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Governor Lingle names innovation award winners


Governor Linda Lingle today recognized six recipients of the Governor’s Innovation Awards for their ingenuity and commitment to developing creative ways for Hawai‘i to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The recipients, three each for the months of July and August, include private sector organizations, government entities and private citizens. The winners have developed innovative solutions to challenges, invented and implemented new technologies with worldwide applications, and contributed to the creation of a stronger economic future for the state.

The recipients of the Governor’s Innovation Award for July 2009 are:

Innovation by an Individual: David G. Watumull

David Watumull is a co-founder of Aiea-based Cardax Pharmaceuticals and the co-inventor of Cardax Technology, an anti-inflammatory therapy. The approach involves “small molecule” therapies for large unmet medical needs, including cardiovascular disease, hepatitis, macular degeneration and many cancers. Cardax’s compound derivative is able to create molecules to cure a variety of ailments.

Innovation by an Organization: Pacific‘O Restaurant

Pacific‘O Restaurant in Lahaina, Maui supports local agriculture and food self-sufficiency and regularly promotes the economic and health benefits of eating local. In 2000, the restaurant established O’o Farms to contribute to the self-sufficiency of Pacific‘O and its partner, I‘o Restaurant. The farm provides almost 100 percent of the salad greens and herbs for both restaurants. O’o Farms is open to the public for tours and also provides a forum for Maui residents who are interested in turning their backyard into a sustainable garden. Pacific‘O purchases fish from local fishermen and participates in beach and reef cleanups.

Innovation in Government: Department of Transportation Highways Division

Since the launch of the state Department of Transportation’s Freeway Service Patrol program on June 16, 2009, the free service has assisted about 3,000 motorists (approximately 300 per week) stranded on the H-1 and Moanalua freeways. The pilot program, covering more than 35 miles of freeway, provides six roving tow trucks and trained drivers who assist stranded motorists so they can continue their commute and do not cause further traffic congestion. Using a program called Track Star, DOT monitors each Freeway Service Patrol truck embedded with a GPS devise. This enables highway officials to know the locations of the trucks at all times and where potential traffic trouble spots are.

Awardees for August:

Innovation by an Individual: Keola Donaghy

Keola Donaghy, an assistant professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, has spent more than 100 hours translating the search terms that appear on the Google Internet page into Hawaiian. Because of his efforts, Hawaiian has become the first native American language available through the “Google in Your Language” program. Donaghy hopes the Google initiative is another step toward giving the Hawaiian language the same status as other major languages, particularly in the fast-moving information technology sector.

Innovation by an Organization: Hoana Medical, Inc.

Hoana Medical develops medical devices that passively collect patient vital signs. Its LifeBed Patient Vigilance System provides measurements of a patient’s vital signs using sensors embedded in a hospital mattress coverlet, eliminating the need to attach sensors, electrodes, cuffs or other devices directly to the patient. LifeBed systems are currently used in the medical surgical wards of hospitals throughout the U.S., including Queen’s Medical Center, to track patient conditions when a nurse is not in the room. If the LifeBed system detects a patient’s condition is deteriorating or unsafe, it immediately sends an alert to the hospital’s nurse call system.

Innovation in Government: Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

In keeping with the state’s goal of sustainability and reducing dependence on foreign oil, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is incorporating energy-saving features into its homes. As part of its 139-home Kānehili subdivision in Kapolei, the homes are equipped with low-flow plumbing fixtures, a solar water heating system, efficient lighting and other provisions that will save homeowners 30 to 50 percent on their energy bills.

Governor Lingle initiated the Innovation Awards in May 2008 to acknowledge and encourage innovation across all sectors statewide. The awards recognize deserving individuals, companies, nonprofits, organizations and government agencies that are developing innovative products, services and processes. The award is part of the Lingle-Aiona Administration’s Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative, a comprehensive plan to transform Hawai‘i’s economy from one dependent on land development to one that builds on human ingenuity and the ability of Hawai‘i’s people to innovate.

The Governor’s Innovation Awards nominees are evaluated monthly by a 15-member selection panel comprised of industry, education and government representatives statewide. Nominations are submitted online and are judged on creativity; effectiveness in achieving a goal or purpose; transferability and adoptability by others; and significance in addressing an important local or global issue, problem or opportunity. The selection committee provides final recommendations to Governor Lingle for her selection.

For additional information or to submit a nomination, visit

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