TIM School: Major Economic Force

The University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. While this milestone is being observed with appropriate fanfare by faculty, students and alumni one and all, I feel the TIM school has been largely underappreciated by the general public for its role in our most important industry, tourism.

Yes, we recognize the educational opportunities that a college education provides. We also know that the University of Hawaii has educated generations of Island folks for more than a hundred years. But we sometimes fail to recognize that the UH system has had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on our economic prosperity.

The School of Travel Industry Management has been a cornerstone of the visitor industry throughout its existence, not only for Hawaii but across the globe. As a prime example, the TIM School honored one of its own at its 45th anniversary banquet. Joseph Toy, head of locally based Hospitality Advisors and an alumnus of the school, was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Honor for his success in developing his company into one of the world’s leading tourism consulting firms.

He joined another alum, Ernest Nishizaki, president of Kyo-ya Management Company, who was the very first inductee into the Hall of Honor. Coincidentally, Ernie received the 2011 American Hotel and Lodging Association’s State Leadership Award for his support for the travel industry.

TIM also honored Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, with its Legacy in Tourism award for his role in making this home-grown company one of the best in the nation.

These individuals have used their educations and experiences not only to make invaluable contributions to travel and tourism, but to serve as outstanding examples of the school and community.

As the TIM School continues to build on this legacy during this landmark year, it behooves us to reflect on the many achievements this institution and the entire UH system have made, and continue to make, to our progress.


Connie Villa
Position: Main Linen Room Attendant
Location: Kauai Marriott Resort

Connie Villa recently received an urgent call from California from a departed guest who’d forgotten her son’s cancer treatment medicine in their room at the Marriott. Connie found the medication and determined the postal service could make a next-day delivery. But the medicine was needed urgently so she scheduled a same-day courier service delivery, on her own time and at her own expense.

It was only after the guest called the hotel to commend Connie that her good deed was revealed.

Supervisors describe Connie as a role model for her attitude, professionalism, and grace under the pressure of her everyday duties. So devoted is she to her job, and so capable as a co-worker, that her fellow resort workers deem her a “most wanted” person to work with.

Her commitment even carries over into her other endeavors, as demonstrated in her leadership in collecting 600 pounds of food for the Food Bank and ensuring full staff participation in the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk.