Interim Director Pause Named Full-Time DPW Leader
Hawaiʻi County has named Stephen Pause the Director of the Department of Public Works, the county announced Monday, Aug. 15.
He replaces former director Ikaika Rodenhurst, who left his post in June after an administration shakeup by the mayor’s office. Rodenhurst’s appointment to the job was controversial at the time Mayor Mitch Roth took office, narrowly passing the County Council’s approval.
Rodenhurst was a business-backed candidate who had run unsuccessfully in 2020 against Puna Councilman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder. His confirmation passed the council 5-4 , with most West Hawai‘i council members voting against his confirmation.
Pause has served as acting director for DPW for the past two months, and before that, in the role of deputy director since May 2021. His previous employment for the county includes working in an engineering role for the Department of Environmental Management.
Pause brings a wealth of engineering, project, and senior management experience from over 35 years of work with engineering firms and in corporate positions, the county news release stated. He spent over 17 years in a senior project management role for BP Oil, including participating in several emergency response events. Before relocating to the island, Pause was the director of capital projects for eight years for Cleveland Cliffs, an iron ore mining and steel company. In this role, he was responsible for planning, overseeing, and delivering maintenance and capital projects with values ranging between $10 million to $1 billion.
Pause has volunteered in several past roles in town government, including a zoning commission in Ohio, a wetlands commission, and working with a board of health in Massachusetts.
Pause holds BS and MS degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is a licensed professional civil engineer in the State of Hawaiʻi.
“I am honored to assume the role of director for DPW,” Pause stated. “I look forward to the opportunity to lead a talented team that is tasked with improving and maintaining county infrastructure and seeing that minimum design and construction requirements are followed to ensure safe and resilient structures.”
“Director Pause has proven himself extremely qualified for this position and has shown a keen ability to lead the department during this time of transition,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Through his mix of professional and life experiences, we believe Steve is best suited to tackle the issues at hand, including improving building permitting, amplifying infrastructure repair and maintenance, and bolstering capitol improvement projects, ensuring that our residents can thrive and succeed for generations to come.”
Pause listed as his highest priority to continue the ongoing effort of the Building Division to improve the permitting process using the EPIC system. Additionally, he listed attracting and retaining talent into the DPW organization and improving lines of communication with the public and all project stakeholders.