Monday, February 1, 1999

Maui research park
draws 21 conferences,
brings in $2.5 million

The research and technology park
features satellite video-conferencing
and the Air Force's super computer

By Gary Kubota


WAILUKU -- Maui's industrial research park is beginning to develop a market for high technology conferences and workshops on the Valley Isle.

The park drew more than 21 conferences to Maui and generated more than $2.5 million in estimated visitor revenues in fiscal 1998, marketing officials at the park say.

The leading attraction at the Maui Research & Technology Park is the Air Force's super computer, a portion of which has been dedicated for civilian use.

The Maui High Performance Computing Center has been serving as host to scientific and technical leaders and has become a gathering place for government, commercial and academic researchers.

Park officials say other amenities also have helped, including an interactive satellite video-conferencing facility.

The conferences typically involve under 300 people.

They stay at hotels in south Maui and hold meetings at the park.

Margaret Lewis, a marketing official with the High Performance Computing Center, said many of the conferences draw people on the cutting edge of technology, such as Larry Smarr.

Smarr is a member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee and director of the National Computational Science Alliance, a National Science Foundation-funded project.

Major corporations have also participated in conferences here, including Sam Sung of Korea, China National Petroleum Company, IBM Japan Business Partners, and Loxley Business Information Technology Co. of Thailand.

At a Jan. 16 conference, some 65 plastic surgeons used the interactive video-conferencing facility to view and have talks with surgeons operating at Maui Memorial Hospital 10 miles away, park officials said.

Brett Klyver, the park's director of development, said officials at the park are developing design plans for a 175,000-square-feet business conference center.

The center will include six booths for language translators and a news media conference room.

"It's not a convention center. It's not a hotel," he said. "It's an executive conference center for serious business."

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