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Remembering Dorvin Leis

July 16, 2015

Dorvin and Betty Leis

An Entrepreneur is Born

On June 16, 2015, Dorvin Duane Leis passed away at home in Kīhei, Hawai‘i after a long and hard five year battle with cancer. Dorvin's values, work ethic, and generosity will truly be missed by his family and all the communities he supported.

Dorvin grew up in Riverside, California the eldest of three boys. He was the son of Ward and Susan Leis. He received his high school diploma in 1946 and attended Pasadena City College and Pasadena Junior College.

Dorvin developed the entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age. His career started at the age of 12 when he started a successful limeade stand with the help of his parents and a friend. The two boys put on their white drugstore soda counter coats and went to work every day during the summer break. They sold limeade for five cents and offered a plate lunch for 25 cents. His parents required him to keep meticulous records to ensure the business was running correctly and profitably. An entrepreneur was born.

After his first business venture, Dorvin proceeded with several more opportunities, including a lawn mowing service and a lamp manufacturing company. ln 1961, Dorvin started his mechanical contracting business in Pomona, California; beginning as a backyard plumber working out of his garage. ln 1967, one of his clients asked him to move to Maui to help construct a Travelodge Hotel in Lahaina and in 1972 the Leis family permanently relocated to Maui. Thanks to Dorvin’s hard work, and strategic leadership, his mechanical contracting business, Dorvin D. Leis Co., Inc. (DOL) grew to become the largest mechanical contractor in the State of Hawai‘i. Today it employs more than 100 people.

Guided by Principles

Dorvin D. Leis was a dedicated family man and he lived by these principles: family is the top priority; genuinely care about people and believe that no one should feel hopeless, helpless or alone; embrace a culture of loyal and lifelong friendships; and, always give back.

He also strongly believed in supporting the communities in which you live and work. He instilled these principles in his children and incorporated them in his businesses.

Through the years, his gifts of time, wisdom and philanthropy have helped innumerable Hawai‘i nonprofits, and strengthened the fabric of our community. In addition to serving on the University of Hawai‘i Foundation board of trustees, and the UH Maui College Chancellor Advisory Council, Dorvin and his wife Betty Mae were generous donors to UH.

Dorvin and Betty Leis established the Leis Family Sustainability Fund, with a $1 million gift to advance all aspects of sustainability at UH Maui College.

UH Maui College Chancellor Lui Hokoana shared, “With this generous gift, we'll be able to expand our sustainability efforts to encompass a wide spectrum of operations. Sustainability is the lens through which we can make every aspect of the college more efficient and adaptive, from the environment and physical space to our programs and community engagement. We strive to be agile, responsive, and understand how decisions made in one part of campus can impact the whole. A sustainability focus keeps organizations relevant and engaged, and in our case ensures students are prepared to meet the needs of a rapidly changing society.”

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.