Maui News

Hana Construction Program Earns Innovation Award from Governor

February 18, 2010, 1:35 PM HST
* Updated February 18, 1:38 PM
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A construction program based in Hana, Maui was awarded one of three Innovation Awards presented by Governor Linda Lingle this month.  The Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike or “In Working, One Learns” training program was established 10 years ago to help at-risk students in Hana acquire construction trade skills.

Students have helped build kupuna cottages as well as install handicap-access safety ramps and other safety retrofits.

The program is also responsible for the construction of an alternative energy demonstration lab featuring solar electric and hot water and wind energy.  In addition, students have incorporated renewable materials such as bamboo into their projects.

Others earning innovation recognition were:  Robert Lee (for Innovation by an Individual) and the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center (for Innovation in Government).

Lee is a 20-year-old junior at Carnegie Mellon University who is studying physics and computer science.  The Punahou School graduate was recently profiled in Honolulu Magazine for his work in developing iPhone applications for Oceanit Labs.


He also worked with Hawai‘i State Civil Defense on an application to help crews assess damages after a disaster.  Lee also worked to modify TheBus’ online tracking system.  While TheBus system would allow riders to check when the next bus would arrive, Lee realized that most people at a bus stop don’t have Internet access.  He proposed reworking the system to incorporate text messaging, which TheBus Company is currently working on.


The University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center was recognized for its innovation in government for a partnership it developed between The Queen’s Medical Center, Hawaii Pacific Health and Kuakini Health Systems.  The consortium is designed to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment by combining the expertise of the partners.  Because the consortium will enable the Cancer Research Center to utilize the facilities of its partners, it will no longer need to build its own clinic, which is projected to save an estimated $80 million.
“The most recent honorees have developed innovative solutions to challenges facing our state and are taking creative steps to improve the health of our residents, our quality of life, and Hawai‘i’s long-term economic well-being,” said Governor Lingle.

Governor Lingle initiated the Innovation Awards in May 2008 to acknowledge and encourage innovation across all sectors statewide.  For 21 months, the awards have recognized individuals, companies, nonprofits, organizations and government agencies that are developing innovative products, services and processes.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Supporting information courtesy Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii)

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