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Hawai'i CC honors HPM Building Supply and NELHA with Mahalo Award

Hawai'i CC – Pālamanui Director Marty Fletcher, second from left, presents the Mahalo Award to representatives of NELHA.

To fulfill its mission to provide high-quality, accessible education to the residents of Hawai‘i Island, Hawai'i Community College relies on the support of generous partner organizations. To formally recognize community-based organizations for their support, the college established the Mahalo Award in 1995.

This year, Hawai‘i Community College recognizes two organizations that have been especially supportive of our campuses in East and West Hawai‘i. The Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) and HPM Building Supply are the recipients of the 2017 Mahalo Award. Mahalo nui loa to these organizations for their incredible support!

HPM Building Supply

HPM Building Supply has been a key supporter of Hawai‘i Community College for decades as a scholarship donor and supporter of the Model Home Project.

The Model Home Project was established in 1965 to give students in construction trade  programs hands-on learning experience as they build a real home for a local family. This year we are celebrating the construction of the 50th Model Home. HPM was an important contributor to the project from the beginning thanks to the leadership of Robert “Bobby” Fujimoto. That commitment has continued under his son Michael Fujimoto and grandson Jason Fujimoto.

For nearly 25 years, HPM has been the only bidder able to meet the materials needs for the Model Home Project. The Model Home Project is unique among building projects in that students design, build and landscape a home each year over the course of two semesters. It is logistically challenging, and the trusting relationship we have with HPM and the company’s excellent service are absolutely critical to the Model Home Project’s success. Several times the company even supported us by advancing the materials when there were delays in the approval of funding.

HPM also provides up to two annual scholarships to students in the Carpentry program under the “Building Future Builders” program. The scholarships have helped students with their tuition, books, and tools as they prepare for the workforce. HPM is not only creating opportunities for individual success, but through their generosity, HPM is also strengthening the Hawai‘i Island community.

In May, students will complete Model Home #50, and at a dedication ceremony, we will give the house keys to a family of Hawaiian ethnicity. Since 1965, over 4,000 students have gained hands-on experience as participants in the Model Home Project, and numerous graduates of the Model Home Trades Programs have become contractors, project managers, and skilled tradespeople in the construction industry. HPM has been a vital part of helping make these achievements possible.

Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority (NELHA)

Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), under the leadership of Executive Director Greg Barbour, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the new Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui campus. NELHA’s growing cluster of energy and aquaculture operations is a logical destination on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career pathways available to West Hawai'i residents who will complete credentials at Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui.

NELHA has also been a critical operational partner to the college, providing access to laboratories for science classes during 2015-2016 while completion of the new labs at the Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui campus was delayed. NELHA staff, including Chief Business Development Officer Laurence Sombardier and Chief Science Officer Keith Olson, were extremely helpful with the many technical details required to commission and decommission a science teaching lab to operate within the University of Hawai'i policies at the NELHA lab site for three semesters until the on-campus labs were ready for the spring 2017 semester.

Instructors and students enjoyed the opportunity to work in an operational scientific environment and had wonderful interactions with the professional community at NELHA. Having nearby lab facilities allowed us to keep our science courses on schedule without the greater expense and inconvenience to staff and students that would have ensued if we were forced to keep our Kealakekua lab operating while waiting for the new labs at Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui.

NELHA has expressed its commitment to continue to support the STEM courses and programs at Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui, including with internships and other experiential learning events. Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui and the college are fortunate to have such a committed and significant partnership as exists with NELHA.