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Big Island Company Recognized in OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2015

Hawaii Forest & Trail is the only company from the state of Hawaii to have been selected as one of OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2015. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious, and prioritize giving back to the community.

Hawaii Forest and Trail President Rob Pacheco interprets the geology of Hualalai.  Photo PF Bentley

Hawaii Forest and Trail President Rob Pacheco interprets the geology of Hualalai. Photo PF Bentley

This prestigious recognition by OUTSIDE magazine as one of the best places to work across the country is truly an honor. When we started Hawaii Forest & Trail in 1992, my wife Cindy and I made a commitment to build our business around the concept of ohana, or family, where we foster connections between our co-worker ohana and the natural world. It’s what we strive for,” said Hawaii Forest & Trail President Rob Pacheco.

“The companies recognized in this year’s Best Places to Work list are the gold standard for stellar work environments that seek to empower their employees both in and out of the office,” said OUTSIDE Online Editor Scott Rosenfield. “The new categories in this year’s list serve to highlight outstanding workplaces in distinctive fields-making it all the easier for our readers to find their dream jobs.”

What Makes Hawaii Forest & Trail A Great Place to Work?

When Rob and Cindy Pacheco founded Hawaii Forest & Trail in the garage of their house, they never dreamed their tour operation would grow to have more than 50 employees at 3 locations on Hawaii Island. The secret to their success has always been finding employees who share their passion for the outdoors, for each other and their island home.

As the company continues to grow, Hawaii Forest & Trail emphasizes the cultivation of close personal connections and provides employees with new opportunities. Just recently Hawaii Forest & Trail launched its “Ohana and Natural Resources Department” where the primary focus is to develop staff education opportunities, conservation partnerships, and community involvement. Initiatives developed by this department include staff BBQs, group volunteer programs, ongoing educational lectures from natural and cultural experts, and an invitation to participate in community hikes. These opportunities for personal growth coupled with the company’s unparalleled access to some of Hawaii Island’s most beautiful natural sites make working at Hawaii Forest & Trail a dream job for many of Hawaii’s outdoor enthusiasts.

Hawaii Forest & Trail also believes in kuleana and acts on that sense of responsibility by providing a strong package of staff benefits that includes healthcare, a 401K matching plan, paid vacation time, and comp tickets on any of their adventures.

“We strongly believe that to be the best at what we do, we have to compete for the best candidates every time we hire,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Jason Cohn. With all their employee perks it’s no wonder Hawaii Forest & Trail has managed to retain their first full-time guide and first full-time dispatcher who both still remember showing up to clock-in at Rob and Cindy’s house more than 17 years ago.

To find the best places to work in the United States in 2015, OUTSIDE started by creating five company categories that reflect the magazine’s values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear, and Media. OUTSIDE then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies. Outside’s Best Places to Work 2015 was driven by employee reviews of their workplaces, taking into account factors like corporate culture, role satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement. The Best Places to Work list represents the cream of the crop: companies that are empowering their employees to live bigger, better lives.

The complete list of Best Places to Work winners is featured online at www.outsideonline.com/dreamjobs

Worldwide Travel Alert Issued by U.S. State Department

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots.  We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

Dengue Fever Update – 92 Confirmed Cases, 143 Potential Cases Excluded

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is investigating a cluster of locally-acquired cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island. Dengue is not endemic to Hawaii. However, it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers. This is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since the 2011 outbreak on Oahu.

The mosquitoes that can transmit dengue fever

The mosquitoes that can transmit dengue fever

As of November 23, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 79
Visitors 13
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 92

Of the confirmed cases, 79 are Hawaii residents and 13 are visitors.
70 cases have been adults; twenty-tw0 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/17/15.

As of today, a total of 143 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated November 18, 2015)

HDOH continues to routinely monitor for cases of imported dengue infection on ALL islands and will continue to have Vector Control perform mosquito site assessments and abatement as needed.  Since the beginning of our current investigation on Hawaii island, one imported dengue fever case has been confirmed (on Oahu). This case is not associated with the Hawaii island investigation.

Dengue Fever and Mosquitoes — Information and Resources

Fight the Bite Fact Sheet
Fight the Bite Flyer
Frequently Asked Questions (11/18/2015)
Letter to Hawaii Island Residents and Visitors
Bug Off! Using Mosquito Repellants
Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites (11”x17”)
CDC Mosquito Control

Dengue Fever Brochures

Spanish
Samoan
Marshalleses
Japanese
Ilokano
Hawaiiian
English
Chuukese
Tongan
Tagalog

Call Aloha United Way 2-1-1 for general information about dengue fever and the current Big Island dengue investigation.

To report a suspect case, contact:

  • On the Big Island: 808-974-6001 (East Hawaii) or 808-322-4880 (West Hawaii)
  • On other islands: DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division at 808-586-4586.

To report mosquito concerns, contact:

  • On the Big Island: 808-974-6001 (East Hawaii) or 808-322-4880 (West Hawaii)
  • On Oahu: 808-586-8021, on Maui: 808-873-3560, on Kauai: 808-241-3306

If you are ill and are worried that you might have dengue fever, contact your healthcare provider.

Clinicians: for updates go to http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/updates-and-resources-for-clinicians/

*Updates to case counts, when available, will be posted Monday-Friday by 1:00 p.m. HST

**Updates to the map, when available, will be posted Wednesday by 1:00 p.m. HST