Maui Business

Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate Promotes Dennis Elms to Factory and Technology Director

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Dennis Elms of Maui Kuʻia Estate Chocolate

Dennis Elms was promoted to Factory and Technology Director at Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate. Photo Courtesy

Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate, Inc. in Lahaina has promoted Dennis Elms to Factory and Technology Director, CEO Dr. Gunars Valkirs said in a news release.

Elms had been technology director. Now, he is responsible for the overall support of technology and the overall support of factory-related activities at Maui’s first farm-to-bar chocolate factory. He also will work side-by-side with Dr. Valkirs.

“Dennis is an exceptional member of our Chocolate Kuleana team,” Valkirs said. “Not only can he handle any technical issue that arises in the factory, retail store or tasting pavilion, but he does it with calmness, patience and a smile.”

Since joining MKEC in March 2019, Elms has successfully led all aspects of technology to support the company’s business functions, factory operations, retail and online customer channels. His tasks have included everything from configuring corporate partner integration to streamlining and computerizing administrative processes.

Prior to MKEC, Elms was the IT specialist at Montage Kapalua Bay, providing overall tech support for the hotel’s associates and guests. He also has managed IT staff at Honua Kai Resort & Spa. Technology has changed since he got his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology at Wayne State University in Michigan in1984, but Elms’ commitment to customer service remains the same.

Problem-solving through technology is what inspired him to open his own business, NexLevel Computers and Consulting, in Lahaina in 2005. Through his storefront, Elms provided repairs, computer training, networking, software development and support for residents and visitors.

Elms also has traveled for years as a computer consultant, developing software, providing technology services and performing project management from Dallas to Detroit and throughout North America. Past work experience also includes serving as concierge and guest services agent at both Montage and at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Kapalua.

In his downtime, Elms relaxes with his family—his wife, five children and five grandchildren. He also enjoys playing guitar, listening to songs or writing lyrics. Inspired by growing up in Motown, Elms has already written songs for his mother, wife and daughter.

Elms is a proud believer in MKEC’s Chocolate Kuleana: the company’s commitment to give back to the community through donating net profits to island charities and nonprofit organizations.

“From the early days during construction until now, when people hear about why we exist, they just want to be part of making this a success,” Elms said. “We had many contractors who went above and beyond when this place was being built. It felt like we all had a common goal because this building was created so that it could give back to our local community. That touched many of those who helped build this, and their pride is visible throughout the complex.”

The chocolate factory is located at 78 Ulupono St. in Lahaina. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am – 2 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm.

Keep up to date with all things Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate by subscribing to MKEC’s newsletter at Purchase chocolate online at For more information: or “Maui Chocolate” on Instagram.


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