A Concrete Connection

By Wade Wakayama
Wednesday - October 12, 2005
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The Ameron Hawaii ohana includes Rudy Botardo, Stefanie Moore, Judy Lau, Maria Galdiano, Brian Kahale and Wade Wakayama
The Ameron Hawaii ohana includes Rudy Botardo,
Stefanie Moore, Judy Lau, Maria Galdiano, Brian
Kahale and Wade Wakayama

In 1908, a Honolulu partnership between a retired sea captain, a quarry operator and three construction men emerged to provide construction materials and delivery by horse-drawn transportation. Eventually a moving and storage division was added along with ready-mix concrete, and the company met community needs on several fronts as HC&D.

A growing postwar Honolulu provided extensive expansion opportunities and requirements. HC&D’s Palolo and Moiliili quarry sites were returned to the community for residential use and an athletic complex at the University of Hawaii. HC&D then refocused on a single major business mission. A 416-acre parcel in Kapa’a Valley was developed to meet the need for rock and concrete for more than half of the construction planned well into the 21st century.

Through a merger, HC&D became Ameron Hawaii. As we approach 2008, our centennial year, the distinctive blue and white ready-mix trucks provide a daily reminder of our business contribution to community growth and beauty.

Nearly 300 Ameron families share in greater prosperity with increasing construction opportunities. Often the families include several generations enjoying many profitable decades in the Ameron Ohana.

Pride in our missions accomplished goes well past successful concrete pours. Ameron Hawaii has always been a community-active organization meeting unique responsibility challenges. Of course, we do sponsor youth groups and donate product to nonprofits, but as the community grows and faces new environmental and sustainability challenges, Ameron steps in.

Our precast products include septic tanks, replacing older environmentally insensitive cesspool systems. Of broader impact are grease separators, helping restaurants keep greases and oils out of sewage systems. Another division markets filtering devices to hold back residue of our streets and parking lots from exiting into the ocean. While now just beginning to meet Oahu’s needs, our hopes are to soon help keep the bulk of our island runoff as clean as possible.

In Windward Oahu, we’ve embarked on a project that will also be a major resource for our residents and visitors alike. Kawai Nui Marsh is located below our Kapa’a Quarry. The 800 acres have a rich history dating back to ancient Hawaii through the ahupua’a days. We bear responsibility to contain any runoff that can affect Kawai Nui Marsh and, through a concerted effort, do so. Once tabbed as a location for housing and a shopping center, the marsh benefits from decades-long efforts of several community organizations. They’ve fought to restore the marsh with protection as a wildlife refuge and develop it into a cultural and educational resource. Success includes gaining recognition for Kawai Nui, along with the adjacent Hamakua Marsh, as Wetlands of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention.

Ameron provides a forum for all of the involved organizations to function in concert under the umbrella of Ho’olaulima Ia Kawai Nui with an ambitious approach to develop interpretive plans and a center, plus other facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy in the near future.

Together, the organizations developed a mission statement: To foster public awareness and understanding of the natural, cultural and scenic resources for Kawai Nui Marsh and environs to ensure the long-term protections, restoration and stewardship of the area.

In the last year, we’ve faced challenges of rising costs and an effort to utilize Kapa’a Quarry as a landfill. That’s often how it is in business, but having the opportunity to build our neighborhoods while supporting a community resource such as Kawai Nui Marsh may be the most satisfying part of the job.

Next week: Erica Neves, Ala Moana Center

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