Maui County awards presented for top employee, manager and team

Maui Police Community Policing Officer Taylor Kamakawiwoole is the Maui County Employee of the Year and Kathleen Aoki, administrative planning officer for the Planning Department, is the Maui County Manager of the Year. -- County of Maui RYAN PIROS photo

More than 250 people, including county employees, family and friends attended Maui County’s 31st annual Employee Recognition Awards Dinner Dec. 7 at the Kihei Community Center.

Maui Police Community Policing Officer Taylor Kamakawiwoole is Maui County Employee of the Year and Kathleen Aoki, administrative planning officer for the Planning Department, is the Maui County Manager of the Year.

The Team of the Year is the plumbing section team for the Department of Public Works.

Kamakawiwoole is described as being “pivotal” for his work providing resources to the homeless such as shelter, recovery and addiction programs and spiritual needs. He often goes “beyond the call of duty” with patience, compassion and diligence, according to a news release. He also serves as a visitor-oriented policing officer. These officers provide Maui visitors support when a tragedy hits during a vacation.

Aoki has worked in nearly every division of the Planning Department. She is praised for her communication skills and has been described as being fair, open and friendly. She aims to maintain peace when conflicts emerge. She has the ability make decisions without hesitation and at the same time includes others in the process, according to the selection committee.

Shown are Maui County’s team of the year members Maurice Shimabukuro (from left), Ben Aganos Sr., Daniel Pascua, Ben Aganos Jr., Daniel Tengan and Jerry Tanaka. Missing is Nalani Yap. -- County of Maui RYAN PIROS photo

The Team of the Year includes Jerry Tanaka, Nalani Yap, Ben Aganos Sr., Ben Aganos Jr., Daniel Tengan, Maurice Shimabukuro and Daniel Pascua.

In 2017, the team processed approximately 1,500 permits, 7,000 inspections and 200 requests from the public. The team is willing to explore new situations and help improve the plumbing industry and recently conducted extensive research into new technology and methods, the selection committee said.