Governor Ige names new group of UH regents

Supreme Court Justice Acoba and environmentalist Helen Nielsen, both currently serving in an interim capacity, stand out on list

Ikaika M Hussey

From the Governor’s office:

HONOLULU – Governor David Ige today announced his nominations to the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents. The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“Our UH system comprises 10 campuses that provide educational and research opportunities for many Hawai‘i students and faculty throughout our state,” said Governor David Ige. “As such, we chose candidates with a breadth of experience who will represent my desire for the Regents to focus on ensuring long term sustainability of our sole public institution of higher education.”

Wayne Higaki, Hawai‘i County, will serve through June 30, 2016 upon confirmation. Higaki is the chief development officer at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital, an affiliate of The Queen’s Health Systems. He is chair of Hawai‘i County’s Workforce Investment Board and a member of the Workforce Development Council for the State of Hawai‘i. He graduated from Honoka‘a High School and earned an associate of science degree at Kapi‘olani Community College.

Simeon Acoba, Jr., Honolulu County, is currently serving on an interim basis and upon confirmation will serve through June 30, 2017. Acoba served on the Hawai‘i Supreme Court for 14 years.  Previously, he served as a judge at various levels for 20 years. He continues to be active in judicial organizations and has received many awards for his work. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Hawai‘i and earned his Juris Doctorate from the Northwestern School of Law.

Helen Nielsen, Maui County, is currently serving on an interim basis and upon confirmation will serve the remainder of her term which ends June 30, 2015. Nielson has a passion for community service and environmental sustainability. She was a founder of the Maui Coastal Land Trust and served on its board. Nielsen is co-owner/manager of commercial properties in Wailuku, Maui and Waimea, Hawai‘i. She studied business at Kingsborough Community College and Pace University, both in New York.

Ernest Wilson, Jr., Maui County, will serve from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020 upon confirmation. Wilson is a seasoned executive with more than 50 years of experience in the fields of travel, hospitality, food service, military logistics, and higher education. In the civilian arena, he served in numerous positions for hospitality organizations including Holiday Inns, Embassy Suites, Sheraton Hotels, and Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. In the military, he achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel leading several large complex organizations. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Cornell University (BS), Florida International University (MS), and California International Business University (Honorary Doctorate of Business).

David Iha, Kaua‘i County, will serve upon confirmation through June 30, 1017. Iha has a long history of service to the University of Hawai‘i system and has been an outstanding leader at Kaua‘i Community College. While there, he was part of the leadership team that designed and built a new campus, and in his 16-year tenure as provost, he expanded the curriculum and established exchange programs with educational institutions in Okinawa and mainland Japan. He served as the Executive Administrator and Secretary of the Board of Regents from 1998 until his retirement in 2006. He is a graduate of Kaua‘i High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and a master’s degree from UH Mānoa.

Michael McEnerney, Honolulu County, will serve from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020 upon confirmation. McEnerney is president of McEnerney Shimabakuro Okazaki & Fujita CPAs AAC. He holds a CPA certificate and is registered in Illinois and a CPA license/permit and certificate in Hawai‘i. He was awarded a BS degree at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a double major in accounting and business administration (finance); an MBA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; and a JD from Northwestern University.

“This is an exceptional group of leaders with a range of diverse skills and expertise in the operations of large organizations,” said Governor Ige. “I am confident they will contribute to the continued success of the University of Hawai‘i system.”