Maui Finalists Make Big Wins at HLTA’s Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards

January 16, 2018, 11:01 AM HST · Updated January 17, 10:18 PM
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Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry honored the best-of-the-best of its employees at the 28th Annual Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana (the hard-working people) Awards. Nearly a thousand employees, family members, and industry representatives from throughout the state gathered for the luncheon ceremony, which was sponsored by the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association and held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on January 11.

Maui Finalists Make Big Wins at HLTA’s Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards

Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said, “We’re very proud to recognize the people who are the heart and soul of our visitor industry. They number in the tens of thousands across the state, and this year we have been able to recognize 60 of the finest individuals across small, medium, and large hotels throughout the state.

All of the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana honorees embody the aloha spirit at work and in the community, and we cannot be more thankful for their contributions to the success of our industry.”

Recipients of HLTA’s accolades are selected based on nominations submitted by their supervisors and co-workers, and are judged on the basis of outstanding and exceptional service to lodging guests, co-workers, and the community.

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A total of 67 awards were presented at the event. This year’s Na Po‘e Paahana award winners and runners-up are as follows. Maui finalists are highlighted:

Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year
1st Place – Clarence Yee, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

2nd Place – Branden Gaspar, Waikiki Resort Hotel

3rd Place – Juanito Tomas, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club

Manager of the Year
1st Place – Carol Lopes, Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk

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2nd Place – Brandon Maeda, The Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas
3rd Place – Anderson Almario, Sheraton Waikiki

Bell/Valet Person of the Year

Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):
1st Place – Patricio (Peter) Santiago, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
2nd Place – George Sumida, Prince Waikiki
3rd Place – Benjamin Sarian, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

1st Place – Oren Yamagata, Waikoloa Beach Marriott
2nd Place – Craig Shimizu, The Kahala Hotel & Resort
3rd Place – Nathan Brovelli, Aston at The Whaler on Kāʻanapali Beach

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

1st Place – Rexie Butihi, Maui Beach Hotel
2nd Place – Tiki Uikirifi, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
3rd Place – James Winston, Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites

Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year
Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

1st Place – David Rickard, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa

2nd Place – Trudenio Ramirez, Sheraton Waikiki
3rd Place – Nelson Tomas, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

1st Place – Terence Yamasaki, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel
2nd Place – Wayne Ohta, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
3rd Place – Rodney Young, Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

1st Place – Xing Lin, Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
2nd Place – Ferdinand Lagundino, Lawai Beach Resort
3rd Place – Ben Simao, Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u

Food & Beverage Person of the Year
Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

1st Place – Roger Arrieta, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa

2nd Place – Willie Aniban, The Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas
3rd Place – Thomas Rodrigues, Sheraton Waikiki

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

1st Place – Sharon Pacheco-Escobar, Waikoloa Beach Marriott
2nd Place – Nancy Dearborn, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

3rd Place – Debra Agdinaoay, Andaz Maui at Wailea

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

1st Place – Robert Bidigare, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

Front Office Person of the Year
Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

1st Place – Melani Akuna, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
2nd Place – Kelly Stutzman, Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
3rd Place – Byron “Keola” Makaiau, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

1st Place – Rebecca “Becs” Kaneapua-Alexander, Aston at The Whaler on Kāʻanapali Beach
2nd Place – Denise “Dee Dee” Mikasa, The Kahala Hotel & Resort

3rd Place – Craig Pohl, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

1st Place – Tracy Pinnow, Ewa Hotel Waikiki
2nd Place – Janine Pagador, Lawai Beach Resort
3rd Place – Darwin Van Antwerp, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Royal Garden at Waikiki

Housekeeper of the Year

1st Place – Wilfredo Galicha, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Arnel Tuazon, Hale Koa Hotel
3rd Place – Brittany Bilbrey, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

1st Place – Delia Bernal, The Kahala Hotel & Resort
2nd Place – Ador Recaido, Aston Waikiki Sunset
3rd Place – Leah Cacay, Waikiki Resort Hotel

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

1st Place – Remedios Castillo, The Pagoda Hotel
2nd Place – Andrea Clemente, Aqua Oasis Hotel
3rd Place – Jocelyn Bato, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

Security Officer of the Year

Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):
1st Place – Marvin Rabara, The Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas
2nd Place – Steven Sotelo, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
3rd Place – Jameson DeMello, Hale Koa Hotel

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

1st Place – Shawn Maxwell, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
2nd Place – Avlyn Moniz, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
3rd Place – Nathan Chun, OHANA Waikiki East by Outrigger

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

1st Place – Mark Pasion, Lawai Beach Resort
2nd Place – Shawn Uyeda, Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u

Allied Member of the Year
Alaska Airlines. was named the Allied Member of the Year. The company was recognized as a valuable member of the HLTA for its support of Hawai‘i’s visitor industry and the community.

Leader in Sustainability Award

The Kahala Hotel & Resort, for their exemplary sustainable practices which have been implemented in its daily operations for over 50 years.

Hospitality Educator of the Year

Charlene Navarro, Kauai High School, for her active engagement in Kauai High School’s Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and enduring support of Hawai‘i’s future hospitality leaders.

Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy Award

The Brothers Cazimero, for playing an instrumental role in Hawaii’s visitor industry through the field of culture, arts, and entertainment. 

Woman of the Year Award

Teri Orton, Hawaii Convention Center/AEG Facilities, for her leadership within the hospitality industry, community and HLTA’s Women in Lodging & Tourism committee.

Chef/Restaurateur of the Year

Colin Hazama, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, for his significant contributions to Hawai‘i’s culinary industry and the community.

The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) is a statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, other lodging entities, suppliers, and related firms and individuals. HLTA is dedicated to supporting Hawai‘i’s visitor industry through education, political action, and membership benefits, and raising awareness about its contributions to communities throughout the state.

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