Na Kanaka

A regular feature highlighting the appointments and achievements of Hawaii’s people. In this update: Jay Stone, Travis Hylton, Paul Arakawa, Winslow Tanabe, Derrick Uyeda, Florence Yee, Simone Polak, Alexa Fujise and Bert Ayabe.

Jay Stone

Travis Hylton

Paul Arakawa

Florence Yee

Jay Stone and Travis Hylton, licensed civil engineers with Oceanit, have achieved certification as “Diplomate Environmental Engineers (DEE)” in the field of “Water Supply and Wastewater.” The distinction has only been awarded six times previously in the State of Hawaii. Oceanit is one of Hawaii’s leading diversified engineering and science companies, and is now the only company in Hawaii to have two DEEs on staff.

Paul Arakawa has been named the manager of the Town Center of Mililani Branch of the Hawai`i Schools Federal Credit Union. Arakawa joins the credit union after serving as branch manager at another local financial institution. His background includes sales, finance, investments, and financial analysis. The credit union is Honolulu’s 11th largest with over $50 million in assets, and serves employees and students of Hawaii’s public schools as well as professional organizations affiliated with the public school system.

Winslow Tanabe has been named Verizon Hawaii‘s new manager of customer operations and construction for Maui and Kauai. The 27-year industry veteran will be responsible for customer service as well as the installation, maintenance and construction of Verizon’s telecommunications network on both islands. Tanabe began his career with Verizon as a switching system engineer in 1977. Tanabe earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in business administration from the University of Hawaii. He succeeds Nelson Tanaka, who retired from the company.

Derrick Uyeda has been named Verizon Hawaii‘s director of customer operations and construction. Uyeda, who rejoined the company after retiring in 2000, oversees operations for construction, installation and maintenance, customer engineering, customer operations and business operations. Uyeda began his telecommunications career in 1975 as a data communications analyst, and had a 25-year tenure with GTE, the corporate predecessor of Verizon. Uyeda earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in business administration from the University of Hawaii.

Florence Yee, Acting Director of the Hawaii State Library since July of last year, has been selected as the new Director of the Hawaii State Library. The HSL Director also oversees the Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped, which not only is part of HSPLS but also serves as a Regional Library of the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped under the Library of Congress. Yee’s Hawaii librarian career spans more than 30 years, including serving as manager at the Kaimuki and Hawaii Kai public libraries as well as the Pearl City bookmobile. Yee succeeds Jo Ann Schindler, who was appointed State Librarian by the Board of Education last October.

Simone C. Polak has been appointed as judge of the District Court of the Second Judicial Circuit by Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the State Senate. Polak has served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney on Maui for the past 15 years. Previously, she worked as a Legislative Law Clerk for Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedman & Girard in California. Polak received her law degree from McGeorge School of Law. Polak will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Eric G. Romanchak.

Governor Linda Lingle named Alexa D. M. Fujise to the Intermediate Court of Appeals and Bert I. Ayabe to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Fujise will become the sixth associate judge in the Intermediate Court of Appeals, while Ayabe will replace the Honorable Dan Kochi who retired at the end of last year. Fujise has been with the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of the Prosecuting Attorney since 1984, where she currently serves as the director of the Research and Reference Support Division. Ayabe has been a district judge in the First Judicial Circuit since June 2003. Prior to that he had a private practice specializing in personal injury and commercial litigation, as well as arbitration and mediation. The two appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

The names of all the candidates for the court appointments were released by Governor Linda Lingle earlier this month. The other nominees to fill the vacancy of Intermediate Court of Appeals Associate Judge (besides Fujise) were Susan M. Ichinose, Victoria S. Marks, Richard K. Perkins, Michael A. Town, and Frances Q. F. Wong. The names were provided by the Judicial Selection Committee. The other nominees to fill the vacancy in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (besides Ayabe) were James H. Hershey, Ronette M. Kawakami, Gerald H. Kibe, Dale W. Lee, and Michael K. Tanigawa.

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