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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 20, 2006

Marriott stresses support for state

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writer


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Marriott International is not only in the business of hosting visitors in Hawai'i, but is also committed to supporting local residents and the community.

That's the message Marriott's new Hawai'i executive, Ed Hubennette, emphasized in an interview yesterday.

Hubennette, who became Marriott's area vice president overseeing Japan, Hawai'i and the South Pacific in March, said he was concerned by a recent Hawai'i Tourism Authority-sponsored survey that found most Hawai'i residents felt their islands are being run for tourists at the expense of local people. He felt Marriott needed to better communicate what the company does to support the local community.

"We realize we've got to be an integral part of the community," said Hubennette, who was general manager of the Hyatt Hotel Waikiki in the late '80s. "The people who work for us are our most important asset. And they live here and they drive to work everyday and they ride the bus everyday and their families go to school here. So we've got a responsibility in every city that we're in, whether it be Bangkok or Jakarta or Honolulu, to really be active and supportive."

Marriott, which has 13 hotel and time-share properties in Hawai'i and employs 5,600 people in the Islands, has contributed $1.5 million in cash and in-kind donations to community efforts last year, Hubennette said. Employees also donated 8,000 hours of volunteer work last year to community projects such as Habitat for Humanity, he said.

Specific areas Marriott supports include literacy efforts the company raised $110,000 last year for The Friends of the Library of Hawai'i as well as the Hawaii Foodbank and Children's Miracle Network.

Marriott executives also mentor local college students, he said.

Hubennette, who was previously based in Hong Kong, took over Hawai'i and Japan operations from Stan Brown. Brown was promoted to oversee company operations in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Korea.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com.