Cultural Training Program

As the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 Leaders’ Meeting approaches, nearly 100 Hawai`i Convention Center staff are attending training sessions to learn more about one of the APEC member economies:  China.

The sessions are part of Kapiolani Community College’s (KCC) Chinese cultural training program, and are intended to help Center staff get a better understanding for the appropriate protocol when interacting with Chinese visitors.  Center staff members – ranging from the executive team to engineers, greeters, and housekeepers – are learning appropriate greetings, phrases, and etiquette.

In addition to APEC preparations, China is a major emerging visitor market for Hawai`i, adding to the popularity of the program.  Nearly 3,000 visitor industry employees have taken part since its start nearly two years ago, after KCC established the training with a grant from the Hawai`i Tourism Authority.

Training is available in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean cultures, although about 70 percent of the participation so far has been focused on China.

Read more about the Center’s participation in the program and other efforts to prepare for November’s APEC meeting in Pacific Business News.

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!

Mahalo to our Hawai`i Business Ambassadors

The Hawai`i Convention Center honored participants in its Hawai`i Business Ambassadors program at a special reception in February.  Attendees enjoyed pupu and live entertainment while recognizing the hard work of these community and business leaders.

Mel Nakamura pictured with Pris Texeira of Hawai`i Business Ambassadors

Hawai`i Business Ambassador Mel Nakamura of the International Association of Lions Clubs was honored for his support of the program.  Jeanette and Ronald Chun, longtime members of the Honolulu Marathon Association Board, were also recognized.  The Honolulu Marathon registration and exhibit are held at the Center each December.

Jeanette and Ronald Chun pictured with the Center’s Lois Asato, middle.


The Hawai`i Business Ambassadors program capitalizes on the resources of the local community to provide even greater support and resources to clients, as well as expand the market potential and increase business for the Center.  A large percentage of international conferences, and even national association conventions, need an invitation from a Hawai`i contingent to consider Hawai`i as a destination, making the local ambassador an instrumental tool in securing business for the Center and for Hawai`i.

Association Advisory Board Discusses Strategy & Initiatives

Members of the Association Advisory Board meet with Hawai`i Convention Center management.

Members of the Hawai`i Convention Center Association Advisory Board (AAB) met in mid-November to provide guidance and tactical feedback to the Hawai`i Convention Center’s management team on its marketing strategy and initiatives.  They focused on Hawai`i’s many benefits as a business destination, as well as dispelling misconceptions associated with conducting business here.  Discussion topics also included an evaluation of the Center’s advertising campaign, branding concepts, and economic impact and effectiveness to the State of Hawai`i.  Members participating in this year’s meeting were:

New Art Exhibit Unveiled at the Hawai`i Convention Center

Uncommon Objects - 3rd Floor

The Hawai`i Convention Center has a new art exhibit in the museum cases on the third floor.  Titled “Uncommon Objects,” the new exhibit includes craftwork by local artists who are instructors at the UH Manoa and other colleges and schools in Hawai`i.

James Kuroda, the curator in charge of the Arts in Public Places program from the Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, offered a few explanations to give us a better understanding and appreciation for the exhibit.

The steps and footwear are displayed at the start of the exhibit in Case 2 (see photo below).  It represents the entry into the exhibit as steps are the entry to a house.  The largest piece is at the end of the exhibit, representing the end or back of the house.

The next time you are on the third floor at the Hawai`i Convention Center, take the time to stop by the showcases located on the mauka side of the building (between rooms 302-306).

Uncommon Objects - Case 2

This is the most recent enhancement to the $2.5 million art collection housed at the Hawai`i Convention Center as part of the Arts in Public Places Program.

A huge mahalo to James Kuroda and all of the wonderful SFCA and HCC staff who helped with the installation.  Now everyone can enjoy!

SFCA staff in front of their favorite collection.

HCC Wins Inner Circle Award

inner-circle-award-2010-150x153-logoAssociation Meetings Magazine awarded the Hawai`i Convention Center with its 2010 Inner Circle Award in the category of Top Convention Centers.

“We are extremely pleased with the recognition, which is a tremendous testament to the hard work of our staff and industry partners,” said Joe Davis, SMG general manager of the Hawai`i Convention Center. “This is a significant award for us since a majority of our business comes from association groups.”

The awards are determined from votes by Association Meetings Magazine readers. Association Meetings Magazine focuses on the trends and issues affecting the management of association meetings, trade shows, conventions and seminars.

Check out their site if you are new to meeting planning – they have a wealth of information available and are helping to set the standards of professionalism for the Meetings and Event Planning Industry.

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.

HCC Staff Attend ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo

asae_logoAugust was the month for the annual convention and trade show of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) – one of the signature events for the Hawai`i Convention Center (HCC).

This year’s Annual Meeting was held in Los Angeles, CA on August 21-24 and attracted more than 3,000 meeting professionals. Hawai`i travel industry partners joined the HCC for joint activities in the Hawai`i Pavilion trade show booth to help promote Hawai`i as a perfect meetings and conventions destination.

The HCC partnered with Hawaiian Airlines to host a pre-ASAE familiarization trip for select east coast association meeting planners. Association planners from the following groups attended:

  • United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology;
  • American Mathematical Society;
  • American Association of Molecular Pathology;
  • Club Managers Association of America.

Together, these organizations represent over 100,000 room nights should they choose Hawai`i for their future meetings!

The HCC also hosted a joint client event partnering with the Toronto Convention and Visitors Bureau at Lucky Strike Lanes in the new L.A. Live District of Los Angeles. More than 100 clients participated in the event. The trade show and client event generated interest which could lead to over 10 city-wide conventions and possibly 20 single property conferences.