Barry Taniguchi was the chairman and CEO of KTA Superstores
on the Big Island. He cared greatly for the community. He was a board member on several nonprofit organizations in the state and created community funds and endowments to support community-based programs. In 2016 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Hawai‘i Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.
Mr. Taniguchi was a strong supporter of the University of Hawai‘i and its programs. He established the Taniguchi Memorial Fund and started UH Hilo’s first faculty endowments. In addition to graduating from Hilo High School he attended UH Hilo and UH Mānoa and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in accounting. He worked at several businesses in Hawai‘i but returned to KTA Superstores in 1983 and became president and CEO in 1989.
Mr. Taniguchi’s leadership skills set him apart, with a focus on keeping connections to the community and leading by example. In a 2010 article in Hawai‘i Business Magazine, Taniguchi discussed his idea of local-style leadership, where he described it as having “empathy, compassion, understanding, [and] putting yourself in the other person’s shoes” and added “Another thing is, you can’t fake local-style leadership. It has to come from within. The desire to want to help others and really nurture and take care of them has to come from the heart, or people will know you’re shibai.”
He was a strong believer in treating others as you wanted to be treated and in the value of being a good communicator. In a 2011 panel discussion at Shidler College he shared that “communication is a skill you need no matter what you do and that people cannot read your mind.” He emphasized the importance of getting people to understand why you do things, even if they do not agree.
Mr. Taniguchi’s attention to communication, community support, and leadership are in line with the 4-H mission to assist young people in developing life skills such as leadership, decision-making, and public-speaking and in forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of society. Leading by example, Mr. Taniguchi has provided an exceptional model of how to be successful in both business and life.