Business Roundup for Jan. 19


Agriculture forum set for Tuesday in Hilo

Re-establishing Hawaii's agriculture industry and generating workers needed to run it are the goals of a free farming conference set for Tuesday in Hilo.

The Sustainable Agriculture Skills Panel Forum will feature presentations from Hawaii's agriculture and labor directors, along with informational tables where farmers can receive guidance and answers to their questions, an event spokesman said.

It will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Nani Mau Gardens located at 421 Makalika St.

"In order to re-establish agriculture as an essential component for the well-being of our island community, a capable and competent workforce will be required with the ability to fulfill the unique needs of a progressive agricultural industry" is the forum's stated goal.

To achieve that, the skills panel will focus on four sectors: innovation and sustainability; regulatory issues; education and training; and infrastructure and marketing.

Members then will develop statewide strategies to teach people about the industry's importance, develop an action plan for meeting workforce needs and offer solutions for promoting local agriculture.

Due to limited seating, reservations are required by Friday. Interested participants may email reservations to stanford.j.fichtman@hawaii.gov or call 808-586-8672.

Forum sponsors include the state departments of Agriculture and Labor and Industrial Relations, the University of Hawaii Community Colleges, Big Island Workforce Connection, Workforce Development Council and the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

Big Island hotel hires new catering manager

Pyramid Hotel Group has appointed Kimberly Higashi as catering and convention services manager at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, a 22-acre oceanfront resort on the Big Island.

"Kim is a natural for our team here at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa," said Area Managing Director and General Manager Steve Lindburg. "Her skills are already being appreciated as we build awareness of our Bayside Wedding Gardens and of this resort as Hawaii's ideal location for destination weddings and celebrations for guests and island residents."

Higashi grew up in Waipahu, Oahu, and is a graduate of the University of Hawaii's School of Travel Industry Management. A Hawaii Island resident for 11 years now, Higashi gained hospitality management experience in a variety of guest service positions first at the Waikiki Beachcomber in Honolulu and most recently as catering and conference services manager at Mauna Kea Resort. Higashi will be focusing her attention on weddings and celebrations at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa to help ensure that each couple's special day is superlative.

To learn more about Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, visit www.sheratonkeauhou.com.

Companies launch airline program

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaiian Airlines and a Japan carrier are launching a code-sharing agreement and frequent flyer program.

Starting today, ANA customers will be able to book connecting flights on Hawaiian Airlines between Honolulu and Kailua-Kona, Lihue, Hilo and Kahului through ANA.

Hawaiian will place its flight code on ANA-operated flights between Tokyo's Haneda International Airport and Honolulu, as well as flights that connect to Chitose, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Oita, Kagoshima and Okinawa. Customers will be able to book these flights directly through Hawaiian.

As of last month, ANA Mileage Club members can earn and redeem miles on all Hawaiian Airlines-operated neighbor island flights. HawaiianMiles member can earn and redeem miles on all ANA-operated codeshare flights.

All Nippon Airways is the largest airline in Japan in passenger numbers.

Civilian security guard spots open

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Oahu (AP) — Navy Region Hawaii is hiring 60 civilian security guards.

The positions are being created to replace contracted gate guards as the law allowing the federal government to contract guard services will expire in September.

Navy Region Hawaii provides protection services to all Navy installations in the state including Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Lualualei, the Naval and Computer Telecommunications Area Master Station in Wahiawa and West Loch.

Most of the positions are at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Applications will be accepted until Jan. 24 with start dates in May and July. Annual salary ranges from $31,960 to $41,544, plus a 12.25 percent cost-of-living allowance.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens and will need to pass physical exams, agility testing, drug testing and obtain security clearance.

School to market private campus

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii school for girls is marketing the campus as a location to hold weddings and events.

La Pietra School signed an exclusive agreement last month with Distinctive Homes Hawaii Real Estate to market the five-acre campus as a wedding and event venue.

The campus is on the slopes of the iconic Diamond Head crater. Distinctive Homes Hawaii CEO Warren Daniel says that makes for an ideal venue offering a "magnificent panorama of Waikiki."

The La Pietra estate and school has previously been only available as a private venue to graduates of the school.

Walter F. Dillingham purchased the property in 1919 and built La Pietra, a lavish Italian villa for his wife, Louise Olga Gaylord, of Florence, Italy.

Funding to repair harbor on Oahu

HONOLULU (AP) — An Oahu boat harbor damaged by the tsunami spawned by the March 11 earthquake in Japan will be getting more than $1.4 million in repairs.

Hawaii's congressional delegation in Washington said Tuesday the money for Keehi Small Boat Harbor comes from a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

About 200 boats were damaged at the harbor after waves shook loose docks with the vessels attached.

The harbor is home to about 400 berths and is located about five miles from Waikiki on Oahu's south shore.