Mayor-Elect Alan Arakawa today named Teena Rasmussen as his Economic Development Coordinator in his fourth announcement of leadership positions in the Arakawa administration.
As Economic Development Coordinator, Rasmussen will be tasked to plan, organize, promote and coordinate economic development strategies, programs and related activities in cooperation with public agencies, educational institutions, businesses and community groups; develop, prepare and review grant funding applications and proposals; and analyze and evaluate County sponsored economic vitality programs including contract administration and compliance monitoring.
Immediate tasks include working on the budget for the Office of Economic Development, working with Arakawa’s Technology Working Group to develop a series of actionable proposals that will leverage technology to grow the local economy, create jobs, and to provide a roadmap to make Maui a thriving software development hub, and forming an economic revitalization task force to develop both short-term and long-term economic development strategies as well as to draft proposed legislation to improve the county and state’s business climate.
“Teena brings to the position 30 years of experience of owning a small business on Maui and volunteer service to government, education, agriculture, and the business community. Her years in working in the challenging agriculture industry, owning and operating a small business, and having to ‘think outside of the box’ have prepared Teena well for the challenges she will face,” said Arakawa.
“I am truly honored to accept the position of Economic Development Coordinator for Maui County under the leadership and vision of Mayor-elect Arakawa. I have had a desire for some time to engage in some type of government service. The timing of Mayor-elect Arakawa’s election was opportune for me. I am excited and looking forward to this new position and the great new partnership Mayor-elect Arakawa wants to create with the businesses of Maui County. I feel my 30 years as a small business owner and all of my previous volunteer service to the community will help me hit the ground running.”
As the co-owner & Vice-President of Paradise Flower Farms, Inc., Rasmussen was recognized as “Small Business Advocate of the Year” for Maui County by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 1991, “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Maui Chamber of Commerce and Island Business Magazine in 2000, “Small Business Person of the Year” for Maui County in 2001, and “Farm Family of the Year” by Maui County Farm Bureau in 2004, “Most Outstanding Farm Family” by Hawaii State Farm Bureau in 2004, “Small Business Champion of the Year” by NFIB Hawaii in 2005, “Outstanding Community Service & Achivement Award” by Maui Agricultural Foundation in 2005, and Ho`okela Awardee for “E-Commerce Retailer of the Year” by Retail Merchants of Hawaii in 2006. Rasmussen also serves as a member of the University of Hawai`i Board of Regents and serves as chair of the Community College Committee, and a member of the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Committees.
Rasmussen will be stepping down from the day-to-day operations at Paradise Flower Farms, Inc., but will continue as a board member and advisor through this transition. The company will continue to be in the capable hands of her husband and company president, Craig Rasmussen. Both of their daughters have returned to join their company and will have active roles in the company’s future. “I have assembled a very accomplished team that will continue our business with the high quality service and fresh floral products that our customers are accustomed to,” said Rasmussen.
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