GTA announced Roland Certeza was appointed president and CEO of GTA. He is the first local Guamanian to be appointed to this position. Certeza has served as interim president since October 2017, and has worked for the company since 2005 and is credited by GTA for playing a significant part in securing GTA’s role in the Southeast Asia-U.S. transpacific fiber submarine cable system. Previously, Certeza worked for Apple, Hewlett Packard, Sprint International and Deloitte. He holds a master’s in business administration from the University of Guam and a bachelor’s in accounting from San Diego State University.
Joseph Shinohara was appointed chief financial officer of GTA. Shinohara joined GTA in 2007 and most recently worked as the company’s executive vice president of finance and controller. He holds a bachelor’s in accounting and management from the University of Guam and is a certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant. Shinohara is a graduate of Father Duenas Memorial School.
BankPacific announced Janice McPhetres was promoted to vice president and chief financial officer. McPhetres began working at BankPacific in 2013 after working with First Sound Bank in Seattle. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Seattle University in Washington.
Rizalina “Sally” De Ramos was promoted to assistant vice president, controller. De Ramos began working at BankPacific in 2001. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of the East in Manila, Philippines.
Maxine Laszlo was named executive director of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce by the board of directors. Laszlo has served as executive director of the Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts, public information officer of the Marianas Alliance for Non-Government Organizations and vice-chair of the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. She was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” by the Marianas Young Professionals in 2017.
Timothy C.S.A. Lujan was hired as assistant general manager of Nanbo Insurance Underwriters. Lujan will lead the sales
and marketing divisions and is a general agent of Tokio Marine Pacific Insurance Ltd.
Valerie C. Blas was hired as director of sales and marketing at Sentry Hospitality LLC. Blas’ previous work in the hospitality industry includes online and field marketing manager at the Westin Resort Guam, online travel sales manager at JMSH properties and business development executive at the Royal Orchid Guam Hotel.
Mark A. Testa was hired as director of entertainment for the Baldyga Group on Oct. 1. He has worked in the live entertainment, media and hospitality industries for more than 30 years, primarily in Las Vegas. Prior to joining Baldyga he was production manager and technical director for Production Specialists of Las Vegas. Throughout his career Testa has worked at MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc. and Seascape Cruise Ltd. Testa earned a bachelor’s in journalism radio, television and film production from the University of Georgia.
James C. Borja was appointed utility services administrator for the Guam Power Authority. He holds a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of Guam. Borja is also a board member of the Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association, the Guam National Olympic Committee and an advisory panel member for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.
Rajee Jackson was promoted to sales manager for the Triple J Auto Group’s Ford and Mazda dealership. Jackson started working for Triple J in 2004 as a sales associate.
Amber Geyrozaga was promoted to lead revenue specialist by Honolulu Cookie Co. She has worked for as a revenue specialist and quality assurance technician since joining the company in 2017. Geyrozaga also runs Stylez Connection Dance Studion in Kalihi, Hawaii with her husband, which opened in 2013.
William Earl Thomas returned to Dusit Thani Guam Resort as assistant food and beverage director. Thomas joined the hotel in 2015 as assistant food and beverage director before moving to New Orleans in 2016. He worked in the hotel industry for more than 20 years, beginning his career as banquet manager for the Double Tree Hotel and Holiday Inn Convention Center in California. In 2001 Thomas joined the Hyatt Group where he worked as director of banquets and events and director of outlets in San Francisco and San Diego and then event service manager and food and beverage manager in Guam.
Dr. Peachy Mae T. Piaña joined Guam Radiology Consultants as a radiologist. Previously, Dr. Piaña practiced with Orange County Diagnostics in Irvine, Calif. where she developed her skills in women’s imaging. She graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University and earned her medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Medical Honor Society.
Dr. Zachary Pruhs joined Guam Regional Medical City as a rheumatologist. He will be a part of GRMC’s Specialty Clinics where he will specialize in complex arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Dr. Pruhs is board certified in rheumatology and internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and a member of the American College of Rheumatology. His specific areas of interest include rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus, which are prevalent afflictions on Guam.
Anne Perez Hattori has been selected as editor of The Journal of Pacific History. Hattori, who is a professor at the University of Guam, teaches courses in Guam and Pacific Islands history, historiography, gender and research methods. She is also president of the Pacific History Association and co-editor of the Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean, which is due to be published in 2020. She completed her doctorate in Pacific History in 1999 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
John Henry Maratita Sablan was named the 2018 Overall Government Employee of the Year for the government of the Northern Mariana Islands. Sablan works as Customs Lieutenant for the Northern Mariana Islands Customs Division Special Enforcement Branch. Sablan has worked for the Customs Division for more than 15 years — starting in operations, then moving on to the K-9 Unit and Investigations.
Two Guam residents, Mike Fusco and Julia Nefczyk, won awards for underwater photography during the 2018 MantaFest event held in Yap by the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers. The event brings divers from around the world for two weeks of photography workshops, special dives, media presentations, training, a photo contest, dive party and tours of the island.
Fusco received honorable mention in the video category for his video of a moray eel and banded shrimp and Nefczyk won the award for the compact camera/behavior category for her photo of an angelfish.
Honolulu Cookie Co. announced Lisa Bankston was appointed e-commerce manager at Hawaiian Cookie Co. Bankston began a career as a tax accountant for Johnson & Johnson before transitioning to marketing, where she worked throughout the United States, United Kingdom and various countries in Asia for online and brick-and-mortar companies such as IBM, Men’s Wearhouse, J.C. Penney, Amazon, Harry & David and the Missouri Star Quilt Co.
Toma Provenza was promoted to senior financial planning analyst by Hawaiian Cookie Co. Toma has worked at Hawaiian Telcom, Amazon and the Vitamin Shoppe. Born and raised in Kyrgyzstan, Toma attended the University of Portland in Oregon and, after visiting Hawaii, decided to relocate to the islands after she graduation. She earned her master’s degree at Hawaii Pacific University.
The Northern Mariana Islands was recognized as one of the top 10 favorite semi-guided tour destinations for Chinese visitors by Tuniu, one of the top online travel agencies in China. According to Tuniu’s Outbound Tourism Consumption Report for the first half of 2018, the NMI ranked as the 8th most popular semi-guided travel destination in a field that includes Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. Chinese visitors comprised nearly 40% of visitors to the NMI this year, according to the Marianas Visitors Authority.
The Guam Visitors Bureau won the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Gold Award in the Marketing Media-Social Media Campaign category for its #instaGuam campaign. GVB also won a PATA Gold Award last year for its Shop Guam e-Festival mobile campaign. The award was presented in September at the PATA Gold Awards Luncheon and Presentation in Malaysia.
Matson Navigation Co. was rated the number one ocean carrier and received the Quest for Quality gold award by Logistics Management magazine and Peerless Research Group. The annual Quest for Quality Awards are based on a survey of qualified buyers of transportation and logistics services. In its 35th year, the survey drew 4,500 participants.
The United Airlines MileagePlus loyalty program received the Trazee Awards Favorite Frequent-Flyer award in September at the Global Business Travel Association convention in San Diego. The Trazee Awards are hosted by Trazee Travel, a publication created by FX Express Publications Inc. and Global Traveler.
The University of Guam inducted new executive and non-executive members into its 14th Staff Council. The role of the Staff Council is to support a positive and collaborative work environment for UOG staff members and to maintain and enhance communication between staff members and the University community. Council members serve for a term of two years.