The Best of Small Business 2019

Profiles of 26 local companies and business leaders who won this year's SBA Hawaii awards, plus the inaugural members of the Hawaii Small Business Hall of Fame, and the Editor's Choice Awards.

State Awards

Hall of Fame Awards
Editor’s Choice Awards (Now Live!)




Small Business Person of the Year

Tracy L. J. Lawson, President
Lawson & Associates Inc.

Lawson discovered her passion for teamwork early and practiced it often: high school softball, Army service as a military police traffic accident investigator. She helped improve safety at her father’s construction business and now helps businesses statewide to “work safely and be profitable and successful.”

Sponsor: Michael Anduha, First Hawaiian Bank


Small Business Advocate for Business & Industry

Kiran Polk, Executive Director
Kapolei Chamber of Commerce

Polk and the Kapolei Chamber use networking events, job fairs and advocacy to help small businesses thrive in O‘ahu’s fast-growing Second City. Another important part of her job as the chamber’s executive director is to help connect Leeward residents and Leeward businesses.

Sponsor: Martha Camacho, First Hawaiian Bank


SBA Young Entrepreneurs of the Year

Zak Barry, Matthew Hong & Luke Unterman
Banan LLC

These best friends took their product, a frozen treat made from bananas, and quickly grew the business from a food truck in 2015 to four locations on Oahu and one in Japan, with another two locations planned. They support local agriculture by carefully sourcing each ingredient.

Sponsor: Lori Hiramatsu, Hawaii Small Business Development Center


Family Owned Small Business of the Year

Dr. Mark Chun, Dr. Mitchell Chun & Dr. Norman Chun
Dentists & Owners
Kamaaina Dental Associates Inc. dba Dr. KB Chun & Sons

This family business is run by the three brothers plus Norman’s wife, Janet, and nephew Thurlow. All support the community, including an annual blood drive and the Kailua 4th of July parade, plus individually in the YMCA, the Men’s Leadership of  Hawaii organization and Kilauea volcano relief.

Sponsor: Jeffrey Ventura, First Hawaiian Bank


Small Business Person of the Year

Delwin Bothof, Member & Owner
Volcano Winery

To supplement the grapes Volcano Vineyards grows at an elevation of 4,000 feet on the south side of Kilauea, the company incorporates tropical fruits such as guava and jabuticaba berry into its wines. It also grows tea and makes a macadamia-nut honey wine.

Sponsor: Anna Liu, First Hawaiian Bank


Family Owned Small Business of the Year

Michael Nakashima, President & Owner
Rannikks Auto Specialists Inc.

Rannikks is run by Nakashima, his wife, Janis, and their son, Randy, and is well-known in Hilo for quality auto repair work for individuals and fleets. Nakashima has even supported past employees who started their own shops.

Sponsor: Krystal C. Pilor, First Hawaiian Bank


SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Alfred R. Pacheco III, President
AP Construction LLC

Pacheco left his union job at age 30 along with some co-workers who had faith in him and started his own company, which now has 20 full-time employees. The company works across much of Hawaii Island, including Kona, South and North Kohala, Waimea and Hamakua.

Sponsor: Koa Woolley, First Hawaiian Bank


Small Business Advocate for Innovation

Jim Wyban, Founder

Wyban knew Hawaii Island could greatly benefit from new businesses but saw a shortage of entrepreneurial training. His solution: a business planning competition in which only Hawaii Island entrepreneurs can compete to win up to $25,000 toward their businesses.

Sponsor: Judi Mellon, Small Business Development Center, Hilo


Small Business Advocate for Business & Industry

Miles Yoshioka, Executive Director
Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce

Yoshioka was a Boy Scout, his son is a Scout and he tries to reflect Scout values in his work, which include being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and reverent. “We have got to show our best, the best our town can offer. And I enjoy doing that.”

Sponsor: Lara Hughes, First Hawaiian Bank


Small Business Advocate for Financial Services

Jacob Burrill, Owner
Jacob Burrill, CPA

Burrill generously gives his time to small businesses and is particularly valuable in his ability to help resolve bookkeeping “corkscrews.” Burrill sponsors SBDC activities and is often an instructor with the SBDC and the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsor: Dennis Boyd, West Hawaii SBDC


Small Business Person of the Year

Robert “Bob” C. French, President
Brennecke’s Beach Broiler & Brennecke’s Beachside Deli

Brennecke’s has been a pillar of the Poipu community for over 30 years, resiliently surviving two hurricanes, other natural disasters and economic downturns. Although restaurants are often known for high employee turnover, French is distinguished by his care for his employees, many of whom have worked for him for years.

Sponsor: Thomas J. Canute, First Hawaiian Bank


Family-Owned Small Business of the Year

Edward M. Kawamura, President
M. Kawamura Farm Enterprises Inc.

Kawamura’s father started the business 60 years ago selling one product: rat bait. The business today sells feed, gardening supplies and equipment, and offers parts and service. Kawamura also helps disabled veterans and has provided a petting zoo at a local farm fair for over 20 years.

Sponsor: Paul Endo, First Hawaiian Bank


Small Business Person of the Year

Angela “Angie” Leone, Manager
Maui Leones LLC, dba Coconut Condos

Leone transformed her side business of a single vacation rental in 2011 into a thriving company that now manages 60 rentals on Maui. Coconut Condos’ giving plan includes contributions to Compassion International, a group that sponsors children living in poverty, for each condo managed.

Sponsor: Kelli Myers, Central Pacific Bank


SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Ray Michaels, Owner & President
Maui Plumbing Inc.

Michaels used technology to modernize plumbing and change the stereotypical image of an unprofessional looking plumber. Michaels says he has the “best team ever” and is proud to see the younger generation become skilled tradesmen able to provide for their families.

Sponsor: Agnes Greig & Royle Taogoshi, First Hawaiian Bank


Categories: Lists & Awards, SBA Awards, Small Biz Editor’s Choice Awards, Small Business

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