University of Hawai‘i announces 2009 Governor's Award nominees

University of Hawaiʻi
Carolyn Tanaka, (808) 956-8109
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jul 28, 2009

HONOLULU, Hawaiʻi — The University of Hawaiʻi has nominated Brian Bushe of the Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Associate Vice President for Administrative Affairs Michael Unebasami and the team members of The Coral Relocation Team at UH Mānoa for the 2009 Governor‘s Awards.

Bushe was nominated for the Distinguished State Service award. For 25 years, he has been identifying insects and nematodes, and diagnosing plant diseases for the Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center in Hilo, a satellite clinic with the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Operating the one-person clinic, Bushe spends hundreds of hours identifying tolerance and resistance to chemical control in newly discovered disease organisms. He volunteers as a "plant doctor" at open houses, plant sales events, and other university and industry functions and also educates and recommends solutions to appreciative farmers, landscapers and home gardeners. Bushe is a model employee who discovers creative solutions to difficult problems through ingenuity and hard work.

With over 40 years of state service, including 37 years at the University of Hawaiʻi, Unebasami has been nominated for the State Manager of the Year award. As associate vice president for administrative affairs for the community college system, Unebasami manages a multi-million dollar budget and oversees every aspect in the smooth operation of seven community college campuses. The work environment that he has created in the community college system is one of integrity, trust and respect. He takes the time to talk and listen, to support and encourage, to keep employees informed and included and to make sure employees know how valuable they are to the organization. Unebasami is a formidable leader who inspires legions of employees to take pride in their work and to make a difference in the workplace.

The team members of The Coral Relocation Team, affiliated with the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, UH Mānoa, was nominated for the Team of the Year award. For the past five years, the collaborative team effort of Dr. Paul Jokiel, Dr. Kuulei Rodgers, James Lakey, and volunteer Fred Farrell; Marine Option Program students Eric Moennich and Louise Giuseffi; and U.S. Army representatives Major Scott Miller and Captain George Metroka has been to diligently work to restore the coral reef in Kāneʻohe Bay. The goals of the project were to remove large coral heads that had grown to the point of blocking the boat channel to the makai lagoon at Moku O Loʻe, and to relocate the coral heads to an adjacent reef that had been severely damaged during World War II. The coral heads could have been removed from the boat channel, broken up and left to die. However, the team chose to go through the lengthy permit process and labor-intensive removal and relocation of the coral heads to save and restore the coral reef ecosystem.

The three awards — Distinguished State Service, Manager of the Year and Team of the Year — are designed to honor the state‘s executive branch employees and managers who exemplify the highest caliber of public service and dedication to serving the people of Hawaiʻi. The nominees will be recognized at the Governor‘s Award Ceremony to be held in the fall.

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