NEW CHAMBER BOARD TO SURVEY MEMBERSHIP ON ISSUES
Local businessman Lewis Wolman, a former publisher of Samoa News, was voted in early this month as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors during their first meeting of 2014. Wolman currently oversees community and Investor relations for the Community Bank of American Samoa (IO), a locally owned bank waiting federal approval to operate in the territory.
At the meeting, Laufai Fanene, owner of Cupcake Kisses by Rayne, was elected vice president, while owner of Sadie’s hotels, Tom Drabble was selected Treasurer. Post of secretary is vacant at this time.
Other board members are Peter Crispin (Tool Shop), Brett Butler (StarKist Samoa), Jason Betham (Development Bank of American Samoa), and Isabel Hudson (Hamburg Sud).
In a statement last Friday, the Chamber says the new board will be surveying its 92 members to determine the priority issues it will be addressing in 2014. Further the board wants to work with the Lolo Administration on shared goals, including strengthening and expanding the American Samoa economy, improving the local business climate, attracting new investment and jobs, and developing a 21st century workforce.
Wolman says the board is very encouraged by the governor’s commitment to economic development, education and attracting college graduates to return home.
“...the Chamber has always believed that the private sector and government must work together if our economy is going to grow,” he said in the statement, which also says the Chamber will hold its first membership gathering, a happy hour for the business community, on January 31 at Sadie’s by the Sea.
“The new board looks forward to involving members as we seek to strengthen the local economy and improve the local business climate,” Wolman said in an email message to members.
RECENT GRANDS AND CoC
Meanwhile, last week Wolman wrote to Chamber members the Lolo Administration is trying to help recent college graduates find employment; and over 20 such graduates attended a meeting with the governor on Jan. 6, with more reportedly entering the program.
Wolman said two of the graduates who attended the meeting indicated they would like to work in the private sector and he volunteered to work with Chamber members to see if anyone would like to hire them.
“Both the graduates seeking a private sector position have MBA degrees — one has a specialization in Finance, while the other has a specialization in Global Management,” Wolman said. Resumes and information about the two MBA degree holders was also included in the email letter to Chamber members.
Wolman explained the government has offered to subsidize at least 50% of their first year salary — based on $23,000 for a Bachelor’s degree and $27,000 for a Master’s degree.
Human Resources Department director Sonny Thompson “has indicated that ASG will consider a higher subsidy for private sector job placement on a case-by-base basis,” the Chamber chairman said, and hoped that Chamber members will employ the two graduates.
NANAI AFUOLA KALASA PASSES AWAY
Former associate judge and long time former deputy secretary of Samoan Affairs, Nanai Afuola Kalasi passed away last Wednesday at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu at the age of 80, says his daughter Tuafaiga Ali’itasi Mauga.
Nanai had been a figure for many years at many government ceremonial events, especially during annual Flag Day celebrations where as the Master of Ceremonies his traditional Samoan orator speeches and dedication to the Samoan culture made him well respected both in the territory and abroad.
Tuafaiga told Samoa News her father was on vacation in Hawai’i to visit his children when he passed away. She said her father will be dearly missed, adding her father was very strong and solid when it came to the Samoan culture.
He enjoyed his duties and responsibilities serving the village, church, county and the territory, Tuafaiga said, adding her father would have been 81 years old next month.
Nanai served more than fifty years in both the American Samoa Government and the federal government — through the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served for 20 years. He served in ASG for some 38 years, which included working as a translator for the High Court, where he was later an associate judge.
He served as deputy secretary of Samoan Affairs during the first term of the Tauese Administration until 2012, the last year of the Togiola Administration. Last year, Nanai was among the seven-appointees to the new ASG Employees Retirement Fund Board of Trustees — none of whom received full confirmation by the Fono.
Nanai also served as leader of his family for many years, as well as within the church and village of Vatia. Funeral service is pending at this point with an official announcement to be made soon by his family.
Samoa News extends our condolence to the grieving family.
(Original Samoan story was published in Saturday’s Samoa News edition of To’asavili.)