Ted Liu, recently appointed director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT), announced the members of his new management team this week. They included deputy director Ray Jefferson, chief marketing officer Steve Bretschneider, and chief technology officer Maurice Kaya. Liu also announced that a startup wireless technology company has been lured to Hawaii from Silicon Valley in part because of the incentives offered by the state’s Act 221, passed in 2001 to attract and foster high technology businesses. PacifiCall is developing software that will use capabilities already built into most modern mobile phones to provide discounted international calls.
Jefferson comes to DBEDT after serving as a Fulbright Fellow in Singapore from 2001 to 2002, and as a White House Fellow from 2000 to 2001. His work involved analyzing government leadership in a multicultural community, entrepreneurship, economic development, investment, and the “digital economy.” During his White House fellowship, Jefferson served as liaison to Sen. Daniel Akaka, Mayor Jeremy Harris, and leaders from the Native Hawaiian, business and education communities.
“Ray has managed to pack a lifetime of experience, achievements and leadership into a relatively short period of time,” said Gov. Linda Lingle. “He brings a fresh and global perspective to how government, private industry, and the community can form partnerships to innovatively address economic and social issues.”
Jefferson, who served as an Army officer for 11 years, came to Hawaii in 1995 to be treated at the Tripler Army Medical Center. He had lost all the fingers on his left hand while trying to protect his teammates from a hand grenade. During his six-month recovery in the islands, he said he gained an appreciation for Hawaii’s people and lifestyle that motivated him to make Hawaii his home.
“Hawaii holds a special place in my heart,” Jefferson said. “I have great confidence that the people of this state can come together to create a healthy and prosperous economy that will benefit everyone.”
DBEDT’s new marketing manager came out of retirement to work with DBEDT, his extensive experience in the advertising industry being his greatest asset. At a press conference Tuesday, Liu proudly bosted that Bretschneider had a hand in building some of the world’s most successful brand campaigns, including “Ring Around the Collar” for Wisk detergent, “Coke Is It,” and “Mmm, Mmm, Good” for Campbell’s soups.
Bretschneider was head of Grey Daiko Advertising Inc., a joint venture between marketing powerhouses Grey International Inc. and Daiko Advertising Inc. of Japan.
Maurice Kaya has worked with DBEDT for well over a decade. In 1998, he was picked to head DBEDT’s Energy, Resources, and Technology Division, which was responsible for promoting energy and resource efficiency.
PacifiCall CEO Rob Romero joined the press conference after a personal meeting with Gov. Lingle.
“By providing a service designed to combine low international rates with the convenience of direct dialing using a mobile phone, we offer a better alternative to current prepaid calling cards or wireless service plans,” said Rob Romero, CEO of PacifiCall. “Hawaii, the hub of the Asia-Pacific region, is a prime base for such services.”
Romero is also a key investor in Honolulu-based AssistGuide Inc., a provider of online systems to long-term care, disability, senior and healthcare businesses. He co-founded eVoice, a nationwide voicemail provider acquired by America Online in 2001, and was also director of business development at Netsys, which was acquired by Cisco Systems.