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Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Sunday, November 10, 2002



Australia jobless rate falls to 2-year low

Sydney >> Australia's unemployment rate fell to a two-year low in October as retailers and builders hired more part-time workers to meet demand in an economy that is growing almost 4 percent a year.

The economy added 15,800 jobs last month, the Bureau of Statistics said. The median expectation in a Bloomberg News survey of 21 economists was for 20,000 extra jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 6 percent from 6.2 percent -- its lowest since October 2000.

The economy shed 59,900 full-time jobs in October and gained 75,700 part-time positions. The participation rate, which measures the number of the people with jobs or looking for work, fell to 63.4 percent from 63.5 percent in September.

Visa launches new Latin America venture

NEW YORK >> Visa International is getting into the Latin American money transfer business. The credit-card giant last week launched Visa Giro, which will provide Latin Americans living abroad a new option to send money back home to their native countries.

The remittances market to Latin America has grown 10 percent annually over the past five years, to $23 billion in 2001 alone, Visa said.

Philippine export growth may slow

Manila >> Philippine exports may grow less than expected next year because concerns of war between the U.S. and Iraq may trim demand for electronics and other goods, central bank Deputy Governor Amando Tetangco said.

The bank expects exports to rise 8 percent in 2003, down from an earlier forecast of 10 percent, Tetangco said. The bank will ask government planners to review next year's economic targets, taking into account the prospect of war in Iraq, he said.


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[ HAWAII INC. ]

NEW JOBS

>> The Kapalua Bay Hotel & Ocean Villas has named Tracy Ford as director of food and beverage and Douglas McPherson as director of engineering. Ford returns to Maui after relocating last year to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was the director of food and beverage for the Grand America Hotel. McPherson most recently held the position of corporate director of engineering for the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group, based in San Francisco. Kapalua Bay Hotel & Ocean Villas is sits on 18 beachfront acres in Maui's Kapalua golf resort community. It is managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

>> Jamba Juice Company Hawaii has appointed Elizabeth Medina general manager for its downtown Financial Plaza store. She will oversee all aspects of daily operations including scheduling, purchasing and team member management. Prior to joining the company, she held managerial positions at OfficeMax and Sure Save Super Markets and served six years as an Army food service specialist sergeant.

>> Castle & Cooke Resorts has added three new management executives: Lanai Director of Operations James Ong, Manele Bay Hotel Director of Food and Beverage Harolyn Shimabukuro-Miyashiro and Executive Chef Mark Tsuchiyama. Ong oversees the island's support operations, including laundry, bakery, retail, motorpool, transportation services and new business development. Shimabukuro- Miyashiro supervises the Manele Bay Ihilani dining room, Hulopoe Court and the Challenge at Manele clubhouse restaurant. Tsuchiyama was most recently executive sous chef in Chicago's Hotel Inter-Continential.

>> Tiki's Grill & Bar has named Ronald Viloria pastry chef. His duties include creating the dessert menu and overseeing the pastry staff. Most recently, he served as pastry chef at the Pacific Beach Hotel. Prior to that, he managed Celebrity Bakery of Onward Beach Resort. Tiki's is on the second floor of the Aston Waikiki Bach Hotel.

>> Dennis Higashiguchi has joined Finance Factors Ltd. as a residential loan division sales manager. Prior to joining Finance Factors, he served as president of SMS Training Inc.

PROMOTIONS

>> First Hawaiian Bank has announced the officer promotions of: Wayne Suehiro to Moanalua branch vice president and area manager; Howard M. Higashi to Hilo branch assistant vice president and team leader; Noreen M. Sumida to main banking center assistant vice president and service manager; Rochelle L. Wright to trust employee benefits department assistant vice president; and Sheri-Ann T. Higa to Kapiolani Banking Center sales manager. The bank also appointed new officers: Craig S. Avellar to investment center sales manager; Maria V. Bartolome to retail credit products department product management officer; Stacy K. Pang Kee to Ewa Beach branch service manager; and Susan A. Poepoe to BankCard account management department credit officer.

>> City Bank has promoted Bill McKillop and Kevin Yoshida to assistant vice president. As business banking officers, McKillop and Yoshida are responsible for retaining and growing a portfolio of small to mid-size business clients.

>> Mauna Kea Resort has hired Gary Rockwood as human resources director; Masaki "Koa" Ito as director of Asia-Pacific operations; Pat Gable as director of laundry; Keikilani Curnan as sales manager; and Aven Wright-McIntosh as director of public relations and communications. Rockwood was previously at Sheraton Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian Hotels. Ito was with Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. Gable was of Hyatt Regency Waikoloa and Lanai's Manele Bay Hotel and Lodge at Koele. Keikilani and Wright-McIntosh both previously worked at Mauna Kea resort.

>> The Home Depot has named Keoni Queypo store manager of its new Kona store. He will oversee all operations including merchandising, hiring and training of managers and sales associates. He joined the company in 1999 as assistant store manager in Iwilei and was previously a co-manager in Pearl City.

ON THE BOARD

>> Windward Seniors Day Care Centers has added three members to its team of 13 board directors. Kate F. Braden, vice president and treasurer, is foundation manager for the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation; Kailua attorney Mike Indie practices real estate, estate planning and family law; and Ret. Air Force Lt. Colonel A.T. "Red" Miller has re-joined the board after serving several years in an advisory capacity. Windward Seniors is a nonprofit adult day care organization serving the frail and elderly with two locations in Windward Oahu.

RECOGNITION

>> Terri Borengasser-Gomes was named 2002 Credit Union Employee of the Year by the Oahu Aloha Chapter of the Hawaii Credit Union League at the International Credit Union Day dinner last month. Borengasser-Gomes is a loan officer at Kokua Federal Credit Union. Darlene Ching was named 2002 Credit Union Professional of the Year. She is the credit services manager at HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union. And Walter Soh was named 2002 Credit Union Volunteer of the Year. Soh is a supervisory committee volunteer at Media Hawaii Federal Credit Union. The Oahu Aloha Chapter of the Hawaii Credit Union League comprises 68 Oahu credit unions. The league is the trade association representing 100 credit unions in Hawaii and Guam.

>> Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii has awarded $1,000 grants to Mililani Mauka Elementary School kindergarten teacher Phyllis Nakama-Kawamoto and Mililani Middle School eighth-grade math teacher Wesley Yuu. They won the grant following their selection as 2001 Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Presidential Award recipients. Nakama-Kawamoto will use her grant to purchase math manipulatives and build her classroom library of children's books. Yuu plans to purchase graphing calculators.



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