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Success Stories

Danny Boren, Skyline Eco-Adventures LLC, 2015 Business Person of the Year, Maui County

Started in 2002 as the first commercial zipline tour operation in Hawaii and the U.S., Skyline Eco-Adventures LLC launched a new outdoor phenomenon with a cumulative economic punch of $40 million in Hawaii alone. The tours feature professional guides to escort guests along multiple ziplines, remote hikes, and offer captivating information about Hawaii's unique environment and culture. Now, with operations on the islands of Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, Danny Boren, owner of Skyline Eco-Adventures, remains an innovator, conducting significant research and development in safety equipment and practices, and a much sought after consultant across the nation. 

In 2015, Danny Boren won Small Business Person of the Year, Maui County. Nominated by Alvin Santander, Bank of Hawaii.

Pictured: Danny Boren.

Russell Ruderman, Isalnd Naturals companies, 2015 Small Business Person of the Year, State of Hawaii

Russell Ruderman, president of the Island Naturals companies, had an expansive vision of success. Riding the momentum of healthy, natural and organic food trends, he established locations in Hilo, Pahoa and Kailua Kona and has become the “go-to” source for produce, prepared food items, and nutritional supplements. The company employs 150 people and sales have increased more than 40% over the last three years. The Island Naturals companies have also been honored as the Best Health Food Store for 9 years on Hawaii Island, inspiring customers and businesses with its healthy offerings and environmentally conscious operations. Russell is also an involved citizen and community activist who has supported fair trade, food safety and other initiatives. He was also elected to the State Senate in 2014. 

In 2015, Russell Ruderman won Small Business of the Year for the State of Hawaii. Nominated by Keene Fujinaka, Bank of Hawaii.

Pictured: Russell Ruderman.

Jean Jeremiah with nominator Naomi Masuno, 2015 Small Business Advocate for Minority Business - State of Hawaii

In her role as administrator of SCORE Hawaii, Jean Jeremiah matches entrepreneurs with SBA's volunteer mentors to promote the education, growth and success of Hawaii small businesses. She established outreach locations at Oahu Worklinks, Kapiolani Community College, in Kapolei and on Maui, and has worked with various community groups to plan and conduct training and network events. She has assisted more than 75 individuals with obtaining financing through SBA's pilot Community Express program, and helped to establish the SCORE Women's Initiative, a mentoring project specifically designed for women in any stage of business ownership.

In 2015, Jean Jeremiah won Small Business Advocate for Minority Business for the State of Hawaii. Nominated by Naomi Masuno, Bank of Hawaii.

Pictured: Jean Jeremiah and Naomi Masuno.

Robert Stehlik, Blue Planet Surf Gear LLC, 2015 Small Business Exporter of the Year - State of Hawaii

Blue Planet Surf Gear LLC was found in 1993 by Robert Stehlik as a clothing line selling to customers in Hawaii and Japan. Starting with apparel sales at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, the company debuted its first store in Maui in 1995, followed by a second location at Aloha Tower Marketplace, and a third on Kapahulu Avenue. The Ward Avenue shop opened in 2010 and marked a change in the small business’ strategic direction to focus on the manufacturing and sale of surfboards and stand up paddle boards. Now recognized as the stand up paddle board headquarters for locals and tourists alike, Blue Planet Surf provides rentals lessons, clinics and repairs, and generates revenues that have increased 57% since 2013.

In 2015, representing Blue Planet Surf Gear LLC, Robert Shelik won Small Business Exporter for the State of Hawaii. Nominated by Anne Blasque and Jared Kashiwabara, Bank of Hawaii.

Pictured: Robert Stehlik.