Mayor taps Iolani classmate for transportation post
Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced yesterday that the new city transportation director will be Wayne Y. Yoshioka, a longtime engineer who has worked on several city transportation projects.
Yoshioka will replace Melvin Kaku, who will head the city Department of Emergency Management beginning Dec. 1.
Yoshioka will step down as a manager of transportation planning and traffic engineering at PB Americas Inc., a consulting engineering firm hired by the city earlier this year under a $79 million contract to complete the environmental impact study and preliminary engineering for the fixed-guideway system.
The company also completed the Alternatives Analysis report that led to the city selecting the fixed-guideway option for Oahu. Yoshioka helped on the Alternatives Analysis report and on other projects, including designing traffic signal improvements at major intersections.
"I'm thrilled that Wayne Yoshioka has accepted this very demanding and difficult responsibility," Hannemann said in a news release.
Yoshioka and Hannemann met while attending Iolani School, Yoshioka said, and were in each other's high school English class all four years.
"When I first saw Mufi, I thought, 'Is this a teacher or a student?'" Yoshioka recalled.
Yoshioka went on to graduate with a civil engineering degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has nearly three decades of experience in project management and technical analysis of transportation and engineering projects in Hawaii, Colorado and California.
Yoshioka said that as city transportation director, he wants to make the traffic signals more efficient and improve pedestrian safety, in addition to working on the city's upcoming fixed-guideway system and the ongoing commuter ferry pilot project.
Recognizing that the city will be working with his soon-to-be former company, Yoshioka said he will avoid situations where there could be potential conflicts of interest or favoritism.
"I'll be sure to work with corporation counsel, and if I need to recuse myself on decision-making and procurement procedures, then I will," Yoshioka said.