Editor’s note: Companies participating in this year’s Top Companies survey were asked what they have learned throughout 2021. The following are responses from some of the head executives.
“GFS consolidated revenues fell approximately 14%, largely due to our restaurant division. We do not anticipate 2021 or 2022 revenues improving. In fact, if we were looking at our crystal ball, we feel that it could take at least 24 months or into mid-2023 before Guam and Micronesia business and tourism begin to improve.”
President of business development
We have learned that the restrictions imposed by the pandemic will continue to impact the day-to-day operations, and in order to not delay our clients ongoing projects, we have to provide more training to our team, as bringing outside consultants is not as easy as it was in the past.”
“Though the pandemic caused a great disruption to the island community, nearly $3 billion in federal pandemic assistance over the past two years stabilized what could have been a major societal upheaval. Unemployment assistance and increased food stamp disbursements, combined with hotel, restaurants, school closures and government lockdowns caused consumers to spend more time cooking at home. Wholesale operations saw increases in mom-and-pop stores’ volume in Guam, and expanded markets outside of Guam, particularly in military sales.
“Fortunately for federal rental assistance programs, the vast majority of our commercial and residential tenants were able to continue to keep current on their rental payments.”
Edward J.B. Calvo
PMC Investments Inc.
“No doubt it’s been a challenging year for everyone, dealing with life through a pandemic. So, we learned to focus on keeping employees’ safety and well-being at the top of your priority list.”
President and CEO
“As businesses, we’ve seen first-hand the impact this pandemic has had on our communities. We’ve struggled to find ways to continue to provide the services our customers rely on and maintain the experiences they need and deserve. We’ve felt the hardships endured by each of our employees and their families. We see it in their eyes and the worry that carries through to the work they do. For those of us granted the privilege to serve our people, we must work together — not just as employers, but as leaders, mentors, friends, neighbors and above all, as familia to do more and to be better.”
Joaquin PLG Cook
President and CEO
Bank of Guam
“COVID-19 presents many challenges to our business; however, over our 50-year history, PDS has developed a unique ability to evolve and adapt to survive and thrive under unique situations. We have used these skills to continue PDS operations and find new opportunities in the midst of the chaos that COVID-19 has wrought in the areas where we operate.”
President and COO
Pacific Data Systems Inc.
“The past year has been challenging; given the global pandemic situation and as an essential business serving the community, we needed to maintain a reliable supply of our quality fuel to our customers. The key was to continuously adapt to the changing environment to implement changes necessary to keep our employees, service station personnel, contractors and our customers safe.”
Jimmy T.C. Hau
Mobil Oil Guam Inc.
“We’ve seen that even as things seem to progress, there are still challenges presented as guidelines, the state of community health and consumer expectations continually evolve. We are focused on remaining proactive so that we are prepared to adapt to changes as quickly and reasonably possible. The pandemic has been a huge opportunity to truly live up to our philosophy as a credit union and our values as an organization. From what we do as an employer to care for and support our employees to what we do as a financial institution to serve our members and community – we thrive on helping people and remain committed to service excellence.”
Gener F. Deliquina
Coast360 Federal Credit Union
“Pandemic-induced market uncertainty necessitated a degree of management agility and creativity that was immensely more complex than any of us would have imagined.”
Benjamin H. Ferguson
Pacific Islands Club Guam
“Human beings and nature are always connected. We humbly need each other to sustain a happy and healthy life.”
Ho S. Eun
Core Tech International Corp.
“We learned that a company needs plans for bad-case scenarios so that they have solutions from which to draw and to update the plans periodically.”
Charles B. Hazzard III
DZSP 21 LLC
“The safety and well-being of our employees and customers remains paramount, especially recognizing that the virus will likely be here for a while. Although we can adapt and adjust to numerous market disruptors, we cannot succeed without a healthy and engaged workforce. It’s important our people know they come first, in order to deliver the quality of service that our customers deserve.”
Wendi J. Herring
Atkins Kroll Inc
“Bank of Hawaii has a longstanding commitment to our consumers, businesses and the communities we serve. One of the biggest lessons learned for any business over the past year is to stay flexible in times of uncertainty. This is true for our organization, where we have been able to readjust and pivot in response to the unexpected. For example, this year we have offered new digital conveniences to the West Pacific region and have supported the needs of the community, such as volunteering at vaccination sites.”
Peter S. Ho
Chairman, president and CEO
Bank of Hawaii
“The pandemic has been a long haul for everyone — and it’s not over yet. This made us realize that in order to survive, we have to get back to basics. We’ve learned that our roles, at every level, and in all companies is to get focused, reframe reality, visualize our future and focus on the bigger picture.”
Ramona Lea Jones
Jones & Guerrero Co. Inc.
“We learned that the business community and the government are not in charge of the economy. It is still, and always will be, Mother Nature. The lesson learned is that we should put away some financial reserves monthly, to bridge through these crises as they will continue to come to us in forms never expected, over our life span. So be prepared or plan your exit from business.”
Robert H. Jones
Chairman and CEO
Triple J Enterprises Inc.
“Black Construction has been blessed to continue operations since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is our organization’s primary focus to maintain a safe, healthy working environment for our employees, as they play an integral part in the success of the Black Group of Companies.”
Leonard K. Kaae
Senior vice president and general manager
Black Construction Corp.
“Because of the worker issues caused by the pandemic, we’ve reconfirmed the value and necessity of maintaining a loyal, dedicated and involved staff.”
Joseph “Jerry” Kramer
President and CEO
Pacific International Inc.
“There were so many lessons and learnings that the business experienced throughout the year, but the most significant ones were the importance of being prepared to withstand shocks to the business, having the agility to adapt key business processes to new circumstances, and having a well-resourced crisis management team with the appropriate authorities to do the right thing at the right time. Not everyone responded the same way to life’s uncertainties as a result of COVID-19. This gave new meaning to the need to maintain safe and healthy environments at work and at home, which ensured we’d be able to cope and adapt to new norms.”
Jared C. Morris
Vital FSM Petroleum Corp.
“In that last year what has become more apparent is that a healthy economy is inextricably tied to a healthy community — the worldwide pandemic and our communities’ ability to respond to it will have a lasting impact for years to come.”
Derrick Muna Quinata
Monster Auto Corp.
“We learned that helping our customers make smart, long-term decisions before the pandemic has made a big difference in allowing them to absorb the unexpected changes of today and build a better future for tomorrow.”
ANZ Guam, Inc. and
Regional country head
ANZ American Territories
“Over the past year, our partners experienced changes to their operations that required us to adapt quicky to meet their needs.”
Frank S.N. Shimizu
President and CEO
“Our inability to travel during the last year has allowed us to maximize productivity without travelling by using the new technology, but it has also shown us how important it is to visit the field operations and see what is happening on the ground.”
Smithbridge Guam Inc.
“2020 was a year that all businesses were challeged due to COVID and the after effects. As private work slowed, Pacific Rim shifted its focus to military work on Guam. Now we are better prepared to grow as a group of companies by constructing projects both inside and outside the gate. It was not a good year financially, but as things slowed down, we began seeking other opportunities to diversify, which are materializing in 2021.”
Keith J. Stewart
Pacific Rim Constructors Inc.
“It is important to remain focused and adapt to the situation.”
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
“As an essential business, First Hawaiian Bank remained open through the pandemic while always having the employees’ and customers’ health and safety as a priority. We quickly leveraged technologies to make it easier for customers to stay connected and helped customers adapt to using digital platforms like FHB online, FHB mobile banking, remote deposits and contactless credit cards.”
Edward G. Untalan
Executive vice president; Guam and Northern Mariana Islands region manager; and Maite banking center manager
First Hawaiian Bank