Poor students lauded for biz achievements
co-founder Eddie Flores Jr. has won a national American Dream Award from the National Restaurant Association
He is mentioned first of the three national winners in the NRA's announcement.
"It means a lot to me because it shows that if you live in America, anything is possible. If you work hard enough, you'll be able to do what you want to do," he told TheBuzz.
Few people know Flores repeated eighth grade, third grade and first grade - the latter, twice. He didn't have pre-school or kindergarten to prepare him.
Also, English is not his first language. He was raised in Hong Kong until his family moved here when he was 16.
He now has a master's degree in business, has authored two business books, teaches classes on microenterprise and has funded scholarships.
Flores is one of seven children "and my mother, she still thinks I'm the stupidest in the family," he said. "She always tells people, 'Eddie, he's doing good, but when he was a kid he was always studying at the library and he still got lousy grades,' " he said.
"Now, I can get straight A's, I think."
Today, not long after Flores accepts his award at the NRA's annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago, the first non-U.S. L&L will open in American Samoa. Another will open in New Zealand by October after which he is looking at Australia.
An NRA booklet profiling winners and finalists also includes Honolulu's Jésus Puerto, owner of Soul de Cuba Café.
Puerto also struggled, with poor grades and spinal meningitis. After a career with the Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity and the United Nations, he established Soul de Cuba Cafés in New Haven, Conn., and Honolulu. His line of Cuban sauces is sold in U.S. military exchanges and commissaries. Recently Puerto and other Hispanic community leaders formed the Latin Business Association of Hawaii.
New DOT PIO
The new Scott Ishikawa at the state Department of Transportation will be KHON-TV reporter Tammy Mori.
Though at KHON only a year and a half, "it was a hard decision" because she loves the people, and it was News Director Lori Silva that gave her the chance to come to Hawaii, she said.
Her last KHON day is Thursday. Her first official DOT day is June 2, but she will spend the prior week getting up to speed on the Highways, Harbors and Airports divisions.
Mori is unfazed by the DOT gig's unpredictable hours. "I'm up for it. I don't have a family - now is the time."
She worked on-call shifts as a video journalist in Yakima, Wash., shooting, reporting and editing stories as a so-called one-man-band.
Such jobs were once limited to small markets, but no more. Since Mori gave her notice, KHON's Web site lists an opening for a video journalist.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org