New Director for Honolulu Office of Economic Revitalization



The City and County of Honolulu is pleased to announce that Amy Asselbaye has been named Director of the Office of Economic Revitalization (OER). Asselbaye has over twenty years of policy experience in creating and passing federal and local legislation to benefit Hawaiʻi’s communities. Amy began her career in public service in 1993 as a legislative staffer for then-U.S. Congressman Neil Abercrombie and was promoted to his Chief of Staff in 2005. Amy also worked for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and served on the State of Hawai‘i Board of Education from 2013 – 2016. Prior to joining the HMSA Foundation in 2017, Amy was the Director of Strategic and Community Development for the state’s largest community health center, Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. Her work at the health center involved building partnerships with other non-profits and funders, supporting neighborhood schools in their health-focused endeavors, and growing systems for more locally grown, healthy food options for the community.

“The residents of the City and County of Honolulu have shown immense strength and resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but many are struggling,” Mayor Caldwell said. “Amy Asselbaye brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role. Her work in government and in healthcare provide her with a unique position to lead this office in one of the most challenging times we’ve ever faced in Hawai‘i. With her leadership, along with the staff already in place, the Office of Economic Revitalization will provide much needed support for our local families and small businesses. OER will take a large portion of our City’s CARES funding and inject it back into our local economy where it is needed most. This will help our island not only recover and rebuild from the current crisis, it will also help us to establish a more resilient and diverse economy so we can be better prepared for future shocks along the lines of COVID-19.”

Joining Asselbaye in the Office of Economic Revitalization is Communications and Information Manager Molly Pierce. Pierce has nearly a decade of experience working in government and political communications. She joined the City and County of Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency in October 2018 and has spearheaded various projects to grow public awareness and engagement in the policy making process. Previously, she worked for a private communications firm and as a Committee Clerk at the Hawai‘i State Legislature. She has served on the Kaimukī Neighborhood Board since 2017.

 

Rick Keene who was previously announced as the Director, will be stepping down from that position to dedicate more of his time to coordinate issues relating to HART for the administration. He will continue to be focused on CARES fund management.

And Steve Terada will be joining the Office as an Executive Assistant, focused on CARES Community Programing and Outreach. Steve Terada graduated from the UH with a B.S. in Finance and was Regional V.P.  for Locations Inc. in Hawaii. He also worked for the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle where he managed the regional real estate mission in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Prior to joining the OER, he worked in Fukushima, Japan where he developed a risk communication program to support Fukushima’s revitalization.

The City’s Office of Economic Revitalization was created by re-organizing the current Office of Economic Development (OED) into a specialized and focused entity that captures funding, coordinates efforts, and executes programs to recover and diversify Oʻahu’s economy. It will provide a dedicated platform to coordinate recovery work with state agencies, the business sector, and non-profit agencies to tackle the COVID-19 economic challenge.

Target economic development sectors include getting unemployed residents back to work, supporting our small businesses, making sure those most affected by COVID-19 have access to food and other necessities, and providing adequate COVID-19 testing.

 

As a first project in this mission, the OER has taken over the City’s COVID-19 Call Center which is now set-up and operational out of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center. The Call Center, consisting of a hotline, information website and email response team to answer questions from O‘ahu residents and provide clarification about Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Proclamations, Emergency Orders and Rules. Those on O‘ahu are encouraged to visit the website oneoahu.org. If they do not find an answer to their questions on the site, residents can call the 768-CITY (2489) information hotline or email covidresponse@honolulu.gov. Staff are also available to direct residents to Aloha United Way 211 for social services, and point residents to hawaiicovid19.com for health related information and concerns. The City’s COVID-19 Call Center remains open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on holidays.

The OER’s Recovery Hub is scheduled to for a soft opening at the Blaisdell by July 27. Once fully established, it will be a single location for O‘ahu residents and businesses to find valuable resources. For the soft opening, the Recovery Hub will provide an in-person alternative to residents who are looking for answers and information that the 768-CITY Call Center has been providing since mid-March. As additional programs become available, the City will provide information releases to alert the public. More information will also be available at oneoahu.org in the coming weeks.

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