


Hickam Communities LLC
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  77
Average annual pay:  $62,138 (salaried)/$41,221 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  24

Hickam Communities’ full-time employees are eligible for quarterly incentive bonuses of 5 percent to 10 percent of their salaries. The amount awarded is based on company and individual performance benchmarks.


Honolulu HomeLoans Inc.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  71
Average annual pay:  NA

Top sales personnel are recognized on a monthly and annual basis. The company is committed to being green with a 100-percent virtual mortgage banking system as all documents are scanned electronically, shredded and recycled.


U.S. headquarters: Kapolei

Employees:   65
Average annual pay:  $61,458 (salaried)/$30,619 (hourly)
Paid days off a year: 12

InPeace provides full weeks of paid time off at Spring Break and Christmas so employees can strengthen their own families. The non-profit educational organization also offers employees the option to work flexible schedules so they may include exercise and fitness into their daily activities.


Island Insurance Company Ltd.
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  198
Average annual pay: $70,060 (salaried)/$36,134 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  12

Employees enjoy “Half Staff Days” when they are allowed days off at their regular pay with the intent for it to be used for relaxation and family time. For a special summer event, the company closes for a half-day and rents out a bowling alley where employees can take part in cosmic bowling, Wii, bingo and karaoke.


Kokua Kalihi Valley
Comprehensive Family Services
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  170
Average annual pay:  $36,000 (salaried)/$21,500 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  17

KKV has a bike exchange program in which employees can use a bike to ride to different KKV sites. To promote fitness, Zumba is led by staff four mornings a week.


Maryknoll School
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:   184
Average annual pay:  $52,039 (salaried)/$23,486 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  15

Free after-school care and programs are offered for children of employees and tuition reimbursement for employees’ children attending Maryknoll School. Employees declining medical coverage receive an additional $50 per pay-period as additional compensation.


ProService Hawaii
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

U.S. employees:  112
Hawaii employees:  111
Average annual pay:  $69,922 (salaried)/$36,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  15

ProService Hawaii employees take part in an annual company retreat consisting of a weekend getaway. Other company events include an annual family picnic, holiday party and casual/breakfast Fridays.


Saint Louis School
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  115
Average annual pay:  $50,200 (salaried)/$7,000 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  10

Employees enjoy spiritual renewal through employee retreats three times a year. Tuition discounts are available to those who have worked for Saint Louis for one year. A pau hana barbecue takes place at the end of each quarter.


Skyline Eco-Adventures
U.S. headquarters:  Pukalani

Employees:   59
Average annual pay:  $60,000 (salaried)/$32,000 (hourly)
Paid days off a year:  6

The company will reimburse staff members up to $75 twice per year to enter any fitness-type event, such as a running event, surf contest, etc.


Swinerton Builders
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  76
Average annual pay:  $100,300 (salaried)/$42,700 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  10
Sick days a year:  7

The accounting department rings in the new year with mochi for everyone. Employees have monthly get-togethers for team-building activities and events at places such as Kualoa Ranch, Downtown First Friday and more.


Y&M Radiology
U.S. headquarters:  Honolulu

Employees:  59
Average annual pay:  $140,000 (salaried)/$51,900 (hourly)
Vacation days a year:  15
Sick days a year:  13

Employees’ families are invited for movie night at a local theater where a short meeting is held and hot dogs, popcorn and drinks are available for all. Stress relief and meditation take place at staff meetings.


Small Companies

Constant Innovation Helps Make Work Fun

1 Hawaii Information Consortium LLC
U.S. headquarters: Olathe, Kan.

Employees: 24
Average annual pay: N/A
PTO days per year: N/A

Caryn Pang is fighting a head cold, but, despite the discomfort, she’s at work answering customer calls – and loving every minute.

Pang and the two other customer-service representatives at the Hawaii Information Consortium handle up to 200 calls, emails and online chats a day from people needing information about a government service.

“They have to force me to go home,” Pang says.

That says a lot about what it’s like to work for HIC. The company, with 26 employees, contracts with the state procurement office, which authorizes it to provide online access for almost 100 services from state, county and federal government that affect our daily lives. Each year, the company adds up to a dozen more services.

That means employees spend every working day thinking up new ways to make it easier and more efficient for people to get help from the government. A recent example: The company established an appointment system for people needing a state ID after filling out paperwork online. Before that, people had to stand in long lines waiting their turn.

“We’re constantly working to add services,” says HIC general manager Russell Castagnaro. “We come up with ideas and our partners in the state come up with ideas and we say, ‘Let’s go do it.’ ”

“We work really well as a team,” adds Pang. “I always feel like my bosses and my coworkers have my back if I need help. I know I can turn to them if I need support, not just for work support but personal support.

“People are so excited to have someone on the line who can walk them through something. And when they tell you how grateful they are, it feels really, really good.”

Employee satisfaction is also boosted by perks like company-paid gym memberships and college-course tuition, and matching payments for charitable donations. Employees take part together in sporting and charity events, hold baby or wedding showers for one another, all with the support of the management team.

“Our parent company is located in Kansas and the CEO, Harry Harrington, has established three things as the company ethic,” says Castagnaro. “1) This is the best place everyone has ever worked; 2) We’re the best partner any government has ever had; and 3) We’re giving the best returns for our investors.”


Finding Balance in Life and Work

2 Hawaii Human Resources (HiHR)
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 33 (Hawaii) / 34 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $75,875 (salaried) / $29,025 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 10

Don’t believe the old saw that there’s no free lunch.

When you work at HiHR, there’s free lunch, free gym membership, free snacks, free coffee and free drinks. Your kids can do homework there after school or come all day if they’re sick. The company will support your favorite charity and give you paid time off to help it, and pay part of the tuition if you go back to school.

“We do it to take care of our people,” says president and CEO Matt Delaney. “For instance, we reimburse our staff $65 a month to do whatever fitness thing they want – get a personal trainer, join a gym, train for a 10K race. One gentleman stored up the money and bought a surfboard. We encourage the balance in life. It makes everyone happier and everything more reliable for our clients.”

Executive project manager Kellie James is thrilled to work there because she believes in the company’s mission of helping clients save money and because of the firm’s benefits. The perks enabled her to join a weight-loss program and Zumba classes for free, and work a flexible schedule.
“I enjoy waking up every day and knowing I’m going to work there.”


Training Keeps Staff in Top Form

3 Wealth Strategy Partners LLC
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 40
Average annual pay: $65,000 (salaried)
PTO days a year: 15

Each morning, the 47-person staff at Wealth Strategy Partners goes through an hour of training so they are better able to serve their clients with financial services.

“Every single day, there’s new training, no matter how long you’ve been in the business,” says VP Marko Mijuskovic. “We invest a lot in our people, so our clients know what they’re getting.”

He says the five-year-old company also uses a structured team approach that ensures everyone is supported in being successful. “They’re not left hanging on their own,” he says.

Those are two of the many reasons Michael Van is happy he joined the firm three years ago, and says he sees it as a long-term career. “Some companies will train you for three weeks and let you loose,” says the financial specialist. “But this company believes you should always be learning. If we ask for help, we get it.”

All other small companies listed alphabetically

America’s Mattress Hawaii
U.S. headquarters: Pearl City

Employees: 32 (Hawaii) / 34 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $43,794 (salaried) / $27,655 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 10

The sleep-furniture retailer initiated a program to stimulate employee health and happiness. Employees choose an activity they want to do – like a gym membership or ballroom dancing classes – and the company reimburses them.


Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering Inc.
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 22 (Hawaii) / 26 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $67,163 (salaried) / $20,000 (hourly)
Vacation days per year: 12
Sick days per year: 5

BASE employees are encouraged to become LEED accredited, which is a green building certification. BASE will pay for tuition. It’s also a fun group, with a foosball table and large-screen TV used for big sporting events, offering breaks from a hectic day.


Edible Arrangements Manoa Marketplace
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 19
Average Annual Pay: N/A
Sick days per year: 3

Employees at the fruit gift-basket retailer enjoy a flexible schedule and camaraderie as employees hold potlucks or go out to restaurants for birthdays and other special occasions. Fruit waste from its operations is donated to Punahou School for making compost at the school’s garden.


EnviroServices & Training Center LLC
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 37
Average annual pay: N/A
PTO days per year: 14

The provider of environmental and occupational services has fun recreational activities like ping pong, billiards and air hockey at the office. The company shows appreciation for employees with ice cream parties, movie days and shiatsu massages. ETC regularly participates in community-service efforts, such as removing invasive algae from Maunalua Bay and fundraising for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief.


Gregory House Programs
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 20
Average annual pay: $34,000 (salaried) / $8,000 (hourly)
PTO days a year: 40

Gregory House Programs’ mission is to develop programs to meet the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in the state, because housing is healthcare. They recognize employees by acknowledging them at staff meetings, handing out bonuses when the budget allows and celebrating with potluck lunches.


Grove Farm Co.
U.S. headquarters: Lihue

Employees: 15
Average annual pay: $102,875 (salaried) / $47,871 (hourly)
Vacation days per year: 15
Sick days per year: 10
Personal days per year: 1

One of the largest landowners on Kauai, Grove Farm celebrates with its employees in many ways, “typically with food and fellowship.” Some of the unique benefits include a fitness club (the company sponsors a fitness day once a week and eats lunch together), an on-site garden (where employees can raise vegetables and plants), and an all-expense-paid trip to a rural village in Africa for a service project with Global Hope Network International’s transformative community-development program.


Hawaii Families As Allies
U.S. headquarters: Aiea

Employees: 22
Average annual pay: $31,000 (salaried) / $28,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 10

Hawaii Families As Allies helps parents create meaningful family involvement, and supports its own employees by allowing them to take paid time off to attend school meetings for their children. The nonprofit recognizes its employees’ hard work by spotlighting them at quarterly staff meetings.


Hawaii Foodbank
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 33
Average annual pay: $50,516 (salaried) / $32,049 (hourly)
Vacation days per year: 5
Sick days per year: 5

The Hawaii Foodbank gathers food and support from the community and then distributes them to charitable organizations, so that no one goes hungry or without care. Employees are eligible for performance-based bonuses. After inventory days, the nonprofit provides lunch for employees.


Hawaiian Eye Center
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 36
Average annual pay: N/A
PTO days per year: N/A

All staff members at this eye doctor are invited to the company’s annual function, and all Neighbor Island employees are flown in. The company celebrates all successes, including throwing a pizza party if the company passes certain benchmarks.


Honolulu Board of Realtors
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 30
Average annual pay: $59,099 (salaried) / $40,058 (hourly)
Vacation days per year: 10
Sick days per year: 14
Personal days per year: 1

The Honolulu Board of Realtors supports its employees and their family situations. The trade association increased its sick policy from seven to 14 days since many employees take care of family members. HBR invests in staff development and will pay for seminars and trainings.


Hospice of Kona
U.S. headquarters: Kailua-Kona

Employees: 25
Average annual pay: $65,000 (salaried) / $60,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 15

If Hospice of Kona employees are celebrating birthdays or date-of-hire anniversaries, they receive $25 gift certificates. Professional days, such as Administrative Assitant Day or Nurse’s Week, are celebrated by the nonprofit. At monthly staff meetings, thank you cards and satisfaction surveys from the community are shared with all employees.


Imua Family Services
U.S. headquarters: Wailuku

Employees: 39
Average annual pay: $45,356 (salaried) / $23,003 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 20

Imua Family Services provides developmental and therapeutic support services to children up to 6 years old. To reward the entire team, the nonprofit will make an office purchase. For its 2010 Best Places to Work win, the company bought a Keurig coffee machine. Staff development is also important, and Imua has brought in national speakers.


Integration Technologies Inc. (Intech)
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 21
Average annual pay: $76,750 (salaried) / $50,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 10

Employees at the full-service IT provider have a full range of entertainment at the office, including board games, a pool table, a dart board and a Microsoft Xbox. Employees can also participate in 20% Projects, in which they choose a project to work on one day a week. Employees who deliver exceptional customer service can order items from Amazon that will make the office a more fun workplace.


It’s All About Kids LLC
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 21
Average annual pay: $65,000 (salaried) / $36,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 10

IAAK provides education technology for Hawaii schools. Employees are eligible for a monthly Pookela Award, a peer-voted outstanding achievement award. Every quarter, the President’s Award is given to an employee and is chosen by the executive staff.


Kahala Associates
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 32
Average annual pay: N/A
Vacation days per year: 5
Sick days per year: 5

This full-service, independent residential brokerage distributes bonuses and gives its staff the ability to become shareholders/owners. The company occasionally takes guests, staff and associates to the nearby Kahala Hotel and Resort.


KYA Design Group
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 28
Average annual pay: $60,000 (salaried) / $18,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 15

A full-service architectural design firm, KYA Design Group has a lot of unique benefits, including half-days two Fridays a month. The company also encourages transparency and has an open policy that keeps everyone informed of financial status and policy decisions.


Life Foundation
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 37
Average annual pay: $35,000 (salaried) / $35,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 25

Life Foundation is a nonprofit providing free services for those living with HIV/AIDS on Oahu, as well as free HIV testing and education for the community. Due to its work as a peer-based outreach system, Life Foundation is more than an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively hires Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, gay, bi-sexual and HIV-positive individuals to perform outreach to high-risk members of the community.


Maui Family Support Services Inc.
U.S. headquarters: Wailuku

Employees: 53
Average annual pay: $43,890 (salaried) / $21,565 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 24

Maui Family Support Services’ mission is to promote healthy family functioning, with a primary goal of preventing child abuse and neglect. After two years of service, additional paid-time-off certificates are awarded to employees, in addition to normal PTO days. The office is closed on Fridays to save electricity. On those days, staff can work from home, in the field or at the beach.


Pacific Administrators Inc.
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 47
Average annual pay: $53,707 (salaried) / $28,476 (hourly)
Vacation days per year: 10
Sick days per year: 5
Personal days per year: 3

At Pacific Administrators, employees who meet the company’s perfect attendance criteria for six months in a row are rewarded with $50 in cash. Employee social functions include quarterly movie days, picnics and holiday lunches. To relax in the office, there is a quiet room with five recliner massage chairs.


Pacific Biodiesel
U.S. headquarters: Kahului

Employees: 39 (Hawaii) / 40 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $60,800 (salaried) / $45,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 15

Pacific Biodiesel produces biofuel, primarily from used cooking oil, and received the 2011 Green Jobs Award, one of only eight received in the U.S. A unique perk for employees is a fuel discount. Employees receive bonuses for every gallon of cooking oil collected over their quotas. Bonuses are distributed at the annual holiday party, with amounts based on tenure.


Pacific Resources for Education and Learning
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 49
Average annual pay: $76,800 (salaried) / $33,435 (hourly)
Vacation days per year: 18
Sick days per year: 12

PREL’s favorite way to recognize its employees is to have a party. Many of its staff members travel, so the opportunity to sit and spend time with other employees builds camaraderie. PREL also recognizes its staff with monetary awards, plaques and certificates.


T-Mobile dba U-Mobile LLC
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 22 (Hawaii) / 34 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $60,000 (salaried)
PTO days per year: 10

The local T-Mobile phone dealer has given cash and product bonuses on almost a monthly basis, and employees can get discount phone service for up to three friends or family members. On the weirder incentive side, employees could shave the manager’s or even the company owner’s hair if they hit performance tiers.


T&T Tinting Specialists Inc.
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 25
Average annual pay: $67,380 (salaried) / $36,775 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 5

Employees at this window-film supplier and installer can take part in stand up paddleboard outings on Sundays. At the warehouse, employees can use the fitness room or play a game of basketball, or just relax during an occasional barbecue at the shop. The company also recognizes its employees’ creativity and has a formal process to try out employee ideas. If successful, the company will incorporate it into standard operating procedures.


Ventura Technology
U.S. headquarters: Waipahu

Employees: 16
Average annual pay: $31,000 (salaried)

Ventura Technology focuses on IT solutions for government agencies. It highlights employee achievements during its annual employee appreciation party and through its company newsletter. The company participates in at least three community-service projects a year, including helping out at Special Olympics or the American Red Cross.


Wakelight Technologies Inc.
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 34 (Hawaii) / 44 (U.S.)
Average annual pay: $84,692 (salaried) / $42,942 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 10

Wakelight provides services in communications engineering and support, information technology, management and technical service and HR support. At the office, not only do employees have windows, they’re encouraged to take advantage of ambient lighting during daytime hours to save energy. Wakelight acknowledges interests outside of the workplace. One employee acts in community theater, and the company organized and paid interested employees’ admissions.


Wealth Managing Partner Inc.
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 18
Average annual pay: $48,000 (salaried) / $48,000 (hourly)
PTO days per year: 7

The financial-planning firm has a profit-sharing program for employees. Employees love the flexible work schedule, great benefits and friendly working environment.


The Wedding Ring Shop
U.S. headquarters: Honolulu

Employees: 22
Average annual pay: $80,000 (salaried)
Vacation days per year: 5
Sick days per year: 5

The Wedding Ring Shop has an annual celebration dinner where the company recognizes its team for the year’s achievements. The company also holds unique events like “Heaven’s Kitchen,” where employees cooked up a meal and exhibited the company’s core values.



Attitude. We can teach the ins and outs of insurance, but we can’t teach you to have a great attitude.
– Atlas Insurance Agency

Givers, not takers; people who place others before themselves.
– Austin Tsutsumi & Associates

People who work well with others and are valued by their peers for their efforts and contributions to the team.
– EnviroServices & Training Center

Empathy, compassion and sincerity. We have to connect with our families and someone who doesn’t have these traits will not gain the trust needed to successfully help them.
– Hawaii Families As Allies

Leadership abilities and fit with the organization.
– Honolulu Board of Realtors

We need people who can work well with each other and be dedicated to our cause.
– Life Foundation

Integrity, leadership, passion and a commitment to excellence.
– Swinerton Builders

Y&M employees need to be compassionate.
– Y&M Radiology

Categories: Best Places to Work – Events, Careers, Lists & Awards