DOT Director Morioka awarded national engineering honor

August 4, 2010, 11:23 AM HST · Updated August 4, 11:23 AM
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Hawaii’s Transportation Director Brennon Morioka was honored today with the Civil Government Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.  The prestigious national award recognizes members of the engineering profession for their government service.

“I am surprised and deeply humbled by this honor,” Morioka said.  “This award is really a validation of the hard work the DOT staff has done in serving the public, and I am proud to accept the Civil Government Award on behalf of our entire team.”

“Brennon is highly driven and very committed,” said Jeff Kalani, president of the Hawai‘i chapter of ASCE.  “It’s great that he’s taking his leadership skills and engineering background and applying it into the local government.  He is making a big difference in Hawai‘i and is a deserving recipient.”

Morioka has been with the DOT since 2005, when he served as deputy director, Highways Division.  In 2007, Governor Linda Lingle appointed him director, overseeing and managing the state’s 15 airports, 10 commercial harbors and approximately 2,500 lane miles of roadway across Hawai‘i.

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Under his leadership, the DOT Airports Division is implementing a 12-year, $2.3 billion Airports Modernization Plan to improve airport infrastructure, increase capacity and enhance the traveler experience.  The Harbors Division is also pushing a six-year, $618 million Harbor Modernization Plan.  Hawai‘i imports 80 percent of all goods consumed and 98 percent of these imported goods enter the state’s harbors.  Morioka also spent the past two legislative sessions proposing a $4 billion highways modernization plan for a much-needed upgrade to the state’s roadway system to help ease congestion and make the highways safer for motorists.

“The Airports and Harbors Modernization Programs are two of the largest infrastructure investments our state has ever seen.  I’m fortunate to have been able to work with partners and stakeholders that collectively believe in the value of investing in our state’s infrastructure,” said Morioka.

Governor Lingle recognized Morioka during a ceremony in her chambers today.  The National Chapter of ASCE will honor Morioka at an awards ceremony in Las Vegas in October.

”Brennon has been committed to improving Hawai‘i’s transportation systems, using innovative solutions and strategic partnerships that involve collaboration with county and federal governments, the private sector and the community,” said Governor Lingle.  “Brennon is an exceptional engineer, a dedicated public servant and an inspirational leader who has motivated his staff to move forward on crucial transportation infrastructure modernization plans that will position Hawai‘i for the future.  He is an outstanding role model for our youth and a good example of the positive impact a career in engineering can have on our community.”

This is only the second time ASCE has given this award to a professional in Hawai‘i.  Former State Transportation Director Edward Hirata received this honor in 1988.

Morioka was among Pacific Business News’ Forty Under 40 in 2009 and also received numerous awards including the Bike to Work Complete Streets Hero Award and Hawai‘i’s Young Engineer of the Year Award.

Morioka received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  He obtained both his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and is also an ‘Iolani School graduate.

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