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Washington Middle School walked away with the top team prize at the Oʻahu Chapter MATHCOUNTS® Competition sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers Educational Foundation. The math competition brought together nearly 250 middle school student "mathletes" from public and private schools across Oʻahu for the math problem solving event held at Kamehameha Schools on Feb. 10. In addition to Washington Middle School, teams from Highlands Intermediate, Punahou, ʻIolani, Kamehameha and Kapolei Middle schools earned their participation in the State MATHCOUNTS on March 10 and a shot at advancing to the National MATHCOUNTS in Washington, D.C.


Left to right: Dewey Gottlieb, Education Specialist, Hawaiʻi Department of Education; Jean Okumura, Professor of Mathematics, University of Hawaiʻi Windward Community College; Washington Middle School students Adam Inamasu, Minjae Seo, Jordan Wong, Felicity Zhou and Coach Sung Park; Scott Seu, Senior Vice President-Public Affairs, Hawaiian Electric; Barry Nakamoto, MATHCOUNTS State Co-Coordinator. Photo credit: Edmund Chang.

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Kōkua Champions rewarded with grants to their favorite nonprofits

Hawaiian Electric employees Mari Cardines, Barney Choy and Nathan Yuen are recipients of the 2017 Kōkua Community Champion Service Award from the HEI Charitable Foundation (HEICF). The recognition honors the employees for their outstanding volunteer service in the community during the past year, and enables each winner to award a nonprofit charitable organization with a $1,000 grant from the foundation.


Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president & CEO, congratulates employees Mari Cardines and Barney Choy on their 2017 Kōkua Community Champion Service Award from the HEI Charitable Foundation. The recognition honors their outstanding volunteer service in the community during the past year, and enables each winner to award a nonprofit charitable organization with a $1,000 grant from the foundation.

Mari Cardines, an executive secretary for customer service and public affairs, was recognized for her multiple volunteer activities in the Leeward Oʻahu community. As a member of Nānāikapono Church, Cardines spends her weekends in Nānākuli alongside church volunteers assisting with monthly food distributions, homeless shelter outreaches, back-to-school supply drives, weekly meals to kupuna and more.

"I would like Nānāikapono Church to be the recipient of the HEI Charitable Foundation's generous gift because of all the wonderful contributions our volunteers support throughout the year in the community," said Cardines, a Hilo native who today lives in Kunia. Cardines, who holds a business degree from the University of Phoenix, has been with the utility since 2007 and part of the HEI family of companies going on 26 years.

An environmental compliance supervisor with 28 years at the utility, Barney Choy was recognized for his commitment to helping Hawaiʻi's young athletes succeed as players, students and good corporate citizens. He is founder of the nonprofit Na Keiki Mau Loa volleyball club which rigorously trains young volleyball players while instilling in them a sense of responsibility to care for their team, family, communities and environment through service projects and educational workshops.

Choy, a Saint Louis School alumnus and Waialae Nui Valley resident, plans to use the HEICF grant for Na Keiki Mau Loa's annual collegiate volleyball coaching clinic. The venue introduces Hawaiʻi high school athletes to top volleyball coaches from around the country and gives them a shot at receiving scholarships or financial packages to fulfill their dreams of higher education. Choy himself holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Nathan Yuen, a renewable energy contract manager with 15 years at Hawaiian Electric, was recognized for his dedication to advancing Hawaiʻi's next generation of skilled technology workers through his work with the nonprofit Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers Educational Foundation (HSPEEF), also Yuen's choice to receive the HEICF grant. HSPEEF will use the funds for the annual Oʻahu and state MATHCOUNTS® competitions which promote middle school math achievement.

For more than a decade, Yuen has been coordinating the numerous details involved in the MATHCOUNTS events, even using personal vacation time to travel to national planning conferences where coordinators learn ways the math enrichment program can be improved and relevant for the students. The 20-year Mānoa Valley resident earned his civil engineering degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a master in mechanical engineering from Naval Postgraduate School.

About Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)
For more than 100 years, Hawaiian Electric Company has provided the energy that has fueled the islands' development from a Hawaiian kingdom to a modern state. Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO), and its subsidiaries, Maui Electric Company, Ltd. (MECO), and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO), serves 95% of the state's 1.2 million residents on the islands of O`ahu, Maui, Hawai`i Island, Lana`i and Moloka`i.

The energy we use is an essential but limited resource necessary to maintaining our quality of life. In a changing world, Hawaiian Electric has evolved to offer more than electricity.

Today, the company also provides energy solutions to help customers save money and use energy more efficiently. Hawaiian Electric also continues to pursue the use of more clean, renewable energy alternatives to help ensure a sustainable future for our islands.


Hawaiian Electric Company is dedicated to our community in which we live, work and serve. Rooted in Hawaii and one of the largest companies in the State, Hawaiian Electric takes the concept of malama pono -- to care for and serve -- to heart. The company and our employees have a long tradition of contributing with dollars, time and talent. Corporate citizenship is crucial to Hawaiian Electric's overall business plan because strong communities are essential to the success of the company, our employees and our customers.

Company and employee volunteerism is encouraged and every month, employees walk, run or provide manpower to dozens of non-profits throughout the State. Hawaiian Electric's corporate giving philosophy gives priority to projects that help families, promote education and protect the environment.

The company also sponsors robotics programs and events that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education, as well as the SunPower for Schools program bringing solar electric power to select schools, the Solar Sprint event where students design, build and race cars using solar power, and the Home Energy Challenge, a school-based competition encouraging elementary school students and their families to reduce energy use at home, among other programs.

For nearly a decade, Hawaiian Electric volunteers have provided manpower, bucket trucks and ladders to install Christmas lights at the Kaimuki Community Park and playground before the annual Kaimuki Christmas Parade in December.

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