Alumnus Encourages Preparation for Natural Disasters

Punahou Communication Staff

Ted Okada ’78 returned to Punahou to discuss issues around recent hurricanes and the projected impacts on Honolulu from these major storms. A member of the Senior Executive Service and FEMA’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Okada is responsible for leading the technology strategy and direction for a wide variety of mission outcomes. He supported and developed programs in Uganda, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Haiti, DR Congo, Albania, Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Pakistan, Guatemala and the Philippines.

During a public evening event on Thursday, Oct. 25, at Dillingham Hall, Okada shared his experience working in the public sector with more than 300 people in attendance. Along with giving a precautionary warning about the threat of destructive flooding along O‘ahu’s coastlines during a major weather disaster, he urged attendees to be prepared, both individually and as a community. Okada also spoke of his gratitude for his Punahou teachers, particularly for retired U.S. history teacher Bob Torrey.

The following day, Okada spoke with eighth-grade social studies, Academy Capstone science, JROTC and computer science students and inspired them to consider using their talents in public service, sciences, engineering and data analytics. He encouraged them to pursue their passions to create meaningful careers for themselves and to help Hawai’i prepare for and respond to future disasters.

“It’s an honor to come back to Punahou and help to spur a conversation on building a culture of preparedness in the Islands,” Okada said. “Maybe this will inspire future community involvement around what natural disaster preparedness looks like and how Honolulu and Hawai‘i can increase its strength and resilience to these events.”