Growing With The Changes

By Frank Tokioka II
Wednesday - May 10, 2006
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Hawaiian Properties employees (from left) Kevin Agena, Brad Hironaka, Stephanie Lange, Frank Tokioka II, Lily Narusawa and Richard Char
Hawaiian Properties employees (from left) Kevin
Agena, Brad Hironaka, Stephanie Lange, Frank
Tokioka II, Lily Narusawa and Richard Char

In a popular Zen story, a man asks a priest to write a good luck saying for his family. The priest writes, “Father dies. Son dies. Grandson dies.” The outraged man says to the priest, “I told you to write something good for my family and you wrote this!” The priest replies, “This is good! If your son dies before you die, this would grieve you greatly. If your grandson should die before you and your son, both of you would be heartbroken.”

In life we tend to expect things to remain the same and fail to see the changes that happen around us. But change is a part of nature as it is also a part of business.

During my schooling and work experiences, I learned the classical approach on how companies handle change. They sit down in a big room, prepare strategic plans, and hammer out budgets. I also learned another way of handling change. Some companies scrap strategic plans and budgets, and instead prize flexibility and responsiveness. They argue that successful companies are the ones that can react fastest to the changes in the business world.

My grandfather, Masayuki Tokioka, established National Mortgage & Finance Company, Ltd. in 1929. The company originally made business and personal loans to Asian immigrants to Hawaii who were not able to obtain conventional financing. His criteria were very generous in that he would make loans based primarily on character. He took pride in his company’s reputation of hard work, honesty and humility. While we’ve kept unchanged those values and ideals that form the soul of our corporation, we have adapted our operations to our constantly changing business environment.

As the decades went by, we started to acquire properties. A condo unit here and a condo unit there, and we soon had a small property management division. We decided to share our expertise in property management with customers and formed National Mortgage Real Estate Company.

We started with a few customers but have slowly grown. With our success we started venturing into different areas of property management. We started bidding for and managing city and HUD properties. We started managing more than 400 vacation rentals at the Ilikai in Waikiki. From our humble beginnings we have now grown to one of the largest residential property management companies in Hawaii, responsible for individual rentals, condominium projects, government housing and vacation rentals.

Now, 70 years after our founding as a mortgage and finance company, we are changing our property management name to Hawaiian Properties. This name better reflects our business and heritage - as we continue to grow and continue to be locally owned and locally focused. As the third generation involved in the family business, I strive to maintain the values and ideals that have kept this company strong through the many changes of the past. I try to instill flexibility and responsiveness to the changes we face today. And for the future, Hawaiian Properties will remain flexible as we embrace change.

Next Week: Susie Dennis, owner of Assist 2 Sell

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