By: Event Chair Amy Watabayashi
I had the privilege and honor to Chair this year’s Inauguration & Generational Award Luncheon. With a great committee this year event was shaping out to be a little different from the past Inauguration & Generational Award Luncheons.
This year’s Keynote Speaker, Mark B. Dunkerley, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiian Airlines, had a riveting speech on the topic of “Aloha Narita! Connecting Hawaiian Ho’ookipa with Japanese Omotenashi” In his speech Mr. Dunkerly touched on the topic of the importance of business ties between Japan and Hawaii as Hawaiian Airlines gets ready to launch their new route from Honolulu to Narita on July 22, 2016. Mr. Dunkerley touched on the topic that even with the economic downturn of Japan’s economy, Japan is still an important and vital destination. As Japan’s population continues to dwindle, today’s generation are saving less than a generation before and spending money on travel. Hawaii continues to be a destination of choice for Japan with 1.5 million visitors annually with annual spending of $130 million a year. With Narita to Hawaii being the 3rd largest International Route it continues to be a substantial meeting market.
This year’s 2016 Generational Honoree recipient was Conrad Enterprises, Inc. and the Sasaki Family. Conrad Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1965 by Conrad Sasaki on the value of hard work, person to person relationship and doing something for someone the right away. Mr. Sasaki started from humble beginnings from a print shop in the basement of his home in Kaimuki to grow the business with his family to become one of Hawaii’s leader in plastic and paper goods, office retail supplies, food supplies and janitorial supplies and a retail store paper, pens, etc. in Windward Mall.
Incoming chair, David Erdman spoke of continuing the legacy of HJCC to promote economic growth in Hawaii and cross cultural relationship and to carry on the groundwork of previous HJCC leaders and members. He committed to continue improving on the areas of growth, diversity, advocacy and leadership and the importance of fostering diversification. To enhance collaboration between the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Ethnic Quad Chambers, Hawaii business with Japanese related organizations and Hiroshima and Fukui Chamber which will lead to new business opportunities for the members. He challenged the members to get involved and to find their own passion in a committee.
With another successful Inauguration and Generational Award coming to a close there was a special drawing for all attendees. A round trip air fare for two to Narita and a two night stay at the Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel. Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines and Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel & Mr. Hiro Matsuda.
Any successful event cannot be accomplished without the hard work and dedication of many people and the generous donation of member companies. A big heartfelt mahalo to Honolulu Cookie Company for the table favors. Also, thank you to Joyce Tomonari & Sogetsu Hawaii Branch and Green Point Nurseries, Inc. for the beautiful centerpieces. And to my fellow committee members Dave Erdman, Brian Nishida, Randall Chung, Clayton Hill, Takaho Iwasaki, Toshie Nakabayashi, Lyle Takeuchi, Yumiko Tsutsumi, Wayne Ishihara and Mina Sakai thank you for all of your support and hard work.
Photos courtesy of George Kodama Photography.