About Albert Chikanobu Kobayashi, Inc.

No question about going into the family business From attorney to developer A perfect mix of both Growing up in two cultures Never feeling discriminated against in Hawai‘i About Albert Chikanobu Kobayashi, Inc. Three important things learned from father

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Oh sure, that’s easy. My grandfather’s name is Albert Chikanobu Kobayashi. Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc. is a contracting firm that he founded about 50 years ago. I’m sorry. 45 years ago. He founded it with himself and my grandmother who passed away – Violet – as the secretary, and one carpenter and built it into a pretty sizable company in the 70s and then my dad took it over pretty early on in his life. Probably a little too early. He couldn’t finish his education as a result of his responsibility to take over the business and me dad grew that company to basically the third or fourth largest…the third largest contracting company in Hawaii. The largest locally owned behind then Hawaiian Dredging and Pan Pacific.

And then about 10 years ago, or 12 years ago, my father and his brothers Ronald and James elected to begin to sell the company to its employees because they saw themselves maybe taking a little bit more time off or focusing more in a development route, rather than contracting. And so they thought it would be an opportune time to take advantage of that kind of transfer of ownership. So they did that and so for the past 10 years, our family has had no interest in the construction company – ACK – that still bears my grandfather’s name. But still very, very successful. It’s run by a great management team headed by Russell Young and in fact we use them on probably half of the projects that we enter into. So a lot of admiration for that firm.

And my role in Kobayashi Group is basically to do what my grandfather and my father did for construction except apply it to real estate development. So my goal – and I think we’re well on our way – is to create a very respectable, active, vibrant real estate development company here in Hawaii and to do projects that benefit us profitably and as important as that is to complete projects that have a real social benefit to Hawaii.

Date: June 1, 2006
Location: Hawai'i, US
Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

business construction hawaii

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