Maui News

Governor Announces More Cabinet Selections

December 15, 2010, 1:49 PM HST
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Governor Neil Abercrombie is two appointments shy of rounding out his list of 16 cabinet positions.  Director selections must still be made for the Department of Health and the State Attorney General.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz look on as a blessing is made during the December 11, 2010 confirmation ceremonies on Maui. Karey Kapoi, with the Inauguration Committe looks on (middle back). Photo by Wendy Osher.

Today, Hawaii’s new governor announced 11 new appointments including the selection of four members to the state Transportation Team, as well as directors for Accounting and General Services, Community Services, and Human Services.  New selections were also made for Insurance Commissioner, Consumer Advocate, and the Department of Defense.

“All members of the Abercrombie Administration are already working hard toward implementing our vision of a New Day in Hawaii,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “We are making great progress in completing our team of successful and capable leaders who are ready to work together and come up with solutions for the challenges facing Hawaii,” he said.

Today’s appointments include the following:

Department of Transportation

  • Glenn Okimoto (DOT Director).  Dr. Okimoto, 57, currently serves at the Budget Director for the University of Hawaii System.  He served as Deputy Director for the Administration Division of the DOT between 1994 and 2001.
  • Randy Grune (DOT Deputy Director for Harbors).  Grune, 54, is Principal of Next Generation Consulting Company. Prior to that he was President & CEO at Hawaii Stevedores, Inc., where he worked for 16 years.
  • Ford Fuchigami (DOT Deputy Director for Airports).  Fuchigami, 55, worked for 34 years in the Hospitality, Healthcare, and Laundry industries.  According to a news release, his experience includes contracting and procurement, business development, employee relations and operation management.
  • Jadine Urasaki (DOT, Deputy Director for Capital Improvements Projects).  Urasaki, 41, is the Public Works Manager for the Department of Education Facilities Development Branch. Her experience includes 17 years of administrative management and engineering in the private and public sectors.

Department of Accounting and General Services

  • Ryan Okahara (DAGS, Deputy Director).  Okahara, 42, most recently served as Vice President of Organizational Development at First Insurance Company of Hawaii.  Previously, he worked at Hawaiian Electric Company and Pihana Pacific, a Hawaii based technology start-up. Mr. Okahara is also a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard and currently serves as the Commander of the 154th Mission Support Group.

Department of Defense

  • Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong (Adjutant General).  Gen. Wong, 60, is Chief of Staff of the Hawaii Air National Guard and also serves as Commander, Hawaii Air National Guard, Hickam Air Force Base.
  • Brig. Gen. Joe Kim (Deputy Adjutant General).  Gen. Kim, 50, has more than 28 years of military service, including 11 years of active service. He has deployed worldwide in support of operations from Desert Storm to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Department of Human Services

  • Pankaj Bhanot (DHS Deputy Director).  Bhanot is the Division Administrator of the Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division of the state Department of Human Services (DHS). Prior to joining DHS, Bhanot served as the Family Development Director of the Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc.

Consumer Advocate – Jeffrey T. Ono.  Ono, 55, is a partner at the law firm of Galiher DeRobertis Ono, where he practices personal injury law, including product liability, pharmaceutical liability, asbestos, toxic tort, construction/industrial accidents, automobile accidents, and premises liability.


Insurance Commissioner – Gordon Ito.  Ito has been Insurance Commissioner since his appointment by then-Gov. Lingle in July 2010.  Prior to his appointment, he served as the Chief Deputy Insurance Commissioner since 2000. Mr. Ito served as supervising attorney for the Insurance Division from 1993 to 2000, and was in private practice before that.

Office of Community Services

  • Mila Kaahanui (Director).  Kaahanui is a social worker and Filipino Civil Rights leader. She is a former Program Administrator for Immigrant and Refugee Services at the Office of Community Service. Ms. Kaahanui was also Director of the Municipal Reference and Records Center for the City and County of Honolulu.

All department directors are still subject to Senate confirmation.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; supporting information courtesy Office of the Governor, Hawaii) *** If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our story on the appointment of Maui’s Kalbert Young to the Abercrombie Administration.

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