Business Matters: Local company has long history in Hawaii

Business Matters

HONOLULU (KHON2) — This company may not seem familiar, but their work can be seen all around Hawaii. From roadways and residential buildings to shopping malls and entire community developments, Austin Tsutsumi & Associates, Inc. has played a significant role on every island.

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“We actually were the surveyors who worked on the clearance of Kaho’olawe, working with the ordinance teams there, clearing all the unexploded ordinances, super interesting project,” said Terrance Arashiro, President of Austin Tsutsumi & Associates. “We mapped nearly the entire island.”

Arashiro has served as President for the past 16 years, but the company itself goes back more than eight decades.

“So it was founded in 1934 by H.A.R. Austin, who came from a kama’aina family here in the islands,” said Arashiro.

Today the company has more than 60 employees and continues to grow despite many challenges along the way.

“The economy the way it’s ebbed and flowed, if you could imagine 86 years, the company has been through I don’t know how many wars, including recent wars and disasters, natural and otherwise and the company survived,” Arashiro said.

“Engineers are always necessary, right? Because when things happen, we rebuild.”


Through it all, Arashiro says it is the employees that have made the company exceptional. In 2016 they were rewarded by a change initially brought about by the previous company president.

“We became an ESOP: An employee owned company, 100%, really grateful for the foresight that he had to start that process and now all the employees are benefits of that,” Arashiro said.

The company has been recognized multiple times as one of Hawaii’s best companies to work for.

“That’s one of the greatest parts of our job, we get to create these places where people live and they get to play and we can go out there after the project is done and we get to see people living there,” said employee Deanna Fujii. “It’s so fulfilling to see people enjoying enjoying themselves and having a roof over their head. When it’s finally done, it’s just magical.”

“I’ve been here 34 years. It was my first job out of college and I’m still here,” said site developer Donohue Fujii. “Bottom line is it’s like a family we really work with each other well. Concerned about each other’s children and family members” Donohue Fujii ‘

They do not only look after one one another, they support the community they serve — particularly during this time of year.

“We adopt families to the salvation army family the angel tree and this year we’ve selected five families. We go out get their items we wrap it for them and it gets delivered to them put smiles on their faces it’s all good”.

Looking forward, Arashiro says the key to continued success is keeping that spirit of giving and teamwork.

“I think it’s hiring great people, and then great people attracts other great people. So as long as I can continue that legacy in my time, I hope to turn it over better than when I took over,” Arashiro said.

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