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HEA 2018 Conference: Risks & Resilience: Averting Disaster & Surviving Catastrophe

Oct 5, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu, HI
Event Summary


As we navigate hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and false missile alerts The Hawaii Economic Association finds it appropriate to explore the economics of potential catastrophe through its Conference, The Economics of Risk & Resiliency – Meeting the Needs of Hawaii’s Future. The day’s program will feature three panel discussions, as well as a morning and lunch speaker, and the ever-popular closing panel on the economic outlook for Hawaii and the nation.

“Climate change and growing populations are increasing the probability of natural disasters and changing the metrics for how government and industry to plan for the future,” said George Willoughby, HEA President. “How much investment is warranted to build a resilient infrastructure and at what point does the return in investment make sense or not? This is one of many important questions facing us as we move further into the 21st century.

Event Details

Risks & Resilience: Averting Disaster & Surviving Catastrophe


The Economic Impacts of Beach Erosion: Implications for Tourism and Tourism Revenues from the Potential Erosion of Waikiki Beach

A vast majority of Oahu’s visitors stay in Waikiki. University of Hawaii Professor of Economics Nori Tarui will discuss how updated data on visitors and visitor trends was used to estimate the economic impact of Waikiki Beach erosion and how the estimates have changed over time.  Professor Tarui will also discuss ongoing work to assess and refine the value of Waikiki Beach to both residents and visitors, and why reliable estimates matter for future planning and investment


Speaker: Nori Tarui, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, University of Hawai`i at Manoa; Research Fellow, University of Hawai`i Economic Research Organization (UHERO); and Co-Director, Renewable Energy and Island Sustainability (REIS) Graduate Certificate Program.




Panel 1. Infrastructure of Communications & Utilities: Future plans and how resiliency is considered in planning/development

Responding to discrete catastrophic events is an important component of resilience.  An equally important consideration is the planning for and building of resilience into utility, communications, and essential services infrastructure.  The panel will discuss how Hawaii stakeholders are planning and building for a future that includes climate, technology, and geopolitical volatility.

Moderator: Dean Nishina, Executive Director, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Division of Consumer Advocacy 


Jason Thune, Director of Network Development, Hawaiian Telcom:

Rocky Mould, Energy Program Manager, Honolulu Office of Climate
Change, Sustainability & Resiliency

Scott Seu, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs. Hawaiian Electric


Panel 2. Promoting Sustainability within Hawaii’s Tourism Infrastructure

The state relies heavily on its visitor industry. Both public and private sectors face the task of evolving their facilities and services. This panel will consider sustainability efforts being undertaken at our airports, a major visitor attraction, and a leading hotel.

Moderator: Frank Haas, Marketing Management, Inc./Kapiolani Community College


Ross Higashi, Deputy Director, State of Hawaii Dept. of Transportation;

Stephen Yuen, Principal, G70,  



Preparing for the Future: The Honolulu Climate Change Commission’s Recommendations Based on Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Vulnerabilities 

This summer, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell issued a formal directive to all city departments and agencies to take action to minimize the risks from and adapt to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. The Mayor’s directive was based on the work and recommendations of the Honolulu Climate Change Commission. Commission Chair and Director of UH Manoa’s Institute for Sustainability and Resilience Professor Makena Coffman and Commission Vice-Chair and Associate Dean of UH Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Professor Charles “Chip” Fletcher will discuss the science and economics behind the Climate Change Commission’s study and how changing certain policies can make Hawai’i more resilient.

Speakers: Makena Coffman, Ph.D., Director, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Sustainability and Resilience,

Charles (“Chip”) Fletcher, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Earth Sciences at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology


Panel 3. Resilience in emergency management, response, and recovery

Description: A discussion of the economic dimensions of preparing for and responding to discrete-event disasters such as a hurricane, tsunami, lava flow, earthquake, etc.

Moderator: DR. Jack P. Suyderhoud, Professor Emeritus of Business Economics, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Dr. Dolores Foley, PhD. Retired Professor Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawai`i, Disaster Management Humanitarian Assistance Certificate  

Thomas Travis, Administrator, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

Dr. Alberto "Mo" Morales Jr.  Applied Research and Information Sharing Branch Chief at the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM),


Panel 4. Economic Outlook: When is the next recession?

Description: Panelists will cover the world, national, and local economic conditions and predict when the next recession is likely to occur in the U.S. and Hawaii.  Areas of special concentration include: international trade, tourism, construction, and real estate.

Moderator: Matthew Loke, Visiting Colleague, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources


Dr. Eugene Tian, Chief Economist, Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism

Dr. Peter Fuleky Research Economist and Associate Professor of Economics, University for Hawaii Economic Research Organization

Dr. Paul Brewbaker, Principal, TZ Economics

Mr. Mike Hamasu Director of Consulting & Research, Colliers International Hawaii


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Halekulani Hotel
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI, 96815

Oct 5, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
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