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HELCO’s Lee appointed Public Works director


Mayor Billy Kenoi has named former HELCO president Warren H.W. Lee as the county’s new Director of Public Works.

Lee’s appointment, announced Thursday, Dec. 4, fills a key position in the mayor’s cabinet. Kenoi was sworn in Dec. 1.

Lee was named president of HELCO in 1991 and retired earlier this year after 36 years with the company. He previously worked as project engineer for the Board of Water Supply for the City and County of Honolulu and he’s a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army Reserve.

Lee, 61, is a highly skilled, experienced and well-respected executive engineer who is expected to bring new ideas and strong leadership skills to the Department of Public Works, Kenoi said.

“He’s perfect for the job,” he said.

Lee brings a measure of leadership ability to the job that promises to result in better customer service from the county, County Managing Director William Takaba said.

“He’ll bring a lot of new ideas and energy to the job,” Takaba said.

Lee’s immediate goal is to “quickly learn as much as possible,” create a vision for the department and accomplish its mission, he said.

“Mayor Kenoi promised change in the way the County serves it residents,” Lee said. “I’ll be that agent of change.”

Since retiring from HELCO, Lee has been volunteering with numerous local non-profit and charitable organizations, including Hawaii Island United Way, North Hawaii Community Hospital board, Hawaii Island Food Basket, American Heart Association and Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce.

A registered engineer, Lee graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1970 with a degree in civil engineering. He received a Masters degree in business from Chaminade University in 1991.

The county’s Public Works Department is responsible for public and private building construction and inspections; construction, inspection and maintenance of public streets, highways, bridges and drainage facilities; design, operation and maintenance of traffic signals and traffic control devices; engineering matters and all other public works projects.

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