Business Hall of Fame to Induct Sidney Fuke

On July 20, Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island will honor its 2023 JA Business Hall of Fame inductee, Sidney Fuke, former Planning Director for the County of Hawaii. The organization will also honor Irene Nagao with its Distinguished Supporter award. 

Fuke has lived his entire life in Hawaii. He was born and raised in Hilo and is a proud graduate of Hilo High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

After receiving his Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois, he started A 13-year career at the County of Hawaii as a Planner.  He then worked his way up to Deputy Planning Director then Planning Director serving in the head role for eight years.  Since 1985 he has served as a private land use consultant.

Fuke takes great joy and pride in his community service and involvement.  He is a member of the Japanese Chamber Commerce and Industry, former Board Member of Hospice of Hilo, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Kyodan, Hawaii Health System, Na Leo Hawaii, County of Hawaii Liquor Commission and is the current Chair of the County of Hawaii Liquor Adjudication Board and member of the State Office of Disciplinary Counsel. 

Irene Nagao was born in Honolulu and graduated from the Honolulu Business College majoring in Accounting.  Nagao worked at Big Island Toyota then JCPenney for 23 years.

Nagao has touched many young lives over the years with her volunteer efforts. She has been actively involved with JAHI serving on the Board of Directors for over 25 years. She was an active volunteer in the Business Education Partnership and she headed the education committees for both the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce as well as the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

Nagao also assisted in rehabilitation efforts serving on the Friends of the Big Island Drug Court for 17 years while also working closely with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on their programs for reintegration of incarcerated people. Nagao formed STARS (Surviving to Thriving: Advocacy, Resources and Support), a support group for families of homicide victims.

Nagao balances her life by being involved in other programs like the Zonta Club of Hilo for 44 years, Rotary Club of Hilo Bay and the Red Hat Society “Ula La” Chapter.  She has been awarded the coveted Athena Business Woman of the Year (1990); Hawaii County Outstanding Female Senior (2008); Hawaii Island Going Home Consortium Recognition (2015) and the Zonta Club of Hilo Rose Award of Excellence (2018). 

Past Hawaii Island recipients of the prestigious JA Business Hall of Fame award include Bobby Fujimoto of HPM Building Supply (1990), Allan Ikawa of Big Island Candies (1995), Tony Taniguchi (1998) and Barry Taniguchi (2010) of KTA Super Stores, Monty Richards of Kahua Ranch (2009), Ric Maiava and Debbie Ching-Maiava of Ponds and Ken’s House of Pancakes (2012), Sharon Scheele (2022) and many more pillars of Hawaii Island’s business community.

This year’s Business Hall of Fame dinner and reception to honor Fuke and Nagao is slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at The Event Center at The Arc of Hilo. [THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. THANK YOU FOR EVERYONE’S SUPPORT. If you would like to make a donation to the auction, please conact]

Proceeds from the event support JAHI’s financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs, delivered to more than 4,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students on the island annually.

Get Powered Up for the JA Company Program

Please share this great opportunity with all East Hawaii high school students:

From September through December over 100 budding entrepreneurs from East Hawaii high schools will form and operate mini-companies. With guidance from local business people, for over 12 weeks these students will experience business hands-on by analyzing markets and product opportunities, manufacturing and marketing their products, accounting for all revenues and expenses, and managing their company resources.

Companies meet every Tuesday night from 6:30 to 9:00pm at Waiakea High School. The Application Night is Tuesday, September 1st starting at 6:30pm. To be invited to the Application Night students must complete the sign up forms available from their school or available online at

2015 Company Program Application Night Sign-up Form

If you’re not quite sure but would like to learn more, send us an email at We are also looking for adults from the business community to serve as advisors to our student companies.

Hilo Reception for Brian Kitagawa

Join us in honoring this year’s Big Island inductee to Junior Achievement of Hawaii’s Business Hall of Fame: Brian Kitagawa of I. Kitagawa & Company Ltd.

Saturday, March 28th, 5:00 pm
Nani Mau Gardens

Tickets are $75 individually or $600 for a Reserved Table of Eight.
Please complete the RSVP form and return it by March 18th.

We are also appreciative of donations to cover the cost of high school students to attend the event, and also items for our silent auction.

For more information please call 989-5788 or email scheele4ihrc(a)

Support Our Young Entrepreneurs – and get great gifts!




Sixty-four students from five East Hawaii high schools are anxious to test their sales skills and show off the products they designed and manufactured, during the JA Trade Fair. This year the annual two-day event will be held at the Price Kuhio Plaza on “Black Friday” and Saturday, November 28-29, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm each day.

The students are organized in to three companies, each sponsored by a local business and advised by members of Hilo’s business community.

A.L.O.H.A. (Amazing Leaders of Hardworking Achievers) is sponsored by Big Island Toyota. Its President, Michael Mori, a senior from Waiakea High School says, “our company is working hard at producing handmade gift tags and decorative notebooks and journals, made from 70% recycled materials, to feature at this year’s trade fair.” A.L.O.H.A.’s Vice President of Production, Cici Luna, explains “our notebooks are colorful and have different themes.  They can be used for school, as gifts, and as recipe books or journals.  Our gift tag is a set of twelve that includes six Christmas-themed tags and six all-occasion tags.”

“Aloha Flare is a company with unique ideas and flare,” said company president Dayton Towata whose company is sponsored by Bank of Hawaii. The products that Aloha Flare will be selling are a cookbook, a clothes pin note holder, and a “Bravery Braid.” The company made the braided shoelace bracelet in different colors to recognize the different types of cancer and is donating five-percent of the net profit to the American Cancer Society.

The HPM Building Supply sponsored team, called Aloha Supplied, created limited-edition photography greeting cards, coasters, and a “PopATop” bottle openers complete with a mason jar to catch the bottle caps. The greeting cards and coasters both feature local scenery photographed and donated by Tom Kualii of Extreme Exposure Hawaii.

“Our photo greeting cards stick with our theme of spreading Aloha,” said Vice President Kenneth Kitahata. “As the holiday season approaches these greeting cards are a great way to stay in touch with family or friends who are off island.”

After an initial job interview the students started in September by purchasing a share of stock in their company for two-dollars. The companies then selected leaders, decided on what products to market, and manufactured their products, all the while accounting for all expenses and revenues. After they close their books at the end of the year, based on the success of their company, most students will earn a return on their initial stock investment. All profits are returned to students in the form of dividends and awards, plus scholarships for graduating seniors in the program.