Grant Chun set to take helm
Alexander & Baldwin Properties Vice President Grant Chun has been chosen to succeed Roy Katsuda as executive director of Hale Mahaolu, the nonprofit confirmed Thursday.
Chun will take over after Katsuda retires Oct. 31, following 35 years on the job.
“I grew up just blocks away from their facilities in Kahului, so I’m very familiar with their work and with the people they serve,” Chun said Thursday. “And I just really have always admired the aloha that seems to permeate that organization, the way they treat people . . . . I thought that it would be a great chance for me to contribute to that.”
A 1979 Maui High School graduate, Chun has worked as an attorney, served on the boards of numerous nonprofits and has also been the
Maui County managing director. That wide range of experiences in the Maui community convinced Hale Mahaolu to hire Chun.
“Grant seemed to stand out because of his overall reach into the community and his background,” said Ed Reinhardt, president of Hale Mahaolu’s board of directors. “He’s a local boy, and that kind of fit that profile of what we were looking for.”
Hale Mahaolu is a private, nonprofit housing corporation that develops, owns and manages low- and moderate-income housing units for families, seniors and those with disabilities, according to its website. Under Katsuda, the organization has gone from managing 300 to 400 units at two sites to more than 1,000 units at 13 different sites on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
At the end of 2016, Katsuda informed the board of his plans to retire. An executive search committee made up of Katsuda and representatives from Inkinen & Associates spent the next several months searching for and vetting candidates. Katsuda said they received 21 applications, and that the finalists were all Maui residents. The group recommended Chun to the board, which made the ultimate decision to hire him.
“He’s certainly bright and experienced and knowledgeable, and has good connections within the community,” Katsuda said. “I think he just has the right temperament.”
Chun has been vice president at A&B Properties since 2003. Before that, he was the county managing director under Mayor James “Kimo” Apana from 1999 to 2002. A graduate of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, Chun was also an attorney in the late 1980s and ‘90s with the Maui offices of Case & Lynch and Carlsmith Ball.
He has been or is currently on the board of directors for nearly 20 different organizations, including Wailuku Hongwanji Mission, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Iao School Foundation, Hale Makua and the A&B Foundation.
Chun said that his last day at A&B will likely be in mid-December.
“Here at A&B Properties, the work here has given me a lot of exposure to the kind of work required to build housing,” he said. “In some ways, I feel almost like I’ve inadvertently been training to do the kind of work that is what Hale Mahaolu does.”
Chun said he hadn’t thought about applying, but that some Hale Mahaolu employees and Kathryn Inkinen asked him whether he’d be interested.
“The more I thought about it, the more I kind of came to feel like what they do is more like a mission and a calling than a job,” Chun said. “And that really became enticing.”
The A&B executive said he that he doesn’t have any specific plans for the nonprofit. He said he would first take his cues from the board of directors.
“In a small community like Maui County, to do what they’ve done is just remarkable,” Chun said. “So I feel like before I start throwing out grand visions, I’m going to definitely meet with (the board) and understand where the board sees the organization evolving over the next time frame.”
Katsuda said Hale Mahaolu already has “several irons in the fire, but the land hasn’t been secured yet.” Future plans could include housing in Maui Lani and an adult day care facility in Hana. In July, the nonprofit broke ground on the 61unit Hale Mahaolu Ewalu in Kulamalu. And, the first occupants of the 56-unit Kulamalu Hale will move in today. The project is owned by the county and managed by Hale Mahaolu.
Katsuda said that he and his wife have already bought tickets to visit their three-week-old grandson in Japan, just the kind of family time he’d hoped to have in retirement.
“Hale Mahaolu’s been a part of our lives for the past 35¢ years,” Katsuda said. “I started this just to help out a friend for six months, and I didn’t realize that I was going to enjoy it, and I didn’t realize that we would morph the organization. From where we started to now, it’s a very different organization, and as a result it’s been fulfilling.”