Monday, August 30, 1999

Hawaii State Seal

Gov taps UH
regent to head new
high-tech agency

Blanco's goal is to create a
work force and woo such
industry to Hawaii

By Pat Omandam


Gov. Ben Cayetano has named his executive assistant as his adviser on high-tech industry in Hawaii.

Joseph F. Blanco, who helped bring the Miss Universe pageant to Hawaii and has worked for the governor on other projects to attract business to the state, will oversee the creation of the governor's Special Advisory Council for Technology Development.

Blanco, a businessman and University of Hawaii regent,, will develop policy on high-tech industry and coordinate all state high-tech agencies, as well as perform related duties.

Cayetano said that for Hawaii to compete globally in the fast-paced high-tech industry, it must have a plan that combines the goals of businesses and public agencies. By 2006, almost half of the U.S. work force will be employed by industries that are either major producers or intensive users of information technology products and services, he said.

He said Blanco's new role is to steer growth of high-tech to Hawaii, build a technology work force and help local businesses become the driving force in the industry.

"He has a keen ability to create partnerships between the public and private sectors, and a sound working knowledge of state and federal government constraints, resources and assets," Cayetano said.

Blanco, 46, said more and more people are becoming wealthy through the creation and use of information. He said development of intellectual capital will be one of the most important factors that influence the future of Hawaii's economic growth.

His priorities are to oversee creation of a council of between 11 and 25 people and to meet with local technology companies to get input on what kind of private-public partnerships will help their businesses.

Blanco was appointed a UH regent in 1992 by then-Gov. John Waihee. He also serves as board chairman of the UH Research Corp.

He plans to resign from both university boards to focus his time on his new job.

The state Legislature earlier this year created the post in the governor's office and set aside $100,000 for each of the next two years to pay for the position and to set up the advisory council.

Council members will serve four-year appointed terms. The panel will be made up of leaders in the high-tech industry, business, education and government.

Both the special adviser role and the council members are subject to Senate confirmation next year.

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