“We have a lot to do in the next few years, and I feel confident you’ll see an improved Young Brothers,” said Rebecca Namohala.
By Hilary Reeves
Young Brothers Manager of Strategic Planning Rebecca Namohala is always hard at work managing metrics, community giving, and continuous improvement – and most recently on an event that serves as an outlet to her creative side: the blessing of the company’s new Kāpena tugs.
Alongside Young Brothers President Joe Boivin, Namohala is committed to balancing “Aina” traditions of stewardship and spirit with new traditions unique to the culture of Young Brothers.
“There are certain protocols for a traditional Hawaiian blessing that are important to the people here that must be followed,” she said. “With a new president on board and four new tugs coming in, it’s an exciting time for us. We have a lot to do in the next few years, and I feel confident you’ll see an improved Young Brothers.”
Namohala lives in Makakilo on the island of Oahu. She grew up on the island’s famous North Shore, but finished high school in Kona on the Big Island.
“My childhood was filled with long days at the beach, dancing hula, riding dirt bikes, fishing, raising farm animals with my brother and sister, and just being an island kid,” she said. “My childhood was wonderful.”
When she was 15, she landed a job as a checkout clerk at Longs Store in Mililani.
” After school, I drove from Waialua to Mililani and worked until 8 or 9 p.m. every night,” she said. “My job was to bag the groceries, help customers, and gather shopping carts. By the time I was a junior, I only needed two classes to graduate thanks to attending summer school since my freshman year, so I had two part-time jobs: I was a cook at a drive-in up Mauka (Mountain) in Kona, and a maid at a hotel called Kona Village. I enjoyed both, and wasn’t afraid of the hard work, something I learned early from my parents.”
Namohala wanted to be an auto mechanic – even took classes in high school – but ended up working as a bank teller after high school in Arizona. She moved into the mortgage business for a few years, and then ended up working at Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle. She said she thought about going to college on the mainland after high school, but decided to take a year off instead. One year became many.
“I’ve logged more than 25 years in the maritime industry – 20 at Young Brothers – and have been in management for the past 10 years,” said Namohala. “I’ve worked in the Maritime Operations and Engineering Department for most of my career here, so I have a lot of knowledge about that side of the company including the financial aspect of each. After working in the company’s Engineering Department for 15 years, I felt I needed to learn something new, so I applied for the Manager of Strategic Planning position. I knew my knowledge of the vessels, marine operations, and relationships with fellow employees across the state would be valuable to this position and the Rate Case.”
Now firmly ensconced at the heart of many different projects, she credits her team’s individual gifts and collective sense of humor for its success.
“Our employees have a lot of heart, not only for the company, but for each other,” she said. “We care what happens to this place, our people, and our community. We are hard-working people deeply connected to our culture. The Aloha spirit is not just a catch phrase, it is a way of life for us, and you can see it in the way we work and connect to each other. It’s what makes Hawaii unique.”
Namohala is married with two children. She earned a degree in Business Management while her children were young, while working full time.
“It wasn’t easy, but I’m blessed to have a husband who stands behind me and grandparents who also helped.”
She’s most proud of her husband and children, as her ohana (family) means everything to her.
“We’ve been married 18 years come August, and have two awesome children: Nicole-Nola, a sophomore who plays club volleyball at the national level, and Wendell Boy, a seventh-grader who plays multiple sports, but hasn’t decided on one just yet. They keep us extremely busy and we are enjoying every minute.”
Namohala said she hopes to continue to grow in her position, and continue to scout new opportunities for Young Brothers to grow as well. She travels to the mainland with her daughter’s competitive volleyball team, cooks, gardens, and said she has found a new interest in working with nonprofits.
“I feel so good when I can help someone, even if it’s just a little,” she said. “My plans for the immediate future is to see my children become independent people who are kind, humble, and continue to walk in their faith and just be happy with whatever they choose to do in life,” she concluded. “And when we are done raising them, we’re going to fly to Europe where I will learn how to cook from the locals and my husband can surf!”