The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship

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Judges

2017

Steve Kiser

Steve Kiser
Senior Program Manager, CUBIC Global Defense

Steve Kiser is Senior Program Manager at CUBIC Global Defense, Camp Smith. His work focuses on cutting-edge air and sea domain technologies; special operations innovation; operational test and evaluation; energy efficiency; big data analytics and deep learning; humanitarian assistance/disaster relief; allied out-reach efforts; media analysis; and forecasting and scenario building. 

He is a life-time innovator, change agent and turn-around architect. A 20-year USAF veteran with multiple commands and a broad set of experiences, to include directly advising the highest-ranking military officials in the DoD on the nation’s strategic issues, turning new organizations into highly-performing teams, and managing Department-wide organizational changes affecting thousands of individuals.

He is a business start-up enthusiast, having actively worked with seven start-ups, to include five that received at least $500K in Angel financing and two that have earned Series A financing. He personally helped two start-ups create turn-around strategies that were on the brink of closure. He provided hours of mentoring and discussion with several dozen more start-ups.

Julia Okinaka

Julia Okinaka
President, Accuity Consulting Services

Julia has been consulting for private and public organizations for over twenty years. Julia is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and specializes in helping clients with process improvement, strategic planning, internal controls, project management, organizational change and communications. Her clients come from various industries including banking, healthcare, education, government, not-for-profit and entertainment. Prior to joining Accuity, Julia worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Advisory Services, Goldman Sachs in Private Wealth Management and Human Resources and the Gillette Company in both their Manufacturing and Sales/Marketing Divisions. Julia received her BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Julia serves on the board for The Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation and Design Thinking Hawaii.

Jill Sims

Jill Sims
COO and Head of Innovation Deployment, Elemental Excelerator

Jill co-founded Elemental Excelerator to deploy a new type of program working with entrepreneurs to commercialize clean energy technologies. She leads innovation deployment for Elemental Excelerator, which includes go-to-market strategy for portfolio companies and developing demonstration projects for highly innovative solutions. Jill moved to Hawaii in 2008 from Colorado where she worked within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy managing a portfolio of R&D and demonstration projects. In Hawaii, she worked on energy projects at SRA International with clients such as the U.S. Pacific Command, assessing energy usage across Department of Defense bases and service branches in Hawaii. She also worked closely on grants strategy with the University of Hawaii and others for early education, STEM, and workforce development. She was the recipient of Hawaii Business Magazine's 40 under 40 award in 2015.

Graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Jill started her career as a systems engineer at United Technologies Corporation developing sub-system integration and controls for fuel cell vehicles and auxiliary power units. Outside of the office, Jill enjoys spending time with her husband and two young sons Parker and Grayson.

Susan Yamada

Susan Yamada
Director, University of Hawaii Ventures

Susan Yamada is the director of University of Hawaii Ventures for the University of Hawaii System.

Previously, she was executive director of the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the Shidler College of Business.

Prior to joining PACE in 2008, Ms. Yamada spent 17 years working in senior management positions at various start-up companies in California before returning home to Hawai‘i in 2001. While in Silicon Valley, Ms. Yamada served as the founding CEO of TRUSTe, the first globally recognized, online privacy seal program dedicated to protecting users’ personal information on the Internet. At TRUSTe, Ms. Yamada served as part of the founding management team for VEO Systems, a business-to-business software developer, which was subsequently sold to Commerce One in 1999. Prior to TRUSTe, she spent five years as the CEO and Publisher of technology publication Upside Magazine.

Ms. Yamada is active in the community, having served on board of directors for organizations including the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawaii, Hawaii Nature Center and KCAA Preschool. She also heads the Yamada Scott Family Foundation. She earned a BBA degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and an MBA degree from San Jose State University.