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PCC appoints BYUH alumnus to new executive position

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Mike Foley | University Relations | 10 January 2009

The Polynesian Cultural Center Board of Directors has appointed BYU-Hawaii alumnus P. Alfred Grace ['88, Travel Management; pictured at left] of Laie as its first-ever Chief Operating Officer (COO), PCC President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Von D. Orgill announced at a company "team meeting" on January 9 in the IMAX™ Theater. Grace had previously been serving as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.

"He'll be responsible for day-to-day operations of the Center," President Orgill said. He also explained the appointment is part of an executive reorganization that includes several other changes:

Given the economic challenges the visitor industry currently faces, the board has asked President Orgill to focus more of his attention on "leading the exploration of future possibilities for the Center": He said Grace's promotion will enable him to consider "what kind of things might we do to build upon all of the good things we've done, what things might we consider that will help preserve the well-being of the Center and our mission"

David Ralph will succeed Greg Gollaher as the PCC's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) when Gollaher completes his three-year commitment in March.

President Orgill praised Gollaher for the "significant contributions" he has made in controlling the Center's assets and creating much-needed systems of financial stability. "We express our deep appreciation to him for all that he has done."

He also said Ralph is currently the Vice President of Finance and Accounting for Seaboard Marine Ltd., a $940 million company based in Miami, Florida, with business operations in 38 countries. The PCC controller (Larry Yuen), Chief Information Officer (Fred Camit), and Purchasing (Jay Akoi) — all BYUH alumni — will report to Ralph.

With Grace leaving day-to-day management of the Center's Sales & Marketing departments, Raymond Magalei has been given expanded responsibilities as the Center's Director of Marketing; Alan Walker will serve as Director of Sales; and Francis Ho Ching will serve as Senior Manager of Sales.

The PCC Sales & Marketing team will continue to report to Grace in his new position, as will Operations (Logo Apelu), Human Resources (John Muaina), In-Center Marketing (Elder Powell and Kealii Haverly) and Protocol (Bobby Akoi). All are also headed by BYU-Hawaii alumni.

President Orgill noted that Grace and Ralph will report directly to him.

"I'm excited to work in this area, from the point that it's exciting to work with very capable people. It's a great opportunity," remarked Grace, a Maori originally from Turangi, New Zealand, who came to BYU-Hawaii from Wellington in the 1980s on a rugby scholarship. After serving in the New Zealand North Mission, he returned to school where he also worked as a sales guide in Reservations, and then worked with the PCC's Sales & Marketing team in the Waikiki Sales Office for the next 20-plus years.

Grace is married to Valerie Enos of Laie, and the couple has three daughters. He previously served as bishop of a BYUH married student ward and was recently released as bishop of the Laie 6th Ward.

"As I've said many times before in my roles for sales and marketing, as much as you advertise and spend money on commissions, the primary driver for any attraction is the attraction itself. So, I'm excited to build upon what we have and become and make it even better than what it is now. That's the directive I've been given in this new responsibility."

"I'm excited as well for what the future's going to hold for us all," responded President Orgill. He also reminded the PCC team members of the remarks Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve made last April to members of the BYUH/PCC Presidents' Leadership Council — who make significant donations to the two institutions, when Elder Ballard said:

"After many years of relative calm, we are now going into what I think are some very turbulent times... I have felt that those who had a vision for this university, President Joseph F. Smith, President David O. McKay and others, must have seen way beyond the Polynesian parts of the Church. They must have seen that there was a destiny for the university and the Polynesian Cultural Center that would move far beyond their original purposes."

"I think we're going to need all of the support, help and resources we can muster to prepare BYU-Hawaii and PCC to carry the gospel into the four corners of the earth, into the parts of the world where over 60 percent of our Heavenly Father's children live. I think we have a tremendous opportunity and obligation to love and appreciate what is occurring and what can occur in Hawaii."

"I pray that the Lord will bless you that you will be able to do whatever is necessary to have that kind of leadership."

President Orgill added that's the kind of leadership PCC team members need to "deal with the challenges we're facing, to deal with the hard realities that are a part of our everyday experience, and still move forward in getting the Lord's work done."

"He's asking us to rise up, and continue to stand up to be the kind of individuals, the kinds of leaders, the kinds of sons and daughters of God that can make it happen, no matter what's going on around us," he continued.

"Everything that we're talking about today and the realignment is nothing more than our effort to position ourselves to better do what he's asking us to do."

— Photo by Mike Foley