An Idea for a Dredging Robot Wins First Prize in the 2015 UH Business Plan Competition

HONOLULU, HI— On May 5, 2015, the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) announced the winners of the 2015 University of Hawaii Business Plan Competition at the Waialae Country Club. Three teams competed for prize packages totaling more than $50,000 in cash and in-kind awards.

As part of the title sponsorship, American Savings Bank’s Tab Bowers, executive vice president of marketing and business development, presented the 1st place prize. Other corporate sponsors include HiBEAM, Convergent Law Group, Pineapple Tweed and Sultan Ventures. Accounting in-kind prizes from individuals include Terri Fujii, Larry Rodriguez and William Wilson.

The results are:

FIRST PLACE – Prize package includes $10,000 cash and over $18,500 value in accounting, legal and marketing services

Team: Akabotics LLC
Team members: Newton Parks and Monica Umeda

Akabotics LLC designs intelligent robots for environmentally friendly and costeffective sediment management and flooding risk mitigation of waterways.

SECOND PLACE – Prize package includes $5,000 cash and $11,000 value in accounting, legal and marketing services

Team: Jun Innovations LLC
Team members: Steve Chan, Soojin Jun, Ryan Matsumoto and Timothy Shafel

Jun Innovations LLC is a start-up technology company that develops a new supercooling device that is able to preserve the original freshness of meat, fish and produce over an extended period of time.

THIRD PLACE – Prize package includes $2,500 cash and $4,500 value in accounting, legal and marketing services

Team: Oahu Group
Team members: Bob Nakata and Rittz Reyes

Oahu Group provides a wearable motion tracker prototype that creates the capability for interactive immersive virtual reality gaming that projects the user’s body motion into the virtual world.


The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is the home for an integrated set of entrepreneurship programs at the University of Hawaii. Based in the Shidler College of Business, PACE is dedicated to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among all members of our community.

The UH Business Plan Competition is administered by PACE. It is an intense, semester-long, experiential program that provides mentorship, training and resources to University of Hawaii students who seek to start a business venture.

Photo caption of the 1st place team from left to right:

  • Omar Sultan, Partner, Sultan Ventures
  • Piia Aarma, Founder, Pineapple Tweed
  • Gabe Lee, Executive Vice President, Commercial Markets, American Savings Bank
  • Greg Kim, Partner, Convergent Law Group
  • Tab Bowers, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, American Savings Bank
  • Vance Roley, Dean, Shidler College of Business
  • Monica Umeda, team Akabotics member and Electrical Engineering graduate student
  • Newton Parks, team Akabotics member and Architecture PhD student
  • William Wilson, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, Central Pacific Bank
  • Terri Fujii, Partner, CW Associates, CPAs