Welcome home, Ian Kitajima

Like the moon faithfully pulls the tides, Hawaii pulled Ian back and let him go, and brought him back again. On his journey, he started several companies, both in Hawaii and on the mainland. It was love and an epiphany that would eventually bring him back to Hawaii to stay.

Ian Kitajima grew up on the Windward side of Oahu, went to Castle High School, Windward Community College and got his Bachelor’s in business from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. From humble beginnings as a surfer/partier and average student, Ian turned his work ethic around and threw everything he had into his studies. As soon as he graduated, he left Hawaii to prove himself. A key factor in Ian’s success were his mentors that guided and supported him along the way.

Ian thought he was destined to live on the mainland and he WANTED to. But like many other kama`aina, love for his family kept bringing him back. The first time was to care for his father, the second time was when he met his wife to be, and then to care for his mother. In between his stays in Hawaii, he moved away to work. During his last stint away in Finland, Ian realized that he didn’t have to keep flying halfway around the world and back. Hawaii is where his wife, his family and great people and opportunities are. It’s where he should be.

He made his way back to Hawaii by reconnecting with old friend and meeting new ones. By the time he was ready to move back, he had a job lined up and waiting at Oceanit. He’s now their Director of Corporate Development.

Podcast music by YEYEY

One of the lesson’s Ian took away from his time in Finland, where he worked with best of the best in the cell phone tech industry, is that people in Hawaii are just as talented, we just don’t think we are. I totally agree. Kama`aina are some of the most amazingly talented people and we should be proud!

Do you have a story you’d like to share? I want to hear it. Drop me a line at cindy@htdc.org.

ian-pic

This is one of Ian’s photos that reminds him why Hawaii is the best place to live and work. (Lanikai Pillboxes)

Ian Kitajima serves as Director of Corporate Development at Oceanit. He co-founded several spin-off companies from Oceanit, including Hoana Medical, Mosaic, Nanopoint, and Ibis. He was previously an Executive Vice President of HPK Marketing, LLC as well as the Chief Marketing Officer of MEET Factory Oy. He was a Partner of iToy Concepts, LLC.  He has significant experience with early stage technology companies along with strong consumer products marketing experience, and is an all-around good guy.

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