First Hawaiian International Auto Show This Weekend

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The annual First Hawaiian International Auto Show begins this Friday, March 14, and runs through Sunday, March 16 at the Hawai`i Convention Center.

Showcasing new and yet-to-be-seen vehicles, the show features cars for everyone including exotics, car clubs, and cars from the popular CBS television show “Hawaii Five-O.”

For show information and tickets, visit the Motor Trend Auto Show website.

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Green Steps Forward: A Tour of HCC’s “Green Initiatives”

As a new employee, walking into the Hawai‘i Convention Center everyday is both a proud and humbling experience. With a vast facility spanning about 1.1 million square feet, I often wondered how one of the most progressive meeting facilities in the world is managed and maintained.

I was fortunate enough to join a Back-of-the-House Tour held recently for the planning and operations team of JTB Hawai‘I, Inc. It was attended by Ms. Haruna Ishii, Ms. Yuki Ishiguro, Mr. Glenn Kosuge, Mr. Brent (Eiji) Moriguchi and Mr. Yuji Usami.

As organizers of the annual Honolulu Festival, they are no strangers to the Hawai‘i Convention Center but wanted to learn more about the energy-saving, recycling and “green building” efforts we practice.  This provided an opportunity for us to show them around the back end of the Center as representatives from Housekeeping, Engineering, Landscaping and Food & Beverage departments share with them our best practices.

First stop was a short talk with Mari Tait, our Operations Production Manager and Fred Harper, our Building Systems Technical Analyst. We learned that the Center is monitored by a sophisticated computerized building maintenance system that ensures that air conditioning and lighting is turned off if there is no activity in certain areas. They stressed that energy-saving is as much a priority as providing our guests with excellent customer service during each event.

HCC's Mike Roth (Kitchen Manager) shows the JTB Hawaii group HCC's food scrap refrigeration unit where food wastes are held and waiting for pick-up.

We were then joined by Kitchen Manager Mike Roth who showed us around the Loading Dock. Having worked at the Center for over 10 years, Mike’s passion in ensuring a clean, efficient and green Center can be seen and felt in some of the programs he shared with us. We learned that:

  • A food-composting program is in effect in the Center.
  • All leftover food scraps are sent to a company who uses the food for animal feed and are stored in 95-gal totes and kept refrigerated to minimize odor prior to pick-up.
  • All plastic, aluminum and glass as well as cardboard boxes are recycled and Mike showed us where each of these were sorted until pick-up.

Ivy Vito of our Housekeeping team then led us through the service corridors and into our Kitchen. Mike also met us there and was excited to share with us that water used to pre-wash the dishes are filtered and reused again for the same use.

Next stop was the Rooftop Terrace on the 4th level where Marc Isobe our Landscaping Supervisor welcomed us to the Mahealani (Heavenly) Gardens, a 2.5 acre landscaped open area.

HCC's Marc Isobe (Landscaping Supervisor) points to one of the native Hawaiian plants found in the Garden. He hopes to eventually convert most of the Garden with native Hawaiian plants and trees.

Like a proud homeowner showing us his home, Marc walked us around and shared interesting stories of the native Hawaiian plants found in the Garden. He also added that the Center aims to convert the current tropical landscape to have more native Hawaiian plants. “We want each plant in the Garden to actually tell a story and reflect the culture of Hawai’i” Marc shares.

Other future plans include the addition of an herb garden so that the Kitchen can use fresh herbs on their menu.

Our tour ended with a quick visit to Security office where we got a rare glimpse at the security system and cameras in place to monitor the Center.

As said our goodbyes,  Mr. Usami of JTB Hawai’i waved to the security cameras and everyone smiled knowingly, assured that someone is watching and making sure the Center and its guests are protected.

Mike of Food & Beverage shared that “We take care of this place like we would our home.” Revealing a unique sense of ownership that each employee has towards the Hawai‘i Convention Center. I hope that our guests walked away from this experience even more confident that they are in good hands each time they hold an event at the Center.  I know I will.

Mahalo to Ms. Mari Tait, Mr. Fred Harper, Mr. Mike Roth, Ms. Ivy Vito and Mr. Marc Isobe for taking the time to give us this tour and for the opportunity to let us look at the Center through each of their eyes!

Zero Emissions Congress Attracts World Leaders

zero-emissions-2010-640x350-logoThe World Congress on Zero Emissions Initiatives, Launching “The Blue Economy,” will focus on the design of an economic system driven by innovations, generating jobs, and building social capital.

They will be releasing one innovation a week on their website, so you can continue to interact with the ideas presented at the Congress all year long. The introduction is here, along with links to all the innovations currently posted.

Here’s more from the Zero Emissions website:

The Blue Economy is based upon one hundred plus breakthroughs in businesses that have proven their competitiveness. The innovations being addressed at the World Congress are related to Energy, Food, Health, Housing, Transportation, Water and Waste, and how these innovations integrate and provide new job opportunities in today’s changing world. Concrete case studies from around the world will inspire entrepreneurs to follow suit.

This event featured several recognized speakers, including:

PROFESSOR GUNTER PAULI
Author, innovator, founder of ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives)

TOMOYO NONAKA
Chairman GAIA Initiative
Former CEO of Sanyo

HIS EXCELLENCY, THE HONORABLE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, LYONPO THAKUR S. POWDYEL
Royal Government of Bhutan

NAINOA THOMPSON
Executive Director, Polynesian Voyaging Society
Native Hawaiian Master Navigator

One of the most discussed features of this event (and a first for us at the Hawai`i Convention Center!) was that we offered 100% “locally sourced” meals – meaning all food served to the delegates was grown and made right here in Hawai`i. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task for our island archipelago in the middle of the Pacific, or the “piko of the Universe” as we often call it. Piko is the Hawaiian word for belly button. Next time you look at the earth, see if you don’t recognize us. :-)

There were many memorable sessions with noted international speakers, including “talk-story” sessions for eight hundred (800) local elementary, secondary, and high school students. They discussed ways to protect the environment and help eliminate waste with Professor Gunter Pauli, founder of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives organization.

We are proud that our city and state are frequently ranked among the cleanest cities in which to live and work, making the Hawaii Convention Center an ideal location for any event that wants to be eco-friendly and provide a healthy, green environment to their delegates. In March, 2010, Honolulu was ranked third in a USA “green city” index.

This event was produced by Enterprise Honolulu.