KAI Hawaii Inc., a Honolulu-based structural and forensic engineering firm, has given $250,000 to the University of Hawaiʻi College of Engineering to endow a new Vertically Integrated Project, or VIP, related to sustainability and resilience.
VIP programs seek to foster long-term, in-depth, project-based learning to engage students and better prepare them for future careers, according to UH, which is part of a VIP consortium of 30 institutions worldwide.
Ken Hayashida, president and founder of KAI Hawaii, is a 1983 graduate of the College of Engineering. He founded KAI Hawaii as a one-man company in 1995 and over the years has grown the company to 50 employees. KAI Hawaii is a 100% employee-owned company today under an employee stock ownership plan.
KAI Hawaiiʻs core purpose — "to help communities create a safe and sustainable tomorrow" — aligns with the vision for the company's gift to UH.
"The University of Hawaiʻi is key to providing us with young people who are committed to change our community for the better," said Hayashida. "Thatʻs going to require all of us to invest in our university so we have young people who can lead and innovate and provide us a safe, sustainable and resilient community to live in."
Hayashida is a second-generation UH engineering graduate — his father, Kazu Hayashida, graduated in 1956 and led the city Department of Transportation, Public Works and Board of Water Supply before retiring in 2000 as director of the state Department of Transportation. Both father and son were recipients of the Engineer of the Year Award from the National Society of Professional Engineers, 30 years apart.
Ken Hayashida is a former president of the UH Alumni Association and in 2013 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering.
"We are tremendously grateful for KAI Hawaii's gift to support the college and our students in our efforts to develop quality engineers and leaders for our state. Ken and KAI Hawaii have been longtime partners and this financial gift is a true demonstration of their confidence and support of the direction we as a college are headed with new programs and a focus on student success," said Brennon Morioka, dean of the College of Engineering.
KAI Hawaii, which was honored as the Engineering Firm of the Year in 2019 by NAIOP Hawaiʻi, marked its 25th year in business last year. KAI Hawaii has completed more than 4,000 projects since 1995, including Capitol Place, Honolulu Design Center, various infrastructure, transportation and energy projects and the renovation of Hawaiʻi Hall on the UH Mānoa campus.
The KAI Hawaii gift represents half of a total $500,000 in gifts to UH made this year by Ken and Donna Hayashida.
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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations. uhfoundation.org
KAI Hawaii Inc. is a full-service structural engineering firm providing project management, structural design, construction inspection, and forensic assessment and evaluation. We understand each aspect of a project and add value. The combination of structural design expertise with forensic evaluation and investigative techniques enables us to provide unique perspective from which to better serve our clients in projects involving new design, repair, alteration, maintenance, and investigation of existing structures. Visit us at kaihawaii.com.