Gov. David Ige has nominated Carleton Ching, Castle & Cooke Hawaii’s vice president of community and government relations, to chair the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Ching replaces William Aila, who has been named deputy director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

“Stewardship of Hawaiʻi’s unique resources is one of the most critical tasks of state government, and Carleton Ching has the heart, knowledge and skills to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources,” Ige said in a press release. “No one understands better the complex issues this department handles and how to balance the needs of our environment and our residents.”

Ching has worked for Castle & Cooke for 12 years, according to his Linkedin account. He is a registered lobbyist for Castle & Cooke

Kekoa Kaluhiwa, a former spokesman for Boston-based First Wind, which has developed several wind farms in Hawaii, has been named DLNR’s first deputy.  Kaluhiwa is currently a principal at Kuanoʻo Communications. He was a registered lobbyist for Young Brothers and Horizon Lines through December 2014.

Kekoa Kaluhiwa

Kekoa Kaluhiwa

Courtesy of the Gov. David Ige's office

Because the legislative session has already started, neither appointee can start the jobs until he is confirmed by the Senate, said Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for the governor.

Interim Chair Carty Chang and Interim First Deputy Dan Quinn will lead the department in the meantime. 

There is no word yet on whether Bill Tam, deputy director of Water Resource Management for DLNR, will stay on, said McMillan.

More from the governor’s press release

Ching has devoted much of his career to creating communities for Hawaiʻi’s residents. Early on he spent a decade with the Hawaiʻi Housing Authority where he specialized in building affordable homes. From his time at the Authority he is best known for his role in facilitating a resolution to the contentious conflict between the Waiāhole-Waikane Community Association and the state. Following this he worked for Westloch, Inc., Castle & Cooke Kunia, Molokai Ranch and SSFM International. Currently he is the Vice President, Community and Government Relations, for Castle & Cooke Hawaii. In this role, he supports the organization’s real estate, agricultural and renewable energy initiatives. He is an active volunteer with a number of business, housing, health and education non-profit organizations . . .

Ching graduated from Kaimuki High School and earned a Business Administration Degree at Boise State University where he was an imposing left tackle for the Broncos.

 “It’s humbling to be asked to protect Hawaiʻi’s natural, cultural and historic resources,” said Ching. “I am committed to upholding the mission and purpose of the DLNR. My inspiration comes from my keiki and my moʻopuna. I want to leave Hawaiʻi a better place for them and for future generations.”

 Kaluhiwa began his career as a fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and then as a graduate intern in the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools. Following this he worked in U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka’s Honolulu office, and he then served for two years as the Director of External Affairs for First Wind Energy. He is currently a principal at Kuanoʻo Communications where he helps clients understand the unique cultural and environmental challenges of doing business in Hawaiʻi.

 “Kekoa Kaluhiwa learned about leadership from his kupuna,” said Governor Ige. “He has the education and skillset to carry out his kuleana in an ever changing world. I know he will make a difference.”

 Kaluhiwa is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and earned a B.A in political science from the University of Washington. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Environmental Planning and Management Theory from the University of Hawaiʻi.

“From an early age, natural resource management has been my passion,” said Kaluhiwa. “So it is a privilege for me to serve in this capacity. I have great confidence in the DLNR staff, and I look forward to supporting the kuleana we all share in caring for Hawaiʻi’s precious environment and host culture.”

“As in all my departments, no one person can manage it alone,” said Ige. “I’m confident this leadership team will work with DLNR’s committed employees as stewards of the public trust so future generations will be proud to call Hawaiʻi home.”

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