Gov. Linda Lingle has named Ted Liu as director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and Rodney K. Haraga as director of the state Department of Transportation. Liu is a co-founder and partner of PacifiCap Group, a Honolulu-based venture capital and consulting firm. Haraga is a project manager with KFC Engineering Management, recipient of many city and state construction contracts, and previously served as deputy city engineer for the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works.
Liu, who was born in Taiwan and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was previously a managing director of Morgan Stanley and headed the firm’s investment banking business for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He also served as deputy chief executive officer for China International Capital Corporation, China’s first joint venture investment bank.
“Ted brings an impressive background in management and business at the local, national and international levels,” said Gov. Lingle. “His credentials, worldwide contacts, and keen understanding of international business and investment strategies will be major assets in positioning Hawai`i as a place that is open for business.”
“I have focused my professional career on fostering international investment and business among emerging Asia-Pacific economies and the United States,” said Liu. “Hawai`i is well positioned to benefit from the growth in this arena, but it will require redefining the approach we take to supporting and expanding our existing local businesses and attracting new business and investment.”
As for Haraga, he managed and directed several programs and projects during his 32 years with the City of Los Angeles, including municipal buildings, police and fire facilities, emergency operations, sewers, bridges, storm drains, fire/life safety programs, earthquake reconstruction programs, and seismic restoration.
“Hawai`i is at a critical point where our future growth and prosperity is dependent on our ability to efficiently and safely move people and cargo into, out of, and between our islands,” said Haraga.
A licensed civil and structural engineer, the St. Louis High School graduate directed projects for the Federal Highway Administration, and, following the Northridge earthquake in 1994, Haraga served as lead negotiator for Los Angeles to obtain $140 million in emergency federal funds.
“The quality, reliability and safety of the transportation systems around our island state have a direct impact on our economy and our overall quality of life,” Gov. Lingle said. “Rod understands the challenges ahead, and I am confident that he has the management experience, technical expertise, and creativity to come up with viable, long-term solutions.”
Liu succeeds former DBEDT director Dr. Seiji F. Naya. Haraga succeeds former DOT director Brian Minaai and interim director Glenn Okimoto.