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President’s Message – July 2021

By: David Bock, President

I am honored and humbled to be president of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce for FY 2021-22.

After several years serving the HICC as a board member and officer, I can attest to how steadfast and effective this organization is at supporting its members and the community at large. That’s a testament to the amount of talent and business acumen possessed by the HICC’s dedicated staff and volunteers. It’s truly impressive to behold.

We need that talent as much as ever, because the long shadow cast by COVID-19 lingers. In terms of business, we are still a long way from the “new normal” – whatever that will entail. The economy that emerges after this unprecedented disruption is only now taking shape, and the HICC will play a key role in that outcome.

For that reason, my goal as president is to stay the course. This is not the time for a new agenda. The HICC must continue to do everything possible to support our members as they navigate out of the pandemic and into a post-COVID world. It’s unknown territory, but the HICC has your back.

In the short term, however, many obstacles to a full economic recovery remain.

Unemployment in Hawaii County is unacceptably high, yet many businesses are struggling to find workers. Despite the recent easing of state restrictions, rules regarding gathering sizes continue to put a strain on many businesses and nonprofits. Tourism is improving but still has a long way to go. Many goods, such as vehicles and building materials, remain in short supply. And consumer prices have been rising for the past 12 months.

Some of these challenges will self-correct over time. But overcoming others will take innovative thinking, hard work, and a strong community that pulls together for the sake of all. The HICC stands ready to heed the call.

Before closing, allow me to express a heartfelt mahalo to Immediate Past President Toby Taniguchi, whose entire presidency occurred during the pandemic. His impeccable leadership helped the HICC succeed despite an extremely challenging year.

Thank you also to last year’s officers and directors for your hard work — and your unwavering willingness to do it all remotely.

I look forward to a productive year with the HICC. Mahalo, and have a great Fourth of July weekend.