HOW I DISCOVERED HAWAII

…and I’m glad I did!

I moved to Los Angeles in September of 1969 to assume the position of EVP of the Electric League of Southern California.  In a previous blog, I told you about the job interview and the final interview question asking for a definition of “management.”

When I arrived in L.A., it was a busy time trying to organize industry-wide appliance store promotions to increase the household use of electrical energy.  By 1972, I drafted a five-year strategic plan to reorganize and expand the association in a number of directions.

After some lengthy discussions, the executive committee and the board approved the plan and life became even busier.  We changed the name and had a roadmap to expand membership, as well as use consumer promotions rather than sales incentives to increase electric appliance sales.

In January of 1974, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) announced that their annual convention would be held in early August at the new Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu.  The association executive community in Southern California was excited ASAE was finally holding their convention here in the west (so to speak).

One day on an airport shuttle I ran into Don Rosen, an association executive friend who had applied for my job but didn’t get it.  In the course of conversation, he asked if I was planning to go to the ASAE convention in Hawaii.  I said, “I don’t think my board would be that generous.”

His reply was, “Win an award.  They’ll feel obligated to send you.”

Hey, that sounded like an idea worth trying.  So I did a little research and entered our five-year strategic plan as an entry for a management achievement award.  It must have been a soft year because we were chosen for one of the awards.

When I told my board of our good fortune, they asked where the award would be presented (just liked I hoped).  I was happy to tell them it would be presented at the ASAE national convention in Honolulu.

They accused me of sneaky, underhanded manipulation but agreed to budget my attendance.

The event was spectacular with warm breezes, helicopters, fireworks and some interesting sessions.  All the outer island hotels were there anxious to have you come visit for two or three days after the convention.  They were eager to pay the interisland fare, enjoy their hospitality, and do a site inspection.

How could I refuse?  We went to the Maui Surf.  It’s now been rebuilt as the Westin or Kaanapali Beach.  It was terrific.

A few years later, we brought the Western Association of Equipment Lessors (WAEL) to the hotel for our first offshore meeting.  It was an outstanding conference and we went back to Hawaii every couple of years.

In addition to holding conferences for WAEL, I had to make additional site inspection trips and now Hawaii was becoming a regular visit.

All told, I’ve now been to Hawaii 20 to 25 times, more recently on personal vacations.  It’s paradise—warm tropical weather with a tepid ocean to match, spectacular sunsets and people who speak our native tongue.

I’ve been on all five major islands—Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii (the big island); seen most of the islands’ sights, including submarine rides to see the underwater gardens of fish, helicopters over the volcanoes and the lush green forests and waterfalls.  Pearl Harbor is a truly unique experience.

I’ve snorkeled, hiked, and dined in great restaurants with wonderful views, and there’s so much more in a totally relaxed environment.

I’ve stayed in a variety of hotels and pretty regularly in a condo on Makena Beach in Maui.  Loved them all!

Never had a bad trip; never been bored.  About 1992, I thought about moving there.  If they had better and more convenient medical facilities, I might have done it.

Thank you, Don Rosen, for a great suggestion.

ArtSchwartzSig

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1 Comment

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One response to “HOW I DISCOVERED HAWAII

  1. Spence

    Your bosses were right, it was sneaky and underhanded. But, I did enjoy the week I spent with you and Gabriele in Maui.

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