Our Islands, Our Future

Maui Economic Development Board presented a Maui TechOhana event in November on the topic of Aerospace on Maui. Supported by the County of Maui, MEDB’s TechOhana provide an informal networking opportunity open to anyone interested in Maui County’s innovation and business industry. Events typically include a short presentation on a relevant topic in business or technology, followed by the opportunity to talk with others with similar professional interests.

At the meeting, the esteemed panel of five space industry leaders based in LĪPOA, formerly known as the Maui Research & Tech Park, talked story with over 30 guests who heard about the future of the aerospace industry on Maui. Daron Nishimoto, MEDB Business Development Director and EO Solutions moderated a panel that included Lisa Thompson, KBR; Dr. Channing Chow, Cloudstone Innovations; Dr. Shadi Naderi, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL); and Dr. Bogdan Udrea, VisSidus Technologies, Inc.; who all shared their vision, their technical ideas, and the career opportunities for Maui residents within the industry.

Nishimoto began the lively and engaging discussion with an introduction explaining how much we rely on space systems for our everyday needs such as phones, banking, internet, and navigation. “As an example, during the Maui fires I was able to get Starlink terminals into the Lahaina community to give people internet service,” Nishimoto shared. “Those affected were thankful to be able to get messages out to family and friends.”

“This panel of experts represented a good sample of tech innovation in a growing industry on Maui,” said Annette Lynch, MEDB Director of Communications who led the coordination of the event. “In addition to sharing their space projects they talked story about their career pathway and the benefits to being able to pursue their chosen field living on Maui.”

Nishimoto added, “Aerospace depends on many kinds of expertise that helps to diversify the economy offering pathways relative to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.)”

Naderi also explained her STEM outreach projects for K-12 students. “I love to work with children. In collaboration with MEDB, AFRL takes a mobile planetarium and a thermal infrared camera to the classrooms. The students really love these activities.” 

The Aerospace industry is growing on Maui with a host of companies and programs engaged in advanced research and development. For more information, visit: Daron Nishimoto, MEDB Business Development Director & EO Solutions