Honolulu Community College will honor seven distinguished alumni and sponsor Hawthorne Cat at the the annual distinguished alumni awards dinner on March 1, 2018. Robert “Bobby” Ayonon, Jerald “Kimo” Keaulana, Kurt Kendro, Manuel P. Neves, Robert Silva, Deborah Spencer-Chun and Arthur B. Tolentino will be recognized for their professional achievements and contributions to the community.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Pōmaikaʻi Ballrooms at the Dole Cannery
Join Honolulu CC for an entertaining evening that will be emceed by Honolulu CC Music and Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) alumnus and local comedian, Ray Lamay.
The event will include a silent auction that will feature unique, one-of-a-kind items, an ʻono Hawaiian buffet and live entertainment by the talented students of the MELE program.
Proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction will benefit the Honolulu CC general scholarship endowment fund. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (808) 845-9429.
Robert ‘Bobby’ Ayonon (Apprenticeship RAC 1983)
Bobby Ayonon completed Honolulu CC’s refrigeration and air conditioning program in 1983 and successfully completed the Plumber and Pipefitters Local 675 Apprenticeship program. He is the founder and president of Kauaʻi Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, which was named a Top 50 Small Business in Hawaiʻi for several years. In 2010, Ayonon was named the Kauaʻi Filipino Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year, and in 2016 he helped to launch the first Kauaʻi Apprenticeship Day with Kauaʻi CC and industry partners. He is currently the president of the Kauaʻi Filipino Chamber of Commerce and is the chair of the Kauaʻi Workforce Development and Investment Board.
Jerald ‘Kimo’ Alama Keaulana (Liberal Arts 1984)
Kimo Keaulana was a student of Honolulu CC twice—first, straight out of high school and then returning after working mainly in the tourism industry. After 10 years teaching social studies with the Department of Education, Keaulana returned to Honolulu CC as an instructor in Hawaiian studies and language. Known as a Hawaiian music historian, Keaulana is most notably known for the “Kimo Alama Keaulana Collection” housed in the Bishop Museum Archives containing almost 1,000 Hawaiian language songs. In 2005, Keaulana garnered two Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards and has served on its panel of judges for many years. A judge for numerous hula competitions, Keaulana has been teaching all forms of hula for 46 years, and in 2016 was honored with the Malia Kau Award by the Moanalua Gardens Foundation. In 2012, The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa awarded Keaulana with the I Ulu I Ke Kumu Award. He is currently a board member for the Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Lei o Lanikūhonua, the Mary Kawena Pukui Society and Waihona o na Mele Noʻeau.
Kurt Kendro (Administration of Justice 1987)
Retired Major Kurt Kendro served with the Honolulu Police Department for 30 years. Kendro is a graduate of Honolulu CC’s Administration of Justice Program and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in occupational education from Wayland Baptist University and a master of science degree in criminal justice administration from Chaminade University. In 2003, Kendro was selected to attend the 215th Session of the FBI National Academy, which 1 percent of law enforcement executives from around the world are selected to attend. He serves on the following board of directors—Special Olympics Hawaiʻi, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Memorial for Fallen. In 2016, he retired from the Honolulu Police Department at the rank of major and he continues to serve his community working for Parsons as the operations manager.
Manuel P. Neves (Fire Science 1984)
Fire Chief Manuel P. Neves entered the fire service in February 1979. He is currently the fire chief of the Honolulu Fire Department. Chief Neves serves as chair of the Hawaiʻi State Fire Council, vice president of the Hawaiʻi Fire Chiefs Association, vice president of the Western Fire Chiefs Association and an assessor for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He has an associate of science degree in fire science, bachelor of arts in business administration and a masters in public administration. Neves completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and was awarded Chief Fire Officer Designation. In 2007, the Institution of Fire Engineers presented Neves the grade of member. He is also certified to the level of Fire Officer IV. In 2005, Neves received a fellowship from the U.S. Fire Administration, the International Fire Service Training Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Fire Protection Association to attend the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Robert Silva (Automotive Technology 2004)
A graduate of the UH Mānoa in Hawaiian studies and ethnobotany, Robert Silva taught geometry and algebra at Damien Memorial School. Growing up with epilepsy he started volunteering as a board member of the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaiʻi. In 2001, Silva had brain surgery to fix his seizures and was told he could drive. A car enthusiast, he soon enrolled at Honolulu CC into the automotive technology program. After graduation he worked in the industry as an automotive technician, and in 2015 he came back to his alma mater, this time as an automotive instructor. Silva is a talented craftsman known for his hand woven hats, and gives back to the ʻāina leading volunteer efforts at Kualoa/Hakipuʻu and Loʻi Kalo Park.
Deborah Lee Keala Spencer-Chun (Liberal Arts 1985)
Born and raised in Kalihi, Deborah Spencer-Chun graduated from Farrington High School and attended Honolulu CC graduating with a degree in human services. She transferred to UH Mānoa where she earned a bachelors and masters degree in social work. While at the university she interned at Adult Friends for Youth (AFY). She co-authored two books with AFY’s founder, Sid Rosen, Toward a Gang Solution: The Redirectional Method and Turning it Around: Redirectional Therapy. Today, she serves as its president and CEO and continues to serve youth by being their advocate and their voice.
Arthur Blasie Tolentino (Sheetmetal and Plastics Technology 1985)
Since 2007 Arthur Blaise Tolentino has served as the business manager and financial secretary treasurer for Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transit Local 293, located in the heart of Kalihi. A graduate of the sheet metal and plastics program at Honolulu CC, he went on to pursue his education, graduating from Ohio State University. Currently, he serves as the fund chairman, and remains an active member of the Hawaiʻi Building and Construction Trades Council. Tolentino also serves as a commissioner on the City and County of Honolulu’s Planning Commission and has served as a trustee on the National Energy Management Institute Committee since January 2013.
Outstanding community partner
Hawthorne acquired Pacific Machinery Inc., which is now known as Hawthorne Pacific Corp., on May 5, 2004. The operation was an existing Caterpillar dealership and has been in business as an authorized dealer since 1925. The company’s territory includes the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, Saipan and other islands of the South Pacific. Hawthorne Cat is proud to support associations that promote their industry and the local organizations that help make our communities a better place to live.