JUNE 2, 2018



Luis Salaveria: Leading DBEDT... (cont.)



And yes, I said resource, because you know at the end of the day, there`s really only one resource that counts. So, momentum, and history, will be on the side that chooses to protect that resource.”
VERGE Hawaii is one of Salaveria’s  top priorities. Other priorities he mentions include:

1. Entrepreneurs Sandbox – groundbreaking. Construction started on the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation’s (HTDC) Entrepreneurs Sandbox facility in Kakaako. Scheduled to be completed in 2019, it will be an innovation (that buzz word again) center where everyone can bring ideas to life and learn to build projects and develop creative media. It’s envisioned to be the ignition point for an Innovation

(that buzz word again) center where everyone can bring ideas to life and learn to build projects and develop creative media. It’s envisioned to be the ignition point for an Innovation Block, which will eventually incubate and house Hawaii’s tech industry.

“HTDC is an economic driver, and this project will position Hawaii to become an innovation hub in our global community. The Entrepreneurs’ Sandbox will be the point of the spear for additional economic achievements. It’s the beginning of the Innovation Block; the place that will be the home for innovation in our state for years to come,” said Salaveria.

State Senator Glenn Wakai, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism and Technology, has been working closely with Luis for the past six years, including on the Sandbox project.

“Director Salaveria is knowledgeable, honest, and collaborative. He works well with others to achieve a public benefit. He understands the complexities of economic development for various industries and moves the needle on all fronts. I really admire his passion to push forward with creating an innovative economy and giving our keiki the opportunity to use their imagination as their personal currency.”

Sen. Wakai said of the Sandbox project: ““Brick and mortar office space for a headquarters is an expectation of the past. Hawaii needs to reduce expenses and increase flexibility by providing budding entrepreneurs with a one-stop shop for growth. If we can bring great minds together, fertilize them with shared business development services, we can re-engineer our economy. The world’s future problems will be solved by teams, not by individuals. The Sandbox is a facility to bring teams together.”

Another strong believer of innovation as key to building Hawaii’s economy is Todd Nacapuy, Chief Information Officer for the Office of Enterprise Technology Services.
“Luis is intelligent and has the in-depth knowledge to lead the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.  He works hard in trying to create opportunities for people and businesses in order to diversify our economy,” said Nacapuy. “We both believe in being innovative to grow Hawaii’s economy, attract talent and create jobs.” 

2. Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP).  DBEDT launched the 2018 Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program, an initiative designed to help Hawaii small businesses increase their exports. It is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Companies can register in the program with DBEDT.

3. Navy MOUHistoric Agreement with Navy to advance clean energy opportunities. A Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding was signed by Gov. David Ige and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Dennis V. McGinn to work on energy related issues of mutual benefit.
The State of Hawaii through DBEDT, and the Department of the Navy (DON) work together toward the reduction of greenhouse gases and fossil fuel usage, and to find better ways of energy efficiency, water consumption, use of renewable energy and use of alternative fueled vehicles.

4. Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) is a media, music and fashion design accelerator that is designed to increase export, business opportunities, attract investment and build the state’s creative entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The department’s CLH program recognizes the need to strengthen our local economy by identifying and opening doors of opportunity for individuals in the film and creative industries,” said Salaveria.

He adds, “Creative Lab Hawaii’s growing network delivers focused business development opportunities to our creative community. We are seeing great success stories come out of our unique programs, which provide progressive mentoring to prepare individuals with the skills and tools necessary to enter the year-long accelerator program.”

5. League of Filipino Provinces MOU – Signed, Oct. 2017. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation between the State of Hawaii and the League of Provinces, establishing Sister-State relationships with several provinces in the Philippines.

Salaveria shares some of his personal time volunteering his expertise to help the Filipino community. He has received the United Filipino Council of Hawaii (UFCH) Progress Award for Government Service. UFCH, a statewide Filipino organization, awards its Progress Award to Hawaii residents of Filipino ancestry for their excellence and accomplishments in their field of expertise.

“I currently sit on the board of directors for the FilCom Center and serve as treasurer. Growing up Filipino in the State of Hawaii -  gave me a deep appreciation for supporting my community,” he said.

FilCom Center’s Executive Director Franz “Donnie” Juan said, “Luis is a committed volunteer to the Filipino community. Although Luis is a busy individual leading DBEDT which involves many facets of state government, Luis is still able to provide guidance and time to our Filipino Community Center.  His continued contributions to our Center are appreciated.”

Luis was born and raised in Hawaii. He lived in the Philippines briefly when he was age 10 through 14. “I had all the advantages of growing up in the U.S. I remember spending summer vacations in the Philippines. As a kid, I used to call Philippine Airlines ‘Pamper Airlines’ because every time we’d go on vacation and we were at the airport, I would see boxes and boxes of pamper diapers. That’s how people would transport all the ‘pasalubong’ (gift) for everyone back home.”

Luis’ mother was a teacher and his father in the U.S. Navy. “My parents taught me the values of dedication and hard work,” he said.

His parents emphasized getting a good education. “I studied hard throughout my educational experience. I originally planned on entering the healthcare field, like every good Filipino son, but ended up enjoying the fields of finance and economics. I was very interested in finance and economics and the global impact in these areas.”
He received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

With so much resting on this director’s shoulders, effective leadership cannot be overstated. He describes his leadership style “as strategic, visionary and collaborative, where my goal is to move people towards a new set of shared outcomes. With my team, I prefer to set people free to innovate, experiment, and take calculated risks to achieve a common goal,” said Salaveria.

Emphasizing collaborative efforts to achieve a common goal – this sounds like a successful leadership model. If most public-private leaders pushing forward Hawaii’s innovation economy have similar leadership models as Salaveria, perhaps the state can bank on having better days ahead.

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