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2024 Honorees:

The 47th annual Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce 2024 ‘Ō' ō Awards &Gala will be held October 4, from 5pm-9pm in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.


Our kūpuna taught us, “Na ke kanaka mahiʻai ka imu ō nui (Pukui 2239)” A well-filled imu belongs to the one who tills the soil. Basically, you reap what you sow. This year we honor those who have led our communities in various ways to till the soil across the paeʻāina.


This award was conceived 47 years ago, to showcase and honor Native Hawaiian business leaders that demonstrate courage, resilience and dedication to their craft and the people of Hawaiʻi.  These ʻōiwi leaders are reminders that Hawaiian culture and values continue to be important pillars for how we do business and what we pass on to the next generation of leaders.


The Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce is proud to present this year's ‘Ō‘ō Award to three outstanding and very deserving honorees Paula Lynn Ka'iulani Akana, Corbett Aaron Kamoha’ikiokalani Kalama & Thomas Keali'i'aimoku Nāhiʻenaʻena McClellan.

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Paula Lynn Kaʻiulani Akana

Paula Akana is the President & CEO of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace. Her journey to ʻIolani Palace in July of 2019 came after years of keeping Hawaii’s residents informed. Paula spent 35 years as a broadcast journalist for KITV Island News, where she focused on Hawaiian issues and Hawaiian culture. She was the long-time host of the Merrie Monarch Festival and the Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Competition. Paula is a proud graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism.


Paula has served on numerous local nonprofit boards over the past three decades, including MAʻO Organic Farms, and the YMCA Metro Honolulu. She also both covered the voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa for television and volunteered with the Polynesian Voyaging Society.


As the President & CEO of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace, she oversees the day-to-day operations of this historic landmark and wahi pana. During the pandemic, Paula navigated the non-profit organization through the most challenging time of its 50 plus year history. She actively seeks funding to keep the organization operational and works to maintain the physical integrity of ʻIolani Palace and the other buildings on property.

Corbett Aaron Kamoa Kalama

As President and Chief Executive Officer of RESCO, Inc., Locations’ parent company, Corbett A.K. Kalama oversees the overall strategy and operations of the company, including the firm’s core brokerage operations, and institutional and developer relationships.


Prior to joining Locations in 2023, Corbett served as executive vice president of the Weinberg Foundation’s Hawaii Office. He has also held numerous positions at First Hawaiian Bank over 32 years, including executive vice president and manager of the bank’s Wealth Management Group.


Corbett serves on the boards of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, and he is president of Friends of Hawaii Charities, as well as director and coach of Kailua Canoe Club. He has previously served as a Kamehameha Schools Trustee.


He is a graduate of Western Oregon University and the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, where he was also a faculty member for 20 years.

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Thomas 'Aimoku McClellan

Thomas 'Aimoku McClellan has worked for the betterment of Native Hawaiians for decades. His objective has been to arm the next generation of Native Hawaiian business leaders with the tools to uplift their lives, generate family wealth, and most importantly, to give back to the community.


He has offered resources and mentoring and has organized financial support for those seeking to build their own businesses or pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees. While his successes in business have been lauded for years, it is his quiet contribution to the advancement of Lahui that has been his life's greatest quiet work.


The Poi Company

In the 1990’s, Mr. McClellan, along with his wife Dorien, founded a popular poi manufacturing company: The Poi Company. 'Aimoku focused on making pa`i`ai (undiluted, full-flavor poi) more available, especially to the kupuna who expressed their frustration at its scarcity, and to increasing awareness and appreciation for this essential Hawaiian stable.


He advanced production methods to extend poi’s freshness and traveled from Chicago to Germany to the Cook Islands to resource better grinding equipment and wider varieties of taro. After selling The Poi Company in 1997, he shared his methods with small poi companies owned by Native Hawaiians.


Aimoku was President and CEO of Pelatron, Inc. a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) owned 8(a) company. The company set up a light manufacturing center in Honolulu, that, at one time, employed over two hundred employees. To develop the capabilities to fully meet Department of Defense (DoD) requirements, 'Aimoku and his team were able to bring in highly qualified engineers and specialists to create mentor/protégé opportunities for Pelatron’s employees.

This led to Pelatron expanding its capabilities to specialize in design, engineering, build and test of Command, Control, Communications, Computers (C4) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems for the Department of Defense (DoD), Marine Corps and Air Force.

This in turn led to Pelatron receiving the Fastest 50 Hawai’i business award in 2011 by Pacific Business News for having doubled its revenues every year.

Perhaps Pelatron’s flagship program was Network on-the-Move (NOTM). Early stages of this effort were with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under the Mobile Modular Command and Control (M2C2) program as a subcontractor to both Raytheon and General Dynamics.

In 2010 the firm was awarded a bridge contract as a prime contractor, to migrate the system into MARCORSYSCOM in Quantico, Virginia under the Combat Operations Center (on-the-Move) Battlefield Remote Access and Awareness Applications (COBRA3).

The successful migration of that system into the Marine Air Ground Task Force-Command and Control (MAGTF C2) Systems eventually led to the 2012 prime contractor award of the first fifty-one (51) Network on-the-Move (NOTM) systems for the Marine Corps. These systems were built in Hawai`i and are currently deployed worldwide. Other design, engineering, build and test programs the firm primed or worked on as a subcontractor were:

1. USAF Control and Reporting Center (CRC): Prime Contractor

2. USAF CRC S-280 Shelter Modification: Prime Contractor

3. USAF TACP Tactical Gateway (TTG): Prime Contractor

4. PEITSS TACP MCS Block 2: Subcontractor

5. Cyber Mission Systems, Kitting, and Supplies Contract (CMS): Subcontractor



In 2004, Mr. McClellan co-founded the Pelatron Center for Economic Development (PCED), a not-for- profit organization, and as a member of the PCED Board of Directors, Mr. McClellan helped guide PCED in its mission to advance and promote the economic welfare of Native Hawaiians, specifically focusing on assisting them to establish and grow their businesses.

This work included training, mentoring, and innovative support services through partnerships with the public and private educational sectors, and community and business organizations. PCED’s programs also provided training opportunities and in-kind support to Native Hawaiian non-profits, such as support and office facilities for The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association.



'Aimoku McClellan served as the third President of the Native Hawaiian Organizations Association from 2010 to 2013. As a trade association committed to providing Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs and communities an opportunity to be competitive in the federal marketplace while contributing to the empowerment of indigenous communities,


NHOA advocates at all levels of government, develops policies to lead the industry, and provides best practices to help small businesses thrive. Under 'Aimoku’s leadership, NHOA was able to bring important stability to the industry, comprised at the time of 17 non-profits with over 30 subsidiaries, executing nearly $2 billion in work and creating thousands of jobs during his tenure. 'Aimoku’s collaborative yet decisive style of leadership was critical, providing support when needed but also guidance and a steady hand that allowed not only our members to come to trust us, but also federal agencies, regulatory bodies, congressional members, and fellow indigenous small business groups – recognizing Native Hawaiians as critical and key players at the table.



'Aimoku was also a member of the Board of Directors for The Native American Contractors Association (NACA); a national organization that represents the interests of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian business owners and contractors. NACA's primary mission is to promote the economic development and welfare of its member organizations through advocacy, education, and networking opportunities. It focuses on helping these businesses succeed in the federal contracting arena by providing support, resources, and representation to ensure fair access to government contracts and other business opportunities.