Gov. Ige Appoints Ag & DBEDT Leaders

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Gov. David Ige has appointed a new chairperson of the Board of Agriculture and a new director at the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Department of Agriculture

Denise Albano. PC: State of Hawai‘i

Denise Albano has been appointed chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture, and Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser has been reappointed deputy to the chairperson.

Albano has served as the Department of Agriculture’s water director since 2016, creating and improving water systems across state water agencies, using a collaborative approach to water usage in Hawai‘i.

Albano was president and co-founder of Feed the Hunger Foundation in San Francisco, California, where she created, developed and oversaw a public foundation that provides loans and grants to organizations internationally as well as domestically—in California and Hawai‘i.

In addition, Albano managed the Capital Campaign at The Nature Conservancy Hawai‘i; served as executive director of the YMCA, Richmond district, San Francisco;served as executive director Project YES/Youth Uprising in Oakland, California; and served as family support senior program officer for the San Francisco Children and Families Commission.


“Denise has extensive executive management experience in both government and nonprofits. Her expertise in strategic growth and leadership, program development and collaborative partnerships, will serve the Department of Agriculture well,” said Gov. Ige.

“I’m very excited by this opportunity to join the dedicated employees of the Department of Agriculture to support their efforts and the desire of the governor and his administration to continue to vitalize an industry that is so important to the community of Hawai‘i,” Albano said.

Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser. PC: State of Hawai‘i

Gov. Ige also reappointed Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser as deputy to the chairperson, a position she has held since 2015.

Shimabukuro-Geiser is a long-time agriculture advocate who was previously employed at Mikilua Poultry Farm, Inc. in Waianae, having served as vice president and administrative and fiscal assistant. She was also vice president at Associated Producers Corp. in Honolulu.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in Gov. Ige’s administration these past four years,” said Shimabukuro-Geiser. I thank him for this opportunity to continue serving our hardworking farmers, ranchers and nursery growers who are so committed to the success of agriculture in Hawaiʻi.”


Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT)

Mike McCartney. PC: State of Hawai‘i

Mike McCartney has been appointed to serve as director of DBEDT. McCartney has been Gov. Ige’s chief of staff since December 2014.

McCartney is the past president and chief executive officer of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency. Prior to serving in this role, he was the executive director of the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association. He also served as the director of the Department of Human Resources Management and was president and CEO of PBS Hawaiʻi. He served in the Hawaiʻi State Senate for 10 years.

“This department is focused on achieving an innovative, sustainable economy for our state,” said Gov. Ige. “Mike’s vision and past experiences make him the ideal person to lead this department and create economic opportunities for the future.”

“As the world and global economy change, Hawaiʻi has to find its way to the future so the next generation can also choose to call Hawaiʻi home,” said McCartney. “That’s the work of this department. It’s an honor to be in this position.”


All three of these appointments are subject to senate confirmation.

Office of the Governor

Ford Fuchigami.  PC: State of Hawai‘i

Gov. Ige also announced the reappointment of Ford Fuchigami to the position of Administrative Director in the Office of the Governor, a position he’s held since Nov. 2017.

Previously, he served as director, Department of Transportation (DOT). While at the DOT, he focused on maximizing existing infrastructure while prioritizing sustainability and making the state more energy efficient. He previously served as an executive in the hospitality industry.

“Ford has been a key member of my leadership team, and I value his ability to work with diverse stakeholders and manage multiple priorities,” said Gov. Ige. “Together, we will continue to make significant progress on my administration’s initiatives.”

“I look forward to continuing my work with Gov. Ige, the executive branch departments and agencies, and the many other partners who are working together to enhance efficiencies throughout our state,” said Fuchigami.

Fuchigami’s appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation.

Link to the appointees resumes here

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