Robots Rule At Pearlridge

By Fred Paine
Wednesday - June 13, 2007
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The Pearlridge crew (from left) Scott Creel, Fred Paine, Lurline Kawainui and Jessie Callahan
The Pearlridge crew (from left) Scott Creel, Fred Paine,
Lurline Kawainui and Jessie Callahan

You might not expect to hear about science, math and robotics from the general manager of a shopping center, but it’s fascinating stuff. A great deal of what I understand about the subjects comes from my background as an avid fly fisherman.

More about fly-fishing later, but science and math can be fun, even during a trip to your favorite mall.

Without science and math, robots would exist only in scifi novels or movies like Robots, the hit 20th Century Fox film that was fun for the whole family.

The film inspired “Robots: The Interactive Exhibition,” a showcase of hands-on, interactive displays and activities about real robots, that will also delight the community at Pearlridge Center from June 8 through Aug. 5. For instance, “Robot Explorers” is about building a robotic probe to explore underwater and outer space environments; you can control a mechanical arm in “Industrial Robots,” reflecting robotics in manufacturing; and “Robot Round-up” will show how robots can help with household chores. “Hall of Fame” highlights robots in TV and film.

The exhibit’s 15 features are brought to Oahu keiki by the merchants of Pearlridge, celebrating the 10th anniversary of our summer educational exhibits. “Robots” is coming at a perfect time, as increasing numbers of Hawaii school kids participate in robotics competitions - up to the national level. Students are now preparing for the state of Hawaii to host its first regional robotics competition, next year, under the FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology organization based in New Hampshire.

That New Hampshire reference brings me to fly-fishing.

I was managing a shopping center in Maryland in the late 1990s and conveniently for me and my hobby, the Gunpowder River was eight miles away. It was voted one of the country’s top 100 trout streams after years of restoration and stocking work by Trout Unlimited and the state of Maryland. It was a story that needed telling.

During this time, while visiting a friend in New Hampshire, we took our sons to the Montshire Museum of Science in Vermont, an interactive, hands-on science museum. Exhibits there taught about such things as the law of gravity, kinetic energy and natural habitats, in a very engaging way.

Also at this time, we were about to undertake a major renovation of my center in Maryland. I had an epiphany: Why can’t a shopping center, sometimes the focal point and gathering place of the community, enlighten its patrons with education-oriented “décor”?

Armed with information and pictures I approached the mall owners as to the feasibility of putting exhibits similar to the Montshire Museum inside my center to educate, inform and provide “different” entertainment to the public - and attract customers to the property.

This is why I’m so excited about “Robots,” which will be displayed in both Uptown and Downtown (center court areas at the mall).

This exhibit is a small personal dream realized for me through the tremendous efforts of our marketing team, Scott Creel, Lurline Kawainui and Jessie Callahan.

When I first visited Pearlridge before becoming general manager, I saw that the center’s major appeal is the community connection we have.

Come to Pearlridge and enjoy this excellent alternative form of entertainment and aloha!

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