Suzuki Named President of Hawai‘i Island UtilitiesJanuary 18, 2019, 9:46 AM HST (Updated January 18, 2019, 9:46 AM)
Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric Company, has been named to the new position of president of Maui County and Hawai‘i Island Utilities, according to a Jan. 18 press release.
She will oversee the administration of the two companies that serve 157,000 customers on Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
Suzuki succeeds Jay Ignacio, who is retiring after 28 years with Hawai‘i Electric Light. Ignacio, whose retirement is effective Feb. 2, has served as president of the company since 2008.
“It’s been an honor to serve the community I call home,” Suzuki said. “In my career, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside hundreds of dedicated professionals who are committed to doing the right thing for our customers and our neighbors. I would like to thank the employees, our customers, and our partners in government, business and community organizations who work tirelessly to make Hawai‘i Island a better place for all.”
The new position is an element of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ “One Company” transformation strategy, which brings together the best practices of Hawaiian Electric, Hawai‘i Electric Light and Maui Electric to reduce duplication, share resources and maximize efficiency to provide savings to customers while continuing to honor the cultures and meet the needs of each island’s communities.
“Our commitment to these islands isn’t changing. As anyone who has worked with Sharon knows, she is a tremendous advocate for customers and the communities on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i,” said Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, the parent company of Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light. “Maui Electric is nationally recognized for its use of renewable energy – now at nearly 40 percent – so Sharon is the right person to continue that work and build on the clean energy leadership of Hawai‘i Electric Light.
“Our business is undergoing a fundamental transformation and so is our organizational chart,” said Oshima. “Like many other jobs in our company, the duties of the president are changing to meet new expectations, and this is an opportunity to reduce costs and look at new ways of working.”
Suzuki has served as president of Maui Electric since 2012. In more than 25 years with Maui Electric and Hawaiian Electric, she has served in many diverse leadership roles in renewable energy, energy efficiency and customer service.
Active in the Maui community, Suzuki serves as treasurer on the board of directors of the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association and vice-chair of the County of Maui Civil Service Commission. She is also on the boards of the Maui Economic Development Board and Boy Scouts of America Maui County Council.
Suzuki holds a Master of Business Administration in finance from California State University at Fullerton, and a Bachelor of Arts in economics and Japanese from the University of Michigan.
Ignacio, a Hilo native, plans to stay active in the community after his retirement. A graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, he joined Hawai‘i Electric Light in 1990 as a substation design engineer and was promoted to superintendent of construction and maintenance in 1994 and later as manager of the transmission and distribution department.
He was named president in 2008 and in 2015 took on additional responsibilities as senior operations adviser to the president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric.
“I want to thank Jay for his tireless service to the people of Hawai‘i Island and for his steady, decisive leadership of Hawai‘i Electric Light through some of the most challenging situations any of us can remember, including earthquakes, tropical storms and two volcanic eruptions,” Oshima said. “No matter how complex the issue, Jay always brought the question back to what was best for the customers.”