Congratulations to these top-tier members of the business community for their long-standing contributions to our islands.
In the current economic climate, companies on Guam and in the Northern Mariana Islands are proud to show their success and longevity in serving the people of our islands. Guam Business Magazine presents a handful of outstanding companies that are doing business in Micronesia celebrating important milestones in 2022. Through inspiration and dedication, each of them has managed to stay on course in a region that has seen more than its fair share of challenges for decades.
These leaders in their fields have ensured quality and reliability to consumers and businesses alike and have given back to the communities in which they do business, setting an example for others to follow. Guam Business is privileged to honor these companies’ milestones and brings readers a special Corporate Anniversaries feature with a closer look at their endeavors.
Calvo’s Insurance Underwriters Inc.
A legacy of trust
Calvo’s Insurance Underwriters Inc. began with one man’s dream of providing insurance for the island of Guam’s residents. Eduardo “Jake” Torres Calvo took his entrepreneurial spirit and began the business on June 12, 1938, selling from his home after signing an agreement with American International Underwriters.
From that sole proprietorship, Calvo would grow a dynasty that prospered in business, devoted time to service in politics, and to the betterment of the island. He provided Cargo, Property & Casualty, and Automobile Insurance “and met the needs of the small Guam community,” Paul A. Calvo, his grandson says.
In 1940, Calvo opened Guam’s first insurance agency near the Plaza de Espana, and Hagatna has remained Calvo Insurance’s headquarters ever since. After World War II, the company grew and prospered.
Calvo said his father – Paul M. Calvo, and his late uncles Edward M. Calvo, Thomas J.M. “Jerry” Calvo, and Henry L. Schnabel were the driving force for decades until the millennium years.
Calvo’s SelectCare was launched in 2000 and in 2001 was offered for the first time to the Government of Guam. It has also served federal employees for 11 years through Federal Employees Health Benefits with the Office of Personnel Management, offering insurance to federal employees in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau, where it does business. Calvo’s also offers a popular Lifestyle Club loyalty program.
Eduardo Calvo was inducted as inaugural member of the Guam Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 1992. The Calvo family now reaches into the third and fourth generation. Paul A. Calvo is the company’s president and CEO. The management team also includes Raymond A. Martinez, executive vice president/director of operations; Raymond A. Schnabel, chief operating officer for Calvo’s SelectCare; Eduardo “Jake” Calvo, vice president; Paul Leon Guerrero, chief financial officer; and Frank Campillo, health plan administrator for Calvo’s SelectCare.
The company has grown to 130 employees in Guam, six in Saipan, two in Palau and 62 in the Philippines.
Residents throughout the islands know that Calvo’s is a steady and generous presence in the business community and underwritten by AIG since its inception and by Tokio Marine Pacific Insurance with SelectCare for more than 20 years. Calvo Enterprises Inc. – of which Paul A. Calvo as vice president of CEI – with it’s just announced planned purchase of Tokio Marine Pacific Insurance later in this year. “The acquisition of TMPI further solidifies our position as a trusted leader in the insurance industry and reinforces our dedication to providing tailored insurance solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” he said. “Over our 85 years of operation we believe we’ve earned the trust of the island communities in the Marianas and Palau,” Calvo says. “It is that most valuable community trust and our company sense of purpose which has given us our longevity and staying power over the years.”
Calvo’s has industry expertise in the swings of the insurance market. Despite the frequent onslaught of natural disasters, Calvo says his company has been consistent “in providing coverage for both the everyday consumer’s needs of Auto and Home Insurance, Medical Insurance and also for the hard to place high value Property risks or Specialty Casualty Risks.”
Aside from expanding its insurance product offerings and insurance staff to meet ever-growing needs, Calvo’s Insurance is at the service of its multiple clients. “We continue to focus on improvement to our service to customers,” Calvo says. “Our reputation includes paying medical claims fairly and promptly. We are known to provide coverage for high valued property and casualty risks in the historically high catastrophe area of Guam and the CNMI. That is no small accomplishment, especially in recent years.”
Guam has been beset by typhoons through the years and more than once Calvo’s Insurance has flown adjusters to Guam to speed up the claims process for its clients. Those disasters have ranged from numerous typhoons and heavy storms in the islands to the 1993 earthquake in Guam.
As Calvo’s Insurance celebrates 85 years of doing business, Calvo says, “On behalf of the employees, management, board members and shareholders of Calvo’s Insurance, I want to thank our island communities … for the trust which you’ve placed in us by allowing us to safeguard your family, homes, autos and businesses over the years.”
Supplying Guam with electronics for 55 years
In 1967, Tetsuo and Kimiko Kanazawa explored the possibility of expanding their audio and wholesale business beyond their native country of Japan, where they owned several successful stores — all located near U.S. military bases and catering to Americans eager for good quality Japanese brand audio equipment.
The Kanazawas selected Guam as their first overseas location and in April 1968 Micropac Audio opened on the corner of Marine Corps Drive and the Route 4 intersection. “To distinguish itself from competition on the island at the time, Micropac Audio focused on providing personal customer service, offering top brand products and having an available service center to repair their products — an approach that has carried the company through the past 55 years,” says Alfred J. Calinagan, retail store manager/service center manager.
Today, Micropac Inc. is the island’s largest electronics retailer, with a team of 28 employees. Its flagship store is in the KG Plaza in Tamuning, which is owned by Kanazawa Guam Inc., sister company of Micropac. Its two other locations are at the Micronesia Mall.
The executive team includes in Japan Saturo Kanazawa, CEO/president; Mamoru Otake, director/vice president and Yukio Matsushita, director/general manager. In Guam the executive team is comprised of Loy Macatugal, director/assistant general manager; Lydia Espinosa, senior accounting manager; Alfred Calinagan, retail store manager/service center manager; James George, assistant retail store manager; and Kenneth Roldan, Pro division manager.
Since 1968 the company has expanded its selection and inventory beyond electronic equipment, and audio equipment and now specializes in consumer and professional audio/video equipment, personal electronics, home and kitchen appliances, computers, office equipment and CCTV and system integration solutions with installation through its Pro division — which also offers professional audio/video products.
Micropac is an authorized distributor for renowned brands such as Bose, Yamaha, Xtreme, TOA, Maruson and Tiger. The retailer is also an authorized dealer for Sony, TP-Link, Mackie, Seiko, Asus, Hanwa, Uniview, TCL and MSI.
Micropac’s continued success is due to the creation of a culture of partnering with quality brands through the years and training staff members in product knowledge and solutions to better advise customers, as well as servicing products it sells. “We are still looking to grow and expand,” Calinagan says. “Micropac will continue to introduce more partner brands and solutions in the coming years to thrive and service customers in Guam and Micronesia.”
As a market leader, Micropac understands key trends in consumer electronics through its partners and as an essential part of its retail and commercial offerings. “Micropac Inc sees the growth in lifestyle and homeowner preferences, where the need for updated entertainment televisions and sound systems and the portability of headphones or speakers enables customers to enjoy their lifestyle wherever they are,” Calinagan says.
As the Micropac team reflects on its 55th anniversary and looks ahead, Calinagan says, “Micropac Inc. would like to sincerely thank everyone on Guam and in Micronesia for the trust and support and the many ways you have been with us.”
The management and employees — past and present, have also been part of Micropac’s success and growth through the decades, he says. “We would never have reached this milestone without you all.”
As the team looks to the future, Calinagan says, “We hope we can continue to grow and succeed in servicing Guam and Micronesia with more quality name brands, improved solutions, and offering more ways for our valued customers to access our solutions.”
Great National Insurance Underwriters
Fifty years of dedication to our clients
Great National Insurance Underwriters was founded by the late Domie Bumagat Sr. 50 years ago, after he worked in the industry as a life insurance agent. His hard work, dedication to his craft, managerial, business skills and vision opened new opportunities for him as the first general agent in Guam to represent Chung Kuo Insurance Co.
Great National started as a husband-and-wife team on Sept. 20,1973. The company grew slowly but surely and employed several loyal staff. “We currently maintain a staff of 36 that effectively handle our Production, Accounting, HR & Systems and Claims departments,” says Marilou Besagar, general manager.
Domie B. Bumagat Jr. leads the executive team as president and CEO. Aside from Besagar, other executives are Vilma L. Bumagat, HR & Systems manager; Wildemonte Ubay, AISI/Claims manager, Almina Bustos, production manager; and Irene Castro, accounting manager.
Besagar says the dedication of the Bumagats was its original success. “The personalized service rendered to clients and the treatment of them as part of our GNIU family assured them that we will be there when the need arises.”
Domie Bumagat Jr. took over the leadership of the company 25 years later and brought it to the next level when the use of computers in the issuance of policies, notices and billings was initiated. “The staff had to do away with their typewriters and had to learn to use the computer. We had to make sure that we lived up to our slogan at that time, which was to be more responsive and more innovative with the use of technology,” Besagar says.
“From typewriters to the big box computers to laptops and cellphones, now we are actively engaged with our clients via email, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram,” she says. “But we still look back to where we originally came from and our founder’s philosophy. We still consider the personal touch and our dedicated service to clients the most important way of servicing and keeping them, even after 50 years,” she says.
There are many ways that Great National leads the industry, Besagar says.
“Our ability to adapt to changes and look for new ways we can attend to the needs of our customers by building relationships with our competitors, which are also partners in this industry; the support from our carrier Chung Kuo Insurance, which has been there for us through all the catastrophes we had for the past 50 years and the everyday accidents/claims that we have to attend to and pay; the professional management team of GNIU, which are very much respected in this industry; our employees who represent all generations from baby boomers to Gen Z and are thus able to provide personalized service to our clients; the board of directors who remain committed to keep the legacy of their parents alive by ensuring GNIU thrives and is capable of meeting its challenges.”
Great National Insurance is also transforming the insurance industry in Guam. Besagar says, “With our commitment to customer convenience, we are the only agency open seven days a week, including holidays, at our Micronesia Mall branch location. But that’s not all. We have also developed a cutting-edge 24/7 cloud app, available in the Apple store and Google Play. This app allows our clients to access their accounts, make online payments, and perform other transactions anytime and anywhere with their mobile phones and desktop computer. With Great National Insurance, managing your insurance has never been easier.”
Great National offers many lines: Fire/Property, Homeowners, Automobile, General Liability, Workers Compensation, Crime, Bond and Life Insurance.
“Risk management services is something that we offer to clients,” Besagar says. “We conduct on-site inspections and give our clients our recommendations for prevention, mitigation or ways it can be an acceptable risk,” she says.
To the community, Besagar says “50 years is indeed a milestone for Great National Insurance and with all humility I say, ‘Thank you to all who have supported and believe in us all these years. We will not be here if not because of your trust in us.’ BIBA GREAT NATIONAL INSURANCE!”
Capturing that “Friday feeling” for 25 years
After much anticipation, TGI Friday’s opened its doors in Guam on Feb. 28, 1998. The iconic brand is a firm favorite on the island.
The restaurant was successful from the beginning, due to its now-famous menu.
Lerma Aquino, secretary and Guam business director; says “We take pride in making sure every guest leaves happy by sharing that ‘fun Fridays’ feeling. We pride ourselves on great service and great food.”
As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, TGI Friday’s has a dedicated team of 43 employees.
Its key executives are Daisuke Suzuki, president; Shoya Watanabe, vice president and Lerma Aquino, secretary and Guam business director.
TGI Friday’s legendary dishes include its fully loaded potato skins, burgers made from prime cuts, grilled steaks, chicken wings, and its fall off the bone ribs. The menu also offers signature alcoholic drinks and smoothies.
“We also take pride in our Annual Bartending Competition, where bartenders show their talents in flairing bottles, while making best signature drinks,” Aquino says. “They also compete within the Asia Pacific region and worldwide,” she says. “We are proud of our kitchen staff for preparing great-tasting food and the welcome you can feel from all of us sthe minute you walk through our door.”
The restaurant’s casual atmosphere and popularity for family dining continue to be a hallmark of TGI Friday’s.
Its staff are also an essential part of the restaurant’s growth and a popular place for Guam’s students to work. “We love to train fresh students and graduates,” Aquino says. “We even provide on-the-job training.”
That’s unique at TGI Friday’s. She says, “On the job training isn’t standard practice, but it can increase productivity and efficiency in specific industries. Not only that, it can benefit the company as a whole — from reducing training costs to creating more effective, motivated employees.”
Aquino says she is grateful for the outstanding support for TGI Friday’s in Guam. “Thank you for 25 years of Fun Fridays. Thank you for allowing us to serve you and serve the best drinks offered by our world champion bartenders.”