With more than 60 years combined experience at Hawaii Petroleum, sisters Debra Morioka, Sheri Fujikawa and Tammie Fujikawa prove that when it comes to close family, working together works best.
By Hilary Reeves
Debra Morioka is the eldest of five children, Sheri Fujikawa was born second, and Tammie Fujikawa is the fourth girl of the family. When asked independently about their career aspirations growing up on the island of Maui, these three sisters had one very curious thing in common: “The greatest influence during my childhood was mom and dad,” said Debra. “I wanted to work in an office like my mom.”
“I feel my mom and dad had the greatest influence on me,” said Sheri. “I always admired how my mom worked, cooked dinner, did house chores, and took care of five children, while our dad worked two jobs.”
“My parents had the greatest influence on me growing up,” said Tammie. “I wanted to be like my mom and work in the business field.”
Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that all three sisters eventually found their way to Hawaii Petroleum, with Debra, who has worked for the company for 25 years, leading the way.
“I started (at Hawaii Petroleum) on February 1, 1990, looking for a permanent, long-term job,” she explained. “I’m the office manager in operations. I enjoy my job and love seeing all the customers that walk into our office – especially the ones who think I’m younger than Sheri and Tammie,” she laughed.
Sheri joined the company five years later, helping Debra in the office.
“I will be with the company 20 years this July,” she said. “I’m an administrative assistant doing administrative work and customer service in operations.”
Three years after Sheri joined Hawaii Petroleum, Debra was looking for temporary help for the office while she went on maternity leave with her twin girls. Tammie filled in while Debra went on maternity and became part of the company in 1998. Tammie is now an administrative assistant in the Sales, Marketing, and Business Development Department.
“I have been with Hawaii Petroleum for 17 years, working with my two older sisters,” Tammie explained. “We get along and work well together. We help each other whenever one is in need to get the job done.”
The sisters attribute their ability to work well together to their tight-knit upbringing.
“Growing up, our parents worked really hard at providing the necessities for the five of us,” Tammie said. “They were strict about respect, honesty, and family. We all grew up close and got along well, probably because we all have different personalities.”
“Our family is close, and we’re always together,” Debra and Sheri echoed. “We work together, go to the beach, movies, shopping, and have family dinners all the time. We pretty much do everything together. When we see customers from work on our days off, they say, ‘Hi, HFN girls,’” a reference to Hawaii Petroleum’s Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN) program, “and commenting, ‘Wow, even out of work you’re all together.’”
Debra and Sheri said, with retirement on the distant horizon, they are looking forward to traveling. Debra includes spending more time with her husband and three daughters. Fourteen years after graduating from high school, Tammie went back to college and is a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii Maui College and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with the University of Hawaii West Oahu.
“My plans for the future include starting a family, traveling, and enjoying life,” she said. “I’m grateful to be where I am.”
Debra, Sheri, and Tammie expressed how thankful they are to be a part of Hawaii Petroleum. “We really enjoy the people we work with,” they agreed.