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For Immediate Release: March 29, 2005


HONOLULU - The Hawaii Department of Agriculture announced today that Governor Linda Lingle has appointed Honolulu business consultant Duane K. Okamoto as Deputy to the Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. His term begins on April 1, 2005.

"We cast a wide net in recruiting for this important position," said Governor Lingle.  "I am confident that Mr. Okamoto's strong background in business and economic development will help to expand and promote the wide variety of agribusinesses in Hawaii."

Okamoto is president of Okamoto Consulting Group, Inc. and has 30 years of experience in the areas of administration, program evaluation, government contracting, small business development and business planning. 

As a consultant, Okamoto, worked with the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) on several business-related projects.  In working with DBEDT, he assisted with the relocation of businesses to the Hilo-Hamakua area, assisted with the development of a business plan for the Hilo Foreign Trade Zone, and helped to prepare a strategy for economic recovery on Kauai following Hurricane Iniki.  He assisted OHA by conducting a feasibility study for a business incubator in Hilo and prepared business plans for applicants in the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund.

Okamoto previously held positions with Grant Thornton LLP, and ALU LIKE, Inc. and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa.

 His educational background includes a bachelor's degree in History from California State University-San Jose and his Masters of Business Administration from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Arizona.

 "Duane's experience in pulling together effective teams and developing strong business plans will foster greater local agribusiness development and help position Hawaii in the global marketplace," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  "His observations and assessment of the local industry will provide a fresh perspective.  I look forward to working with him."


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
To E-mail, click here