Aila moves to DHHL as Ige announces more cabinet appointments

Jobie Masagatani and William Aila Jr.

Gov. David Ige announced more cabinet appointments Friday. “All of these appointees display a leadership style that will move Hawaii forward for the benefit of the public interest,” he said. “There is hard work to be done and together we will address the issues facing our state in a direct and forthright manner.”

Jobie Masagatani will be retained as chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). Masagatani previously served as deputy director at DHHL from 1995 to 2002 and as director since 2012. Additionally, Masagatani was  the special assistant to the CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), an assistant to the president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems, where she focused on Native Hawaiian health, and a land investment analyst for Kamehameha Schools.

Serving as deputy to Masagatani will be William Aila Jr. The former chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) planned and directed the various activities of the department encompassing public lands of the State; water resources and minerals thereon; forest, fish and game resources of the State; and management of the forest reserve, state parks, small boat harbors, and historic sites. Aila was integral to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) decision to hold its 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Hawaii.

Scott Enright will continue to serve as chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture (BOA). Enright has held the position since Jan. 1, 2014. Formerly, the deputy to BOA Chair Russell Kokubun, he was the administrator of the state Department of Agriculture (DOA) Divisions of Plant Industry and Agricultural Development, managed the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funding program, and directed Human Resources for the Office of the Chair. He also directed biosecurity programs, led initiatives to revitalize the state’s livestock industry with special focus on developing the dairy industry and grass-fed beef industry, and provided direction for improving infrastructure for irrigation systems statewide.

Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser will join Enright as deputy director. The long time Hawaii agriculture advocate currently serves as president of Mikilua Poultry Farm in Waianae and vice president of the Associated Producers Corp. in Honolulu. Shimabukuro-Geiser is a member of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, World Poultry Science Association and Gamma Sigma Delta Agricultural Honor Society.

Catherine Awakuni Colón has been appointed director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA). Currently, Awakuni is the cable administrator in the DCCA’s Cable Television Division and served as the department’s executive director for its Division of Consumer Advocacy from 2006 to 2009. She previously served as chief legal counsel and commission counsel for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Awakuni holds her J.D. from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Jo Ann Uchida Takeuchi continues her service as deputy director of DCCA. Takeuchi has been with the DCCA for nearly 25 years, serving in various staff and leadership capacities. Prior to her appointment as deputy director in 2012 she was the complaints and enforcement officer with DCCA’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office. Prior to that position, Takeuchi was the executive director of DCCA’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) after having served as a senior attorney to the OCP.

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