Friday, March 27, 2015

Four Big Island residents -- Lisa Hadway, Donn Mende, Becky Niniau Simmons and Craig Takamine -- have been selected for the next group of Pacific Century Fellows.

The PCF class of 2012, the 13th group since the program's start, is comprised of 38 men and women from across Hawaii.

The largest contingent since inception, this year's class includes seven members from the Neighbor Islands.

"The program identifies, encourages and helps to develop and strengthen island leaders," said PCF spokeswoman Trudi Saito.

Hadway is manager of the Natural Area Reserves System for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Mende is assistant vice president and branch manager for Hawaii National Bank.

Simmons is deputy director of the county Office of Housing and Community Development.

Takamine is president of Takamine Construction Inc.

Modeled after the White House Fellows Program, PCF was founded in 1996 by former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

"The Pacific Century Fellows program will provide participants with direct contact with senior community, social and government leaders," said Saito.

"A goal of the program is to nurture relationships among individuals who are committed to exploring creative and constructive solutions to far-reaching challenges facing the state and nation." Visit

Each year's fellows are chosen on the basis of written applications and personal interviews conducted by a panel of judges.

In evaluating the candidates, the committee considers educational background; current career responsibilities, noting any special achievements as well as the comments of superiors; involvement in community activities; communication skills and strength of character.

Chosen individuals have shown strong intellectual and leadership abilities in the early and mid-stages of their careers, and demonstrated the potential to make significant contributions to the community in the future.

Hannemann, a former White House Fellow (1983-84) who worked for then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in the Reagan administration, said, "With our 13th class of fellows participating in this unique executive leadership program, we continue to build a cadre of bright, talented and energetic professionals who will make contributions to the betterment of Hawaii in the years to come.

"Many of our previous fellows already have made a positive impact in our community, and this class will be no different," said Hannemann.

"This year's class represents a broad cross-section of our community. They come from all parts of the state, with different backgrounds and professions -- all committed to making Hawaii a better place for generations to come."

The program will begin with a two-day retreat Sept. 23-24 featuring a series of seminars and discussions.

Following the retreat, participants will help plan their agenda and schedule for the upcoming year and take part in at least one day-long program each month to investigate critical issues facing Hawaii in such areas as crime, education, environment, quality of life, the military and the economy.

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