Meet Your Local Chamber
The Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce (HICC) brings businesses and professionals together to make Hawai‘i Island a better place to live and do business. Founded in 1898, HICC has served as the voice of business of East Hawai`i and beyond for over 120 years. HICC represents both large and small businesses. Based in Hilo, HICC’s members are nearly 300 businesses, professional organizations and individuals statewide with more than 700 employees who we consider member representatives.
Because we are the voice of business of East Hawai‘i and beyond, we:
Promote the economic well-being of our island, its products and services.
Advocate for policy change that will improve our economy and bring opportunity to our island residents.
Voice our Island’s concerns to state, national and other local Chambers.
Identify issues facing the business community and collaboratively work toward solutions.
Sponsor seminars and programs to help members improve their skills and knowledge.
Keep members informed with data on trends, legislation and economic developments.
Support and cultivate opportunities for the next generation of business leaders.
Offer a one-stop shop for information on how to do business in Hawai‘i and provide relocation information to those moving to the Island of Hawai‘i.
Promote tourism to the Island of Hawai‘i by providing visitor information to travelers and publicizing the services of member businesses.
The Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 123rd anniversary in 2021.
“At last Hilo has got what she has been looking for,”
reported The Hawaii Herald on September 8, 1898, “a genuine Chamber of Commerce, built on a foundation that will withstand any petty jealousies or factional differences that may arise in the community.” At the time, Hilo had about 12,000 residents. The Hilo area businesses included 24 sugar companies and two lumber companies.
The Chamber started from an idea of Dr. Philip Rice’s that there be a businessmen’s club in Hilo. The idea of a club was abandoned in favor of a Chamber of Commerce. Rice served as Chairman.
Perhaps the Chamber languished for a couple years, because the Hawaii Herald again reported on March 19, 1904 “Hilo is to have a Chamber of Commerce composed of representative businessmen and through them the needs of Hilo may be presented to the Federal and Territorial governments (Hawai‘i was a U.S. Territory until l959).
A new name was selected for the organization, the newspaper reported a few days later—the Board of Trade, with Dr. John Holland as the prime mover.
The organization took strong positions, such as for the breakwater in 1904, and applauded the establishment of County governments in 1905.
Still as the Board of Trade, in 1912, the Chamber called for incorporation of Hilo, and in 1913, supported creation of a national park around Kilauea Volcano. In 1916, it supported a Federal Building for Hilo, which was completed the next year.
In the early 1930s, when Hilo had about 13,000 residents and Hawai‘i Island’s population was about 77,000, the organization had 170 members.
In 1948, the name was changed again, this time to what it remains today, the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce.
The purpose of the Hawai`i Island Chamber of Commerce is to assist businesses and promote the Island of Hawai`i. We provide leadership via services and advocacy for the business community while promoting the economic well-being of our island as a whole.
We accomplish this by
Initiating and maintaining
programs of research, education and community.
Identifying the issues
facing the business community and acting to achieve satisfactory solutions.
Working with and coordinating
activities with other organizations to promote a stable and healthy economy.
and rapport between the business community and our governmental decision makers.
and social opportunities for our members.
The Hawai`i Island Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors governs the Chamber and the President of the Board serves as Chief Executive Officer of the organization. The Chamber office is administered by a paid Executive Officer who reports to the President. Member services are supported by a Membership Administrator and Marketing position.
The Chamber accomplishes most of its work through its standing and special committees. The committees are open to all members and member business employees. It is on committees that anyone who is interested in the affairs of the business community has the most input.
Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce
“Voice of Business” for the economic success of our Hawaii Island
Officers & Directors
Officers & Directors
Officers / Executive Committee
David Bock, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
President Elect / Government Affairs Committee Chair
Doug Simons, Institute for Astronomy
Vice President / Economic Development Committee Chair
Randy Kurohara, Community First
Treasurer / Finance Committee Chair
Lara Sonoda, First Hawaiian Bank
Toby Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores
Kehau Amorin – HPM Building Supply
Kapaelani Comstock – Kamehameha Schools Hawai`i
Tyler Dickinson – Bank of Hawaii
Marissa Harman – Kamehameha Schools Hawai`i
Rhea Lee-Moku – Individual Member
Lynn Nuniez – CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union
James Staub – HFS Federal Credit Union
James Tyrin – Business Insurance Services, Inc.
Kevin Waltjen – Hawaiian Electric
Ashley Yamamoto – HPM Building Supply
Nathan Colgrove – Taketa, Iwata, Hara & Associates, LLC
Margaret “Peggy” Farias – W.H. Shipman, Ltd.
Dean Fuke – HMSA
Bonnie Irwin – University of Hawai`i at Hilo
Warren Lee- Honua Ola Bioenergy
Keith Marrack – Edward Jones
Stuart Miller – Grand Naniloa Resort
Lisa Shiroma – Hilo Medical Center
Rachel Solemsaas – Hawai`i Community College
Loren Tsugawa – Isemoto Contracting, Co., Ltd.
Kurt Williams – Big Island Toyota
Garth Yamanaka – Yamanaka Enterprises, Inc.
HICC Staff & Volunteers
Miles Yoshioka, Executive Officer
Taylor Escalona, Membership Administrator & Marketing