Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Sunday, May 12, 2002


>> Laura Hallock has been named director of operations for the Hawaii offices of USA Hosts. She transfers from the Washington, D.C., office where she held the same position.

>> Ron Adachi has been hired as vice president of business development at NetEnterprise. He has more than 15 years of experience in technology and life sciences sales and business development, most recently as director of business development at Hoike.Net.

>> Jeff Napoleon has been named a real estate analyst at Avalon Development and Consulting. He joins the company after serving as regional retail operations manager at VoiceStream Wireless.

>> Summit Lending of Hawaii has hired Michelle L. Bolian as account executive in charge of wholesale accounts and Jacob Thorp as assistant production officer in retail sales. Bolian was most recently a mortgage loan officer at C.U. Financial Services. Thorp was a network administrator in the U.S. Marine Corps .

>> Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has hired Ann Bassel as a sales associate in its Kapiolani office. She was most recently a sales associate with Mary Worrall Associates.


>> PBR Hawaii has promoted Vincent Shigekuni to principal at the planning and landscape architecture firm. He will be responsible primarily for large-scale planning projects. Shigekuni joined PBR Hawaii in 1993 and has more than 21 years of experience in campus planning, land use planning and environmental assessment.

>> Hawaii Pacific University has promoted Patricia Burrell to assistant dean of nursing from assistant professor of nursing. She has clinical expertise in psychiatric and transcultural nursing and as worked as a Jungian analyst for eight years and as a therapist and counselor for more than 27 years.

>> Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo has named Dean Fukawa an associate in the firm. He has been with WATG since 1993 and is responsible for global staff scheduling and the design of a range of projects.

>> New Wave Broadcasting recently promoted on-air personality Jon E. Blaze to the midday shift on radio station KQMQ-FM. He previously served as a weekend/fill-in personality and promotions assistant. Blaze joined New Wave Broadcasting in 1999.

>> Michiyo Nakamura has been promoted to Japan Division manager at the Laser Eye Center of Hawaii. She will be responsible for Japanese marketing and serving the company's Japanese-speaking patients. Nakamura, who has been with Laser Eye Center of Hawaii since 2000, previously served as front office assistant.


>> Goro Hokama has been named chairman the Hawaii Credit Union League. He works at the Lanai Federal Credit Union. Other board members and officers installed at the group's recent convention in Waikoloa were: Vice Chairman Ronald Ogata, HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union; Secretary Frederico Asuncion, Maui County Employees Federal Credit Union; Treasurer Michael Asam, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union; and directors Mel Chiba of Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, Janet Rychener of Ka'u Federal Credit Union and Sylvia Young of Medicredit Federal Credit Union. The league is a trade association of 101 credit unions in Hawaii and Guam.


>> Hawaii Allstate Agent Manny Buenconsejo has been inducted into the Allstate Financial Services Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding commitment to sales and service. An Allstate agent for 28 years, he is the first Hawaii agent to be so honored.

>> Karen S. Matayoshi was recently selected by The Council of State Governments to participate in the Toll Fellowship Program. Matayoshi, who serves as director of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, will join 39 other emerging state leaders for the program this fall in Lexington, Ky. The program is designed to develop the next generation of leaders from all three branches of state government.

>> Retired dietician and nutritionist Juliet M. Tong recently won a lifetime achievement award from the Hawaii Dietetic Association. Tong, who was first appointed as a nutritionist at Queen's Hospital in 1945, was honored during the association's annual conference and banquet at the Ala Moana Hotel.

>> The American Society of Safety Engineers recently announced the winners of the 2002 "Excellence in Safety Awards." The late George Gray was honored for personal contributions to improving the health and safety profession in Hawaii. George Mauliola was honored for outstanding dedication to the safety profession in Hawaii. And Ken Hirai was presented with the lifetime achievement award in health and safety.

>> Peter and Jennifer Ko, owners of Coverall ofHawaii, were given the Silver Award for Outstanding Performance in Net Gain for 2001 at the recent Coverall Cleaning Concepts meeting in Las Vegas.

>> The Hawaii Aloha Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists recently presented awards to the following individuals: Ann Arakawa, 2001 CRS of the Year; Connie Carvill, Janet Cordes, Ronald N. Lee, Nancy D. Metcalf and Ronald M. Okubo, Aloha Aina winners/"Realtors Choice"; Bruce M. Kennedy, Kay M. Mukaigawa, Ethel T. Shima and Kathy Jo Yap, "People's Choice" Chapter members; and Harry S.K. Lee, Newcomer Award.

>> Gregory M. Boxold, a financial advisor at UBS PaineWebber in Honolulu, has completed the first advanced MASTERS 400 training program. By completing the program, Boxold will be able to use the title "managed accounts consulting associate." Boxold has more than 21 years of securities experience and has worked at PaineWebber since 1981.

>> AT&T Wireless recently honored the following employees with the President's Club Award: David Nagai, Kalihi retail store manager; David Nishimura, Kaimuki assistant store manager; Denise Wauke, Kaneohe retail store manager; Jay Higa, Kaimuki retail store manager; Nalani Silva-Pablo, Hilo retail store manager; Ricardo Lay, Kaneohe assistant store manager; Julie Nagai, Pacific Guardian Center communications specialist; Sandra Nakasone, Kaimuki communications specialist; Tajah Low, Sears Ala Moana communications specialist; Ferna Yamamoto, dealer account executive; Karen Kam, telesales representative; George O'Brien, corporate sales enterprise executive; Jean Sato, corporate sales enterprise executive; Paul Kennedy, corporate sales enterprise executive; and Suzanne Souza, corporate sales territory representative. In recognition of their achievements, President's Club Award winners were presented with all-expenses paid trips to either San Diego, Calif.; Napa Valley, Calif.; Cancun, Mexico or New York.



Loan worries mounting at banks in China

HONG KONG >> Financial experts are expressing grave worries about the solvency of China's banking system, which may have a loan problem several times as bad as Japan's.

The head of China's central bank said recently that 25 to 30 percent of all bank loans were not being repaid. Last week, the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's estimated the situation may be twice that bad, with half of all loans classifiable as nonperforming. And the agency found signs that the banks were busily making matters worse.

Without a robust banking system, it will be increasingly difficult for China to sustain rapid growth, attract foreign investment and develop the modern economy it needs to provide jobs and maintain social stability at a time of widespread disillusionment with the Communist ideology that united the country for 50 years.

England, Wales see rising home prices

LONDON >> House prices in England and Wales rose faster in the first quarter than in the previous three months, U.K. government figures showed.

The average price of a dwelling rose 10.2 percent to 121,881 pounds ($177,385) in the quarter through March from the same period a year ago, the U.K. Land Registry said. Prices rose 8.5 percent in the last quarter of 2001 and 7.6 percent in the first quarter of last year.

Britons' appetite for buying dwellings soared after the Bank of England cut interest rates last year to 4 percent, the lowest since 1964. New mortgages rose to a record 4.05 billion pounds in March, Nationwide Building Society figures showed.

New Zealand jobless rate fell to 5.3% in quarter

WELLINGTON >> New Zealand's economy added more than twice the number of jobs expected and the unemployment rate fell in the first quarter as retailers and builders hired more workers, according to a Bloomberg News report.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in the three months to March 31 from 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter, Statistics New Zealand said. Economists had expected a 5.4 percent rate. The economy added 24,000 jobs.

New Zealand has added jobs for eight straight quarters as lower interest rates, rising consumer spending and home building boosted demand for workers in the retail and construction industries

Imported vehicle sales in Japan up 3.4 percent

TOKYO >> Sales of imported vehicles in Japan grew 3.4 percent in April from the same month a year ago to 19,351 vehicles, an industry association said last week.

A total of 19,016 passenger cars, up 5.1 percent, and 335 trucks, down 46.0 percent, were sold last month, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said. April marked the first month of on-year increase in eight months in sales of imported vehicles since a 4.0 percent rise in August. Sales were down 4.9 percent in January, followed by a 4.4 percent slip in February and a 2.8 percent drop in March.

Germany's Volkswagen AG kept the top spot in the import market in April by selling 4,159 vehicles, up 13.2 percent. It controlled 21.49 percent of the import market last month. Chevrolet was the top-selling U.S. brand with sales of 580 vehicles, down 8.5 percent.

Foreign direct investment in South Korea up 57%

SEOUL >> Foreign direct investment in South Korea rose by more than half in April as companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of the U.S. and Japan's NEC Corp. expanded in the country.

Investment rose 57 percent from a year earlier to $581 million, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said. That was the sixth straight gain after investment fell by about a quarter last year amid a global economic slump.

A rebound in exports and investment, along with rising consumer spending, will probably help Asia's fourth-largest economy expand 5.7 percent this year, almost double last year's 3 percent pace, the central bank estimates.

Japan clothing retailer gets new leadership

TOKYO >> Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo-brand casual-clothing store chain, whose sales have been plunging, said last week Tadashi Yanai will quit as president in November and be replaced by Genichi Tamatsuka, a managing director. Tamatsuka, 39, is currently president of Fast Retailing (U.K.) Ltd., a wholly owned unit in Britain of Fast Retailing. Yanai, 53, will become chairman, the company said.

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