Contrasting wardrobes
in penthouse renovations

Promotions, hires and acquisitions, oh-my, have put Communications-Pacific Inc. in a tight spot.

After a raft of new personnel hires, the purchase of Hubris Online LLC in February to bring an interactive division in-house and the launch of an advertising agency last month, Comm-Pac has outgrown its penthouse space in the Topa Financial Center (formerly Amfac Center).

"We've doubled in size and tripled in revenue in six years," said Kitty Lagareta, chairwoman and chief executive officer.

Communications-Pacific Chief Executive Kitty Lagareta stood in construction at the company's offices in Topa Financial Center yesterday. The firm is expanding and hired Wahine Builders to do the work. Clarice Cornett, the CEO, was behind Lagareta.

"We've always had the penthouse," she said. "Two years ago we took over the entire penthouse. Now we are reconfiguring that to add more offices and we've taken about a third of the floor below us."

"We're trying to add more private offices, it's a pretty massive renovation," Lagareta said.

The "women working" construction sign in the company's entrance is not intended to take anything away from company President Al Hoffman or any other male employee; it is an indication that Wahine Builders Inc. is doing the work.

President Clarice Cornett described the work as "a pretty cool job" because of the use of space by architect Phillip Mowrey.

"He came up with some great ways to divide space with cool angled walls, so it's a challenge but it's a fun job," she said. "I haven't ever worked with him before but I'd sure like to work with him again."

The work involves making custom desks to fit the angled walls, not to mention demolition, framing and the other stuff that goes along with general and electrical contracting.

Cornett and Lagareta first met in prison -- where the two were teaching a training program for female inmates. "She can swing a pretty good hammer, too," Cornett said. "If she wasn't so busy I think I'd have her in here helping us."

Once a union carpenter, Cornett returned to college in the 1980s when comparable work and comparable worth were hot topics. She decided that creation of her own construction company was "maybe the best way to empower women and get more into a nontraditional occupation."

Wahine Builders was founded in 1986.

The company has never run into a discrimination problem as it has hired male subcontractors and had male employees.

"I've always said it takes a real man to be a Wahine Builder," Cornett said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, 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

E-mail to Business Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --