Maui News

Maui Public Works leadership changes: Dagdag-Andaya steps down

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Rowena Dagdag-Andaya. Photo courtesy Arakawa Transition Team.

The Maui Department of Public Works will undergo a shift in leadership as director, Rowena Dagdag-Andaya steps down and takes on a new position with the Office on Aging. Her position will be filled by the appointment of Jordan Molina as director and Gary Ambrose as deputy director.

“I was recently offered the position in the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, as a county executive for the Office on Aging. After careful consideration of the opportunities that this position holds, and reflecting on recent personal events in my life, which includes the passing of my father, I accepted this offer,” said Dagdag-Andaya.

“The opportunities that this position holds allows me to focus on being able to provide services and improving the quality of life for kupuna and persons with disabilities in our community, while also focusing on the needs of my family,” she said.

The announcement was made during Mayor Michael Victorino’s press briefing on Friday.

“I truly has been an honor to serve the County of Maui as the Director of Public Works for the past three years, and as the departmentʻs Deputy Director for nine years,” said Dagdag-Andaya.

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“One of the highlights of my career was being able to coordinate with others in advancing infrastructure projects that promote multi-modal transportation and safer streets. This resulted in one of my greatest accomplishments–the construction of the Kamehameha Avenue / Maui Lani Parkway roundabout,” she said. “I remember all the collective effort and all of the work put in to move this project forward by the Public Works staff, county agencies, and members of the community.”

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In 2010, Dagdag-Andaya was appointed by the Arakawa administration to serve as the deputy director of the Department of Public Works under David Goode; and in April 2019, she was appointed director, replacing David Goode, who retired.

When she accepted the role of director in 2019, Dagdag-Andaya said the department was faced with many challenges and uncertainty. “As a department, we manage and oversee operations impacted by the results of climate change, unfunded mandates, economic changes, population growth, and currently a worldwide pandemic. As a department we collectively rose to these challenges, and Iʻm immensely proud of what we have accomplished together in terms of emergency response, delivery of public infrastructure projects, review and oversight of construction projects in the private sector, and the maintenance of existing infrastructure.”

The appointment made Dagdag-Andaya the first female director of Maui County’s Department of Public Works.

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Prior to that, she was employed as a 2nd grade teacher at Kahului School; and worked as a planner for Munekiyo & Hiraga on a wide range of residential projects, community facilities, and commercial developments.

Dagdag-Andaya has served on boards of several community and professional organizations including the Hawai’i State Teachers Association, the United Filipino Council of Hawaiʻi, the Maui Police Commission, and the board of the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

She is a 1999 graduate of Gonzaga University.

Jordan Molina named director of Public Works
Gary Ambrose to serve as deputy director

New Public Works Deputy Director Jordan Molina – Photo credit to Lois Whitney

Interim director, Jordan Molina has been tapped to lead the Department of Public Works. He came to the department in September of 2019 when he was appointed deputy director under Dagdag-Andaya.

Molina earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering from Oregon State University in June 2010, and he’s a 2005 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. His skills include management of civil engineering projects both as a contractor and a public utility operator.

When he was appointed Deputy, the administration touted his literacy of state procurement laws , and the county legislative process; as well as his familiarity with county permitting, planning, budgeting, and the public review process.

From March 2018 until his appointment with the County of Maui, Molina served as project engineer with T.J. Gomes Trucking Co. There, he oversaw construction of civil engineering projects, including preparing cost estimates for project bidding and managing construction contracts. From January 2016 to February 2018, he was a civil engineer III with the Maui County Department of Water Supply. From December 2013 to December 2015, he was a legislative analyst with the Office of Council Services.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino also announced the appointment of Gary Ambrose as the new deputy director at Public Works. Ambrose will be transitioning from his role as district supervisor in the Highways Division, where he worked for 28 years.

“I’m more than honored for the opportunity to help out the department that I’ve grown up in, that I love so much,” said Ambrose.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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