Wednesday - April 01, 2009
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By Ka’eo Gouveia
General Manager and CEO for Ho’ala Landscape & Maintenance
When Mokulua Contracting approached me to join its full-service grounds and building maintenance company at Ko Olina Resort, I was managing a busy Waikiki restaurant, overseeing everything from staffing to purchasing. Sure, Mokulua’s business wasn’t new to me. My father had directed a landscaping and maintenance division for many years, but I’d never thought about following in his footsteps. One thing I’ve always thought about, however, is building and growing a business.
I jumped at the opportunity. Today, Mokulua has entrusted me to expand our services from our Ko Olina base through a new operating company, Ho’ala Landscape & Maintenance. Ho’ala offers Oahu condominiums, commercial buildings and community associations a one-stop shop for all their property maintenance needs. Our comprehensive line of services includes grounds maintenance, landscape design and installation, building maintenance and housekeeping services.
How can I keep that trust and expand our client base in a very competitive environment? By building on three basic principles: accountability, honesty and partnership.
At Ho’ala, all our employees understand that accountability does not begin and end with a manager telling an employee what to do. It is a team effort and we are all equally accountable to our clients, our fellow team-mates and ourselves.
Honesty is a very important part of our client relationships. In this economy, clients want to achieve resort-like aesthetics with limited dollars. When we meet with current and potential customers, we always tell the truth. We give them a realistic assessment of what we can do within their budget so they are in control and there are no false expectations. Then we manage our work so we can perform our best work as efficiently as possible.
We don’t look at ourselves just as a contractor, but as relationship specialists who aim to develop strong, lasting bonds with our customers. We strive to lift property and grounds maintenance concerns off our customers’ shoulders so they can do what they do best. We become, essentially, an extension of our clients’ companies and we’re there for the long haul. With that attitude, our customers know we’ll get the job done professionally and effectively.
In my five years in the restaurant field, I learned that what I really enjoyed most was the operations part of running a business. During the first few months on the helm of Ho’ala Landscape & Maintenance, I concentrated on developing and implementing controls, policies and procedures to get ourselves ready for growth. It helps that we have the resources of our parent company, Jacobsen Labor Services, which is among the top building and landscape contractors in the state. We also have our own nursery to support our landscaping projects.
Our staff has beautified and maintained more than a dozen Ko Olina Resort residential subdivisions, real estate and property rental offices, and the Ko Olina Community Association. Now we’re ready to offer our services to the entire island. We’re set and ready to grow.
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