Message from Garret A. Masuda, P.E., ACEC Hawaii President

Greetings to our ACEC Hawaii member firms. It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the issuance of the first statewide stay-at-home order. As a result, daily life in Hawaii was upended as businesses and schools were closed, tens of thousands were laid off, and tourism all but stopped. Now with almost 20,000 daily arrivals from the U.S. Mainland, tourism in Waikiki is on the rise, about 1 in 4 residents on Oahu is vaccinated and the vaccine rollout is progressing at a rapid pace across the other islands as well. While state and local government officials are optimistic on the direction our state is headed, health experts stress that residents should still take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus since Hawaii is not yet out of the woods.

Locally, the 2021 Hawaii legislative session has been keeping our legislative committee busy tracking bills, submitting testimony and meeting with legislators (see ACECH Legislative Update newsletter for more information) and the Board of Directors (BOD) is continuing to work with the staff and committees to protect and promote your business interests. The BOD is also looking to build on the success of the Emerging Leaders Program by establishing a new Emerging Leaders Committee so be on the lookout for announcements regarding this matter in the near future. Nationally, ACEC continues to lobby our Senators and U.S. Representatives for their support in waiving the FAR credits clause for forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans. There are also ongoing discussions with United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) leadership on the Procedures for the Selection of Task Orders on Architect-Engineer Indefinite Delivery Contracts, also known as the Task Order Requirement Notification (TORN) process, to develop an alternative that better meets the needs of all parties involved.

Virtual meetings and events will be the norm for the remainder of the 2020-2021 fiscal year which ends in June. Our Annual Meeting and the 2021 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) are scheduled for April 15 and there will be an on-line auction going on that week to help raise monies to support our yearly Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising goals. If you have not already done so, please go to to view the outstanding engineering projects submitted by our member firms. Cast your vote for your favorite and attend EEA to see which project is recognized with the People’s Choice Award.

Last month’s general membership meeting (GMM) featured speaker was Mayor Blangiardi. At that meeting, our member firms were able to hear the Mayor’s plans and outlook for the city firsthand, meet several of his newly appointed directors and participate in candid discussions including a question-and-answer session. Upcoming GMMs include a presentation by USACE and an educational session on Bidding, Change Orders, & Claims from a Contractor’s Perspective. We are also working on putting together a special workshop to help address the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards that our member firms are now required to meet as part of their contracts with the Department of Defense (DOD). In addition to our local events, ACEC is conducting the 2021 Virtual Annual Convention and Legislative Summit from April 26 to April 28. The Annual Convention offers several roundtable discussions such as The New World: How COVID, Culture, and Climate are Transforming the Way We Run our Business where you can hear from CEOs about how they navigated through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. In addition, the Annual Convention offers numerous educational sessions such as Transitioning to a Remote Hybrid Firm, Risk Management Essentials of the New Normal, and Cybersecurity Certification: “CMMC is Here. Is your Firm Ready?”. Registration for the 2021 Virtual Annual Convention and Legislative Summit is still open so I encourage anyone who is interested to take advantage of this opportunity to access educational content, business resources, networking lounges, and a virtual Exhibit without having to leave your home or office.

Please feel free to reach out to me or any of our board members if you have any suggestions, requests or would like to be more involved in ACEC Hawaii and our committees.