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About Us

About the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce

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.

History

History

The Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 122nd anniversary in 2020.

“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.

Purpose

Purpose

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.

Maintaining communication

and rapport between the business community and our governmental decision makers.

Providing networking

and social opportunities for our members.

Organization

Organization

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

President

Toby Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores

President Elect / Government Affairs Committee Chair

David Bock, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Vice President / Economic Development Committee Chair

Doug Simons, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope

Treasurer / Finance Committee Chair

Lara Hughes, First Hawaiian Bank

Immediate Past-President

Rhea Lee-Moku, Individual Member

2-Year Directors

Emmeline de Pillis – University of Hawai`i at Hilo

Margaret “Peggy” Farias – W.H. Shipman, Ltd.

Dean Fuke – HMSA

Randy Kurohara – Creative Arts Hawaii

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.

1-Year Directors

Lincoln Ashida – Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris & Knorek

Nathan Colgrove – Taketa, Iwata, Hara & Associates, LLC

Kapaelani Comstock – Kamehameha Schools Hawai`i

Jason Fujimoto – HPM Building Supply

Marissa Harman – Kamehameha Schools Hawai`i

Amy Honda – Bank of Hawaii

Joseph Marsh – Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lynn Nuniez – CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union

Jonathan Payao – HouseMart

Kimberly Pua – Wesley R. Segawa & Associates, Inc.

Sharon Suzuki – Hawaiian Electric

Gordon Takaki – Individual Member

 

HICC Staff & Volunteers

Miles Yoshioka, Executive Officer

Taylor Escalona, Membership Administrator & Marketing

Jennifer Kamimura, Volunteer

Special Investors

Special Investors