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People on the Move for Monday, January 7, 2012

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Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013 12:00 am

Shonka named COO of First Insurance Co.

Jeff Shonka, chief financial officer of First Insurance Co. of Hawai‘i since 2002, has been promoted senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Honolulu-based insurer.

First Insurance Co. of Hawai‘i has offices throughout the state.

Shonka will be responsible for the company’s claims, personal and commercial lines, as well as legal, surety and fidelity, the company said, as well as First Risk Management Services, a subsidiary brokerage operation for non-standard risks.

“Jeff is an invaluable member of the executive team who during his 10 years with First Insurance has not only earned the respect and trust of our officers, but of his department, our company and other industry leaders in Hawai‘i,” First Insurance President and CEO Allen Uyeda said in a statement. “We are fortunate to be able to share his leadership and knowledge with other operational areas of our company.”

Prior to joining First Insurance, Shonka worked at Amwest Insurance Group Inc., in Calabasas, Calif., where he served as a senior financial analyst and corporate controller before being named chief operating officer and president.

Shonka is the current president of the Hawai‘i Insurers Council.

Easter Seals Hawai‘i names new president

HONOLULU — Easter Seals Hawai‘i announced Christopher Blanchard as its new president and Chief Executive Officer on Thursday.

A statewide non-profit organization, ESH provides programs and services for people of all ages with developmental disabilities and special needs.

The confirmation by the Easter Seals Hawai‘i Board was made after a national search and selection process.  

Blanchard has lived in Hawai‘i for more than nine years. Taking the helm Jan. 14, he will oversee 460 employees statewide and manage a $17 million annual operating budget.       

Blanchard will also provide leadership for ESH programs, services, finances, personnel and fundraising levels.

Programs include early intervention for children, youth services and home and community-based services for all ages.

Dick Sears, incoming Chairman of the Board for ESH said Blanchard will bring leadership and creativity to the ESH mission and has a deep sense of commitment to the islands and nonprofit sector. Blanchard’s extensive years of government and community service, along with a social work background, demonstrates not only the ability to lead and inspire people around him but also the compassion and commitment to help those in need.

“His vision and integrity will help grow the organization’s fund development capacity while expanding the exceptional services and programs ESH has become known for in the community,” Sears said.

Blanchard also feels privileged to become a part of the Easter Seals Hawai‘i ‘ohana.

“The organization is playing a vital role in the community, providing services, programs and outreach to those most in need.” Blanchard said. “I look forward to joining the tradition of selfless service to children, teens and adults with disabilities and special needs.”

Blanchard served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 26 years, with his most recent position as civilian Chief of Staff for Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i in Kane‘ohe for five years.

Prior to Blanchard’s civilian post he held the rank of Colonel as Director of Plans, Policies and International Affairs for Marine Forces throughout the Pacific as principal advisor to the Commanding General.

Following his graduation from James Madison University in 1979, Blanchard began his professional career as a counselor for the juvenile court in Fredericksburg, Va.

Blanchard has successfully worked with communities to achieve philanthropic goals, including serving as chair for the Marine Corps League Aloha Detachment scholarship program and commander of a reserve training center in Tampa, Fla., that included partnerships with “Toys for Tots” and “Stamp Out Hunger.”

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods names Henshaw senior staff forester

HONOLULU — John R. Henshaw has joined Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods as senior staff forester for the company’s forest programs.

Henshaw has more than three decades of expertise in forestry, conservation, forest fire management and forest engineering.

His role is to advise HLH on operations and to design and implement long-term growth and yield studies for their plantations.

Henshaw has amassed his wealth of knowledge in forestry through working in research and operations with the U.S. Forest Service, and with nonprofit conservation organizations.

An expert in land conservation and forestland management, he served on the boards for several nonprofit and for profit organizations including the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i and the Napa County Land Trust.

Henshaw’s prior positions include many assignments in forestry and engineering at the field level and many senior management positions in operation unit management as district ranger and program management at both the regional and national level for the U.S. Forest Service.

Four years ago, he retired from the agency with 32 years of experience and spent the past three years working in nonprofit conservation in Hawai‘i.

Henshaw holds a bachelor of science in forestry from Humboldt State University and a master of science in logging engineering from Oregon State University.

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