Hawai`i Convention Center Puts Local Flavors to the Test for Hawai`i Agriculture Conference

Hawai`i Convention Center Executive Chef Jacob Silver prepares pan-roasted tilapia with red tomato crema live on KHON2’s “Hawaii’s Kitchen” with reporter Manolo Morales, showcasing the main entree for the Hawai`i Agriculture Conference’s 100 Percent Local Hawai`i Products Awards Luncheon at the HCC later that day.

It was a menu more than three months in the making.

As part of the sixth Hawai`i Agriculture Conference, the Hawai`i Convention Center food and beverage team served up a luncheon of fresh fish, salads, fruits, and desserts for 400 guests – with one catch:  Each ingredient had to be sourced from Hawai`i.

Although the Center features local ingredients in its menus as much as possible, it was only the second time that the team has been tasked with creating a menu from 100 percent locally sourced foods, following similar efforts for more than 400 guests at The World Congress of Zero Emissions Initiativesin September 2010.

Chef Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawai`i (far left) prepares a locally sourced steak and vegetables dish live on KHON2’s “Hawaii’s Kitchen,” while reporter Manolo Morales talks with taro farmer Daniel Anthony, founder of Mana Ai, about pounding taro. Noguchi and Anthony were featured chefs at the Hawai`i Agriculture Conference later that day at the HCC.

The two-day agriculture conference, from September 20-21, featured seminars and programs to highlight how partnerships and collaboration can strengthen the state’s agriculture sector.

Registered attendees and guests with a special “Foodie Pass” were able to attend the All-Hawai`i Products Luncheon on September 20, as well as a Pau Hana Reception later that evening.  The reception included nine demonstrations from Hawai`i chefs and farmers ranging from cooking with local invasive species to preparing meals with local produce easily purchased at the grocery store.  The kick-off demonstration, from Hawai`i Convention Center Chef Gary Matsumoto, showcased how to cook meals from a CSA – or community-supported agriculture – box.

Hawai`i Convention Center Chef Gary Matsumoto leads the kick-off cooking demonstration at the Hawai`i Agriculture Conference’s Pau Hana Reception at the HCC. Matsumoto showcased how to cook meals from a CSA – or community-supported agriculture – box.

“It’s a really important thing, cooking locally,” Hawai`i Convention Center Executive Chef Jacob Silver told KHON2’s Manolo Morales during a “Hawai`i’s Kitchen” morning show segment.  “It’s important everywhere, but especially in Hawai`i because we are so isolated here and it’s important to support our economy and get everyone on board with eating locally.  It’s always better to eat what’s near you and what’s fresh because it always tastes better.”

To best showcase the rich variety of foods available from Hawai`i’s farms, ranches, and waters, the Center created a multi-faceted luncheon menu that included pan-roasted tilapia raised in an aquaponics system in Waiawa; strawberries, lavender, and pickled onions from Maui; and brittle and oil from macadamia nuts grown on the Big Island.  The menu also included tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, mixed greens, and potatoes from farms throughout Oahu, as well as a red tomato crema and honey vanilla fromage blanc using cream from a North Shore Oahu dairy.

The menu did not come without challenges, including hand-making vinegar several months in advance for the pineapple citrus vinaigrette, and the lack of popular items such as flour, rice, black pepper, and shoyu.

Live segment #1: Chef Mark Noguchi

Live segment #2: Chef Mark Noguchi and Daniel Anthony

Live segment #3: Chef Jacob Silver

Live segment #4: Chef Jacob Silver

Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai`i to Host 2012 Hawai`i Agriculture Conference

The 2012 Hawai`i Agricultural Conference will be at the Hawai`i Convention Center September 20-21, 2012.

The Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai`i will host the 2012 Hawai`i Agriculture Conference at the Hawai`i Convention Center on September 20 & 21, 2012.

Inspired by the United Nations “Year of the Cooperative,” this year’s theme will be Leveraging Partnerships for Profit. Through lessons and tools focusing on working together, the conference aims to ignite collaboration amongst local businesses within the community with encouragement from examples of successful partnerships.

This year’s conference will feature several nationally acclaimed speakers, including Larry Yee, co-founder and director of the Food Commons; Sarah Stokes Alexander of the Keystone Center in Colorado; and also Lauren Anderson of Collaborative Lab. All well known and respected, they will open minds to new ways of thinking as we Leverage Partnerships for Profit. Additionally there will be over two dozen Hawai`i based producers and agriculture professionals speaking throughout the two days.

A highlight of the event will be the all-Hawai`i products luncheon featuring the Monty Richards Leadership Award presented to Donna Ching in appreciation for her decades of service to the agriculture sector. Later that evening at the Pau Hana Reception, join the agriculture professionals to celebrate the bounty of our food and farming culture. Cooking and food growing demonstrations will feature farmers, urban gardeners, and chefs providing attendees with easy “how to’s” and recipe ideas to be used at home. The trade show is expected to gather over fifty vendors who will host demos and provide samples of their products.

Registration to exhibit at the Trade Show and network with nearly 500 farmers, managers, and agricultural industry professionals is open through September 1, 2012. Click here for more information on exhibiting at the conference.

Online registration to attend the conference is also open now. Two-Day Passes including all sessions, meals, the trade show, and the reception is $225 for the early bird special (before August 15, 2012; $275 after). A Foodie Pass is available for $100 for those who only want to attend the Awards Luncheon and Pau Hana Reception.

For more information, visit www.hawaiiagconference.org or contact Allyson Turner at conference@agleaderhi.org.

Fourth-Annual Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo to Showcase Hawai`i as Leader in Energy Advancement and Business Opportunities

Photo: Luci Pemoni/Diamond Head Photography

The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo will draw more than 1,000 attendees to the Hawai`i Convention Center from Aug. 13-15, 2012, to explore breakthrough advancements in energy technologies, as well as opportunities for new projects throughout the state.  The meeting is the latest to advance Hawai`i’s focus on renewable energy and science industries, which were highlighted in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Four Pillars, or theme areas, in November 2011.

This premier high-level global networking forum and scientific meeting allows companies from throughout North American and the Pacific Rim to better understand Hawai`i’s clean energy opportunities and advance the state’s goal of achieving 70% clean energy use by 2030, as outlined by the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative.  The fourth-annual meeting, which has grown in attendance each year, also offers global and defense projects, as hundreds of business leaders, development agencies, and economic offices gather to find partners.

Highlights from this year’s meeting will include the Defense Energy Technology Challenge, an effort continued from 2011 that allows selected companies and organizations to present new technologies to the defense, clean energy, and investment communities.  More than 250 submissions were received, covering areas such as renewable power, vehicle technologies, and energy storage.  New this year is the Project Finance Connect Program, which connects growth-stage companies and clean energy projects with finance sources, developers, and partners.  More than 100 submissions were received.

Photo: Luci Pemoni/Diamond Head Photography

The meeting will also draw participation from more than 45 exhibitors, including global companies Toyota, Caterpillar, and Lockheed Martin, as well as a new poster program, which attracted more than 200 submissions from around the world, 80 of which were selected for presentation.

The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo is hosted by the State of Hawai`i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism in partnership with the Clean Technology and Sustainable Industries Organization (CTSI).

Hawai`i Convention Center Awarded $80,000 Rebate for Energy Efficiency Upgrades to Air Quality System Fans

The Hawai`i Convention Center recently completed another major effort to enhance the conservation of Hawai`i’s natural resources and reduce its impact on the environment.

The Center installed new variable frequency drives (VFDs) to loading dock area fans to ensure optimum air quality.  A VFD improves efficiency by adjusting motor speed to more closely match output requirements, which typically results in energy savings.  The installation was supported by a $79,781 rebate from Hawai`i Energy, the energy efficiency and conservation program for Hawai`i, Honolulu, and Maui counties, and will result in an energy savings of nearly 445,000 kilowatt hours annually.

The Center’s previous rebates and awards for energy-saving measures have totaled nearly $350,000 for projects including lighting upgrades and a new jockey chiller.  When it opened in 1998, the Center was also awarded Hawaiian Electric Company’s Energy Project of the Year for its efficient design.

Community Comes Together to Beautify Public Areas in Preparation for APEC

Hawai`i Convention Center employees joined cleanup efforts in the neighboring areas.

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Nakayama, Hawai`i Convention Center.

Hawai`i Convention Center employees joined a group of state government officials, organizations, community members, schools, and businesses to remove graffiti and clean up public areas around Honolulu during the Community Wide Cleanup & Graffiti Paint-Out event on October 29, 2011.

More than 1,000 volunteers joined clean up efforts sponsored by Totally Against Graffiti (T.A.G.) and organized by the APEC Hawai`i Host Committee in preparation for November’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.  Cleanup locations included the Kapahulu, McCully, and Moiliili neighborhoods.

Efforts were featured by Hawai`i News Now on October 29 :

HCC Welcomes New Director of Operations

Jennifer Nakayama, Director of Operations

The Hawai`i Convention Center extends a warm aloha to a new member of our team!  Jennifer Nakayama is our new Director of Operations, joining us from California, where she spent the past five years overseeing 81 projects totaling $8.6 million at Sea World San Diego.

At the Center, Jennifer will oversee engineering, housekeeping, capital projects, and security guest services.  Her experience includes master planning and corporate initiatives, solar and green projects, water quality, and company partnerships.  She also has a strong background in customer service, consensus and team building, and staff cross-training.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and dancing.

Welcome to the team, Jennifer!

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!

Honolulu Third Most Green of Top 43 Cities

ti-leave-with-dew-drops-by-kretyen-640x350The 2010 Green Cities Index ranks Honolulu as the third most green city!
Photo credit: Ti Leave with Dew Drops by kretyn on Flickr.

Analyzed data from a variety of research and government agencies ranked Honolulu the third most “green” city among 43 U.S. metropolitan areas.

The Green Cities Index, compiled by the Business Courier of Cincinnati, a sister publication of Honolulu’s Pacific Business News, took into account several variables such as:

  • commuting habits
  • travel time
  • fuel use
  • LEED-certified projects
  • the number of green jobs
  • air and water quality

This survey goes along with the same principles and the practices of the Hawai‘i Convention Center,” said Joe Davis, SMG general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center. “Because we are located in an island state, sustainability and energy conservation is very important to us so we are pleased with the findings.

Davis pointed out that the Hawai‘i Convention Center operates by the LEED rating system and integrates energy-saving systems throughout the building including a ventilating and air-conditioning system specifically designed for Hawai‘i’s tropical climate. The system has heat exchangers to transmit waste heat from the chiller condenser for humidity control. The Center also uses all fluorescent lamps and ballasts that are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. On another level, the HCC provides a specially created Clean Energy micro-site that provides information on alternative energy research and innovation in Hawai‘i.

“Organizations want to meet at an environmentally friendly and sustainable venue and we are pleased that our facility, and our city, live up to their wishes,” Davis added.

The Center’s environmental practices were key reasons why the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photovoltaic Specialists meeting and the World Congress on Zero Emissions Initiatives will be held there in June and September of this year and the American Association of Foresters to meet in 2011.

Read more at the Pacific Business News.

And be sure to check out our history of Green Initiatives here at the Hawai`i Convention Center.

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.

Hawai`i Convention Center Hosts Renewable Energy & Sustainability Conferences

Governor Linda Lingle in the Nissan Leaf electric carGovernor Lingle and Lt. Governor Aiona take a test drive at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo. (Photo by Luci Pemoni.) Over 800 attendees from over 19 nations joined the 2nd annual summit and expo to discuss global renewable energy initiatives through the summit’s dynamic program and Hawaii’s testing, pilot, and early technology adoption projects.

From their website:

Hawaii is one of the world’s leading incubators for clean technology development through strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 corporations, U.S. military energy programs and the Hawaiian Electric Industries multiple renewable and microgrid pilot programs.

 

photo of Sen Dan InouyeThe Hawai`i Convention Center hosted two conferences in September focusing on renewable energy technologies, zero emissions, and sustainability. The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo became the platform for the launch of the new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, with Governor Linda Lingle and Lt. Governor Duke Aiona taking it for a test run. Presentations at the summit included keynotes by Senator Daniel K. Inouye, and Governor Luo Baoming of the Hainan Province, People’s Republic of China.

We also hosted the World Congress on Zero Emissions Initiatives. (Follow the link to read more about that event here on our blog.)

Together, these two first time events for the Hawai`i Convention Center hosted 1,800 off shore and local delegates representing $8,499,217 in visitor spending and $824,424 in tax revenue.