The following executives were nominated this year for Guam Business Magazine’s Executive of the Year. We are proud to recognize these individuals, who have made an impact on their colleagues, companies and community through notable achievements in their businesses and institutions.
By Guam Business Staff
Ernesto V. “Jun” Espaldon Jr., is president of Quick Services Foods Inc. and Fun Foods International Inc. which have done business as Wendy’s and Cold Stone Creamery franchises respectively from 2004 and 2007.
Wendy’s Guam manages five drive-thru/dine-in stores with more than 200 employees, including a location on the U.S. Naval Base. The Guam franchise has more than doubled the number of restaurants and tripled average annual sales since inception.
The two Cold Stone Creamery stores in Guam have more than 30 employees. Cold Stone Guam opened to record grand opening sales for the entire Cold Stone Creamery brand.
While both brands have expanded, both Wendy’s and Cold Stone Creamery are recognized for exceptionally low employee attrition by industry standards. The companies have a strong track record for hiring disadvantaged, new immigrant groups, offering them opportunities for advancement.
The companies committed to a policy of no furloughs or layoffs throughout the height of
the COVID pandemic and a conscious commitment to keep prices affordable.
Among Espaldon’s previous career appointments are vice president of development for Straub Development Corp. for Honolulu and Guam, managing the business development of health care projects in the Western Pacific, including a 40-person physician’s group, a rotating specialist program, an independent physician’s network and new departments and clinics.
Prior to that, he was director of development for OOG Credit Transaction Services Corp. — Guam’s first locally owned Guam based credit/debit card for use at all gas stations in Guam, where he oversaw merchant network relations and spearheaded marketing program to increase membership.
Wendy’s Guam won International Franchise of the Year in 2015 and the Wendy Award in 2014 – two of the most prestigious awards of the Wendy’s franchise and in multiple years has been recognized with the Golden Grill Awards for best value and service, and for top sales and top transactions.
In addition to receiving awards as top stores in the world, Cold Stone Creamery Guam won Cold Stone Creamery’s Brand Ambassador Award in 2016, presented to a franchisee who serves as a role model and impacts other franchisees based on brand standards, values and performance. Cold Stone Creamery has been recognized in the top sales tier, for top ice cream cake awards and is a multiple year awardee for the Golden Spade award for excellence in all facets of store operations.
Among community organizations that the franchises support are Harvest House, PBS, the Special Olympics, the University of Guam Endowment Foundation, the Filipino Sports Association of Guam, the Island Sports Association, various churches and mayor’s offices, and numerous private medical fundraisers.
Espaldon holds a 1991 bachelor’s of science from the University of San Francisco and a 1999 master’s of management from the Asia Institute of Management in Manila. He has also undertaken a variety of leadership training with Wendy’s and Cold Stone Creamery.
His personal contributions include serving on the Wendy’s International Marketing Council – the top international marketing advisory group for the company. Since 2018 he has been a member of the board of the Guam Economic Development Authority – currently as vice chairman of the board and chairman of the Investments Committee and is a past secretary of the board. Espaldon is also vice chairman of the board of St. John’s School.
Past service includes as a founding member of the board of the Guam Health Care & Hospital Development Foundation, which resulted in the Guam Regional Medical City and finance officer of Inafa’ Maolek conciliation services and served as coordinator for the Guam Balikbayan medical missions to the Philippines and a volunteer for the Aloha Medical Missions.
Espaldon is a knighted member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
He is married to Sumiko Espaldon and their children are Caleb and Alexa.
Herbert J. Johnston Jr. has been the education director of the GCA Trades Academy since 2006.
He not only oversaw the establishment of the academy, but also oversaw the building of the academy’s new Tiyan training facility, also securing grants for it and maintaining training during the move.
Among his varied accomplishments at the trades academy, Johnston has registered more than 30,000 modules of training; obtained and administered more than $4.6 million in federal grant funds for equipment, training and capital improvements; assisted in establishing training units in Saipan, Palau, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Majuro; partnered with the Rotary Club of Guam to provide training for individuals with financial needs; assisted in establishing an NCCER training unit with the U.S. Department of Defence Civil Action Team; established and administered an NCCER National Craft Assessment & Certification program to provide journey-level assessments for local construction workers; and established a construction training program at the Guam Department of Corrections.
Johnston has also lectured at the University of Phoenix and the University of Guam.
Previously, Johnston was the general manager of the Guam Waterworks Authority, and his career in public service at GWA included assistant general manager, planner and training officer. He also taught at Piti Middle School and was an adaptive aquatic teacher for the Guam Department of Education. Prior career appointments include corporate personnel manager at MV Pangilinan Enterprises, where he also was operations and merchandise manager.
He is also the founding president of the Guam Association for Career & Technical Education, serves as the vice chairperson of BankPacific, the vice chairperson of BankPacific Financial Holding Co., the treasurer of Marianas Finance Corp., a director of the Guam Girl Scout Council, and founding president of the George Washington High School Class of 1973 Reunion Committee.
Johnston is certified by Associated Builders & Contractors as an education professional, as a master trainer by the National Center for Construction Education & Research and as a craft assessment and certification administrator by the NCCER.
His recognitions include the University of Phoenix Asia Military Campus 2015 Faculty of the Year and the 2000 Governor’s Synergy Award.
Johnston holds a 1979 bachelor’s of arts in elementary education from the University of Guam, a 1992 master’s of pubic administration from UOG and a 2007 doctorate of public administration from the University of Phoenix.
The GCA Trades Academy — itself a non-profit — supports the Guam Contractors Association’s Pizza, Pop and Power Tools, the Guam Police Department’s Project U, Westcare’s Spark program the U.S. Department of Defence’s Palau Civic Action Team, the Guam Association for Career & Technical Education’s career events and the Northern Mariana Technical Institute’s NCCER programs.
Johnston is married to Ramona S.N. Johnston and their children are Derek and Hana.
Thomas W. Krise is president of the University of Guam, chairman of the Research Corp. of UOG and executive secretary of the UOG Endowment Foundation. He is also a professor of English at UOG.
As such, he is CEO of the public, flagship, Land-Grant University categorized by Carnegie as a Master’s Medium University with 3,500 students, which serves communities of more than 500,000 people in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. Krise also serves as executive secretary of the UOG Board of Regents; secretary of the Board of Directors of the UOG Endowment Foundation; and chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Research Corp. of the University of Guam.
He co-chairs with the Governor of Guam the Guam Green Growth Initiative and is vice chairman of the Guam Council on Climate Change Preparedness & Resiliency, is a member of the Guam chapter of Skål International and a member of the Micronesian Chefs Association.
Krise is responsible for an annual budget of $103 million; land-grant and internal endowments of $31 million; a 501(c)(3) foundation endowment of $13 million, and annual federal research funding of $17 million. He has oversight of UOG’s 1,131 personnel including faculty, who oversee 25 majors, nine minors, and 11 master’s programs.
Krise led the strategic planning process, resulting in Para Hulo’ (Ever Upward) 2019-2024, which aims to elevate UOG’s Carnegie classification to Doctoral Professional University status and secure the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, he secured approval for the bachelor’s in civil engineering which has seen its first 12 graduates, secured a USDA loan of $21.7 million to build the School of Engineering building and the Student Success Center and $8.6 million from the USEDA to build the Water & Environmental Research Institute and the Nursing Annex. He further established the Inadahi yan Inagofli’e’ Equity and Inclusion Council and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and seen that UOG was designated a Military Friendly School, earning a Silver Award for program quality, secured first-ever U.S. News College Guide listing, earning a place on the “Best Colleges for Social Mobility” listing and seen UOG win the AASCU Excellence and Innovation Award for the Guam Green Growth (G3) Initiative, 2021; as well as 18 awards for web design, reports, publications, and strategic planning.
Krise formerly was president emeritus of the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., since 2017; previously serving as president/CEO since 2012, overseeing an operating budget of $130 million and an endowment of $94 million.
Other career highlights include college dean, College of the Pacific, University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif., department chair, Department of English, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla., and institute director, Air Force Humanities Institute, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Among the numerous offices that UOG supports are the Guam Department of Health and Social Services, the Guam Public Library, the Guam National Guard, the Guam Museum, the Department of Agriculture, the ServGuam Commission, Joint Region Marianas, the Guam Waterworks Authority, the CHamoru language commission, Guam Community College, the Guam Department of Education and Guam Memorial Hospital.
His military career from 1983 to 2005 saw Krise retire as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force, where he was among other titles a senior missile operations officer.
Krise holds a 1983 bachelor’s of science in western European history from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a 1986 master’s in human resource management from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., a 1989 master’s in English language and literature from the University of Minnesota, Minn. and a 1985 doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Chicago.
A Fulbright Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Krise served as faculty senate president, founding president of the Early Caribbean Society, is a past president of the Society of Early Americanists and author/editor of numerous publications. His honors include the title of “President Emeritus” from the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma and the establishment of the “Patricia L. & Thomas W. Krise Award for Diversity and Justice & Sustainability” at the Pacific Lutheran University, the Student Advocate Award by the Division of Student Life at the University of the Pacific, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Kris is married to Patricia L. Krise.
Dr. Hoa V. Nguyen is principal partner and president of the American Medical Center LLC.
Since its opening in 2005, the AMC group has expanded from one location to three on Guam, expanding from Tamuning to a purpose-built clinic in Mangilao in 2015, and subsequently opening a third clinic in Oka in 2019, close to Guam Memorial Hospital. The third location is for specialty services such as endocrinology, pulmonology and surgery and also serves as a Medicare clinic.
In addition, since 1998 Nguyen has served as emergency room physician at Guam Memorial Hospital, where he provides primary and emergency medical care that includes advanced cardiac life support, and advanced trauma life support. From 2011 to 2013, Nguyen served as chief of the medical staff at GMH.
Nguyen achieved the rank of lt. colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served as state air surgeon for the Guam Air National Guard.
From 1999 to 2005 he was appointed family practice physician for the PMC Isla Health System.
From 1995 to 1999 he was chief of the Aerospace Medicine Flight for the 36th Medical Group at Andersen, where he supervised more than 40 personnel involved with the daily operations of the Flight Medicine Clinic, the Public Health Office, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Optometry, and the Base Health and Wellness Center, as well as a variety of other management and response duties that included participation in search and rescue recovery missions for the Micronesia islands and surrounding areas and support of Space Shuttle operations as a transoceanic emergency-landing site.
Nguyen also saw appointments in his medical career as ambulatory care physician at Pacific Care Medical Center and as a family practice physician at the Continental Micronesia Clinic.
His first professional appointment was in 1985 working as a computer engineer for The Analytic Science Corp., designing the Global Positioning System at the initial stage, with only six satellites at that time.
Past personal community service includes as chairman of the Governor’s Physician Advisory Group and as a member of the Government of Guam’s Emergency Medical System Commission, where he represented the Air Force in coordinating the island wide Emergency Medical Response.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, Nguyen and the AMC team worked with leadership throughout the community including hospitals, school nurses and the Guam National Guard to provide outreach for free testing and immunization at schools, village community centers, gyms, and underserved subdivisions from its mobile van, often working after hours and on Sunday, also working with community leadership of the Federated States of Micronesia to provide care to that community.
American Medical Center made necessary changes to its medical practice from the first case of COVID in March 2020 to provide triage and outpatient treatments for any sick patients, regardless of the ability to pay and remained open to serve the community.
Nguyen has headed multiple medical missions to underserved areas of the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand in conjunction with the Guam Medical Association and has also deployed rapid response teams to disaster areas such as post typhoon in the Philippines. All medications are provided by American Medical Center as part of its community service.
American Medical Center supports Guam Memorial Hospital and Guam Regional Medical City in all medical outreach and specialty support from its physicians. It supports Catholic Social Services, the Guam Chapter of the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life, and the GMH Volunteers Association. American Medical Center works with universities throughout the United States to provide rotations of medical students and residents in its multi-specialty practice.
Nguyen holds a 1985 bachelor’s of science in system science engineering from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla., a 1992 doctorate of medicine from Eglin Air Force Base Regional Medical Center and served his post-doctoral residency from 1992 to 1995 at the Eglin Air Force Base Family Practice.
He is certified in pediatric advanced life support, advanced cardiac life support, advanced trauma life support and advanced life support in obstetrics. He is a medical review officer and a diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice.
Nguyen is married to Minh-Ha Chu Nguyen and their children are their daughter Bao-Thanh Lauren Thi Nguyen, and their son, Vinh Van Nguyen.
Hanseok “Nick” Song is President of Haevichi Hospitality Guam Inc., which does business as the Westin Resort Guam and general manager of the Westin.
He has more than 20 years in the hotel industry, having worked his way up in from January 2001.
Song was appointed as general manager of the Westin in December 2019, where he is responsible for strategic planning and policy and supervision of group dynamics and his executive committee. Additional responsibilities include all aspects of management, including development of the variety of guest accounts and a variety of promotional and other travel.
Song arrived in Guam a scant few months before the onset of the pandemic in Guam at a time when the hospitality industry became sorely tested.
He was promoted to president of Haevichi in Guam in January. In announcing his elevation, Haevichi said Song “led his team with resiliency amidst the global impact of the pandemic. During the past two years under his leadership, The Westin Resort Guam completed renovations of all hotel guest rooms and Club Lounge, revitalization of the “heart of the house” areas including the associate cafeteria and various hotel facilities such as the lobby and restaurants, as well as the recent acquisition of the Issin Japanese Restaurant to add to the hotel’s food and beverage offerings. In line with Marriott’s Spirit to Serve program, Nick has encouraged the Westin Resort Guam to participate in community service efforts. During the height of the pandemic, the hotel launched the “Westin Guam Cares” initiative, which focused on giving back to the community and protecting associates.
In addition, Westin retained more than 50% of its workforce — hosting the island’s first job fair, remained open throughout the pandemic and provided accommodation to the USS Roosevelt.
Prior to his appointment at the Westin, Song was the hotel manager of Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway, in British Columbia in Canada for three years and formerly the executive assistant manager at the Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel. His upward trajectory began with his appointment as director of rooms at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Luxury Collection in Bangkok in August 2012, having previously served as front office manager at the Park Hyatt Seoul from 2005. He was identified in 2012 for Starwood’s executive assistant manager/hotel manager track.
Song is a director of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association, a member of SKAL Guam. He previously was a full member of Les Clef d’Or Korea and in 2013 received the Starwood Asia Pacific Exceptional Leader Award.
Westin’s support for the community includes the Salvation Army, the Healing Hearts Crisis Center, Lupus Awareness of Guam, theSpecial Olympics, and Guam Homeless Coalition
Amid the pandemic, the hotel spearheaded the Westin Guam Cares initiative, through which it provided much needed supplies and donated food to our medical community and first responders, participated in food drives, and expressed its appreciation to its own associates.
After initially studying business and economics at Kun-Kuk University in Korea and serving in the military for 26 months, Song pivoted to the Community College of Southern Nevada to study tourism and convention management. He holds a 2002 bachelor’s of arts from the College of Hotel Administration of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. His first position in hospitality was as a bell attendant.
Song is married to Hayan Lee Song and their children are Aaron H. Song and Jacob H. Song.