|by Hae Okimoto
Albert "Al" Honda provides technical support for the Technology and Distance Learning department at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). A main focus of his job is to make sure that the technology supporting distance learning at UHH works. But Al's work is not limited to the technology, he also assists faculty with using the technology effectively in their teaching and insures that students receive the support services necessary to have a quality distance delivered course. In addition, he has installed and supports multimedia technology in more than 30 classrooms on the UHH campus.
Al graduated from Hilo High School and attended Hawaii Community College to study Electronic Technology. His first position was with the United States Air Force, where he served for four years. Upon leaving the military, Al was a general repair technician at the Institute For Astronomy, working at the Mauna Kea Observatory 88" Telescope, before moving down the mountain to work with Dr. Tsutomu Takahashi at the Cloud Physics Observatory. Al credits Dr. Takahashi for his confidence on the job, as work at the Cloud Physics Observatory was full of pressures - it seemed like it was always a sink or swim situation. Fortunately for us, Al learned to swim well! He then moved back up the mountain to work at the Infrared Telescope facilities, before moving permanently down the mountain to be with the Media Center at UHH. Al has been a great friend to both faculty and students in the distance learning programs, as Al was always designing tools and even furniture to better facilitate teaching and learning! Al is definitely a quiet, but efficient man - maybe something he inherited from his dad, another quietly supportive individual who had a great impact on Al's life.
Al doesn't say much, but he has been such an integral part of our distance learning and multimedia life at UHH - advancing new technology and more importantly, keeping things running, that we will definitely miss him when he retires. Hopefully he'll have more time to spend with Aileen, his wife, and their children, including Penny his beagle. He considers himself lucky that his son, Eric and his wife Amy, as well as daughter Lianne all live in Hilo. Maybe once he retires, he'll have more time for bowling, fishing, tennis and golf - things he likes, but hasn't quite had much time for; though if you live in Hilo, you might have seen him riding his bike around to get more exercise. Then again, you might catch him enjoying Reader's Digest short stories while waiting for Aileen while she shops!
Our other Staff Snapshot is Royd Liu, currently the Video Operations Coordinator for ITS, who started his career as a student worker at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, under the supervision of Al Honda! It was Al who gave Royd his first taste of what the video industry was all about. Royd currently supervises the Video Operation s Center which is the technical center of all our video based distance learning activities (both on HITS and on public access cable), maintaining not only the physical facilities located in Kuykendall Hall on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus, but from the VOC, keeps tabs on all the equipment on all the campuses and on mountain tops at the microwave towers. In addition, Royd is often the go to guy for departments wanting to install new video conferencing systems. If that didn't keep him busy enough, he also oversees production for ITS.
Royd earned his Communication degree at UH Manoa, during which he worked as a student at ITS. Upon graduation, he worked at NBC/K5, mostly on UH Sports, News and other local programs...it was really hard doing the Miss Hawaii Pageants! Fortunately, we were able to lure him back to UH, where he was instrumental in moving the distance learning classrooms, master control and video production into the current digital age. It is Royd's positive "can do" attitude that everyone who ever works with him truly appreciates!
Royd met his wife Lianne while working at ITS as a student. Their daughter Jordyn, a preschooler, just became a big sister in March with the birth of sister Kaylie. Hope their golden retriever doesn't get jealous...and we really enjoy looking at Royd's salt water aquarium at his desk - so soothing...no wonder Royd is always so happy!