Pacific Marine Celebrates 70 Years

Steven Loui beamed and glowed as he looked over a large crowd at Pier 41. It was a diverse group made up of engineers, politicians, dignitaries, customers and families.

Steven’s father Fred would have been very proud.

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Loui celebrates with Mom Alyce Loui

“We’ve been here at Pier 41 for 30 years, so it’s appropriate that we had this celebration at the shipyard,” says an excited Loui, president of Pacific Marine & Supply Co. “Even though we’ve diversified, the core of the company has always been ship repair. This is a special day!”

Loui and nearly 1,000 employees, family and friends recently celebrated the company’s 70th anniversary with a grand party at its shipyard at Kapalama Military Reservation.

The original plan was to host the party at the company’s 50,000-square-foot dry dock, but duty called.

“The barge that recently ran aground on Kauai needed immediate repair,” explains Loui. “We had to reorganize and move the party to a different area in the yard. But that’s why we exist, to take care of the customer. A job like this reinforces that we have the capability to do what we need to when you need us to do it.”

The celebration marked seven decades of diversification and innovation in Hawaii and the start of a new chapter for the local-grown company.

“Honolulu Harbor’s redevelopment plan has us relocating to another area within a year, so this was like a farewell party for our company from the area,” says Loui. “We’ve been here for so long you get used to it, but we’ll be moving to a bigger and better facility.”

Pacific Marine was founded as a ship-repair company in 1944 by Steven’s father, Fred H. M. Loui, and initially serviced Navy ships during World War II. Today, it is diversified with a family of companies, more than 500 employees and annual sales exceeding $75 million.

“It’s been pretty historic to have this facility in operation,” says Loui, a graduate of Kaimuki High School and Stanford University. “We’re one of the last tenants here, everybody else is gone except us and University of Hawaii. A year from now, all of this will be a container yard.”

While Pacific Marine still bends steel and repairs military and commercial ships through Pacific Shipyards International, the largest commercial dry docking company in Hawaii, it also is made up of several subsidiaries. Its marine and construction companies include Unitek Environmental Services, Unitek Electronics and Unitek Computer Services, and HSI Mechanical specializes in mechanical system retrofitting to improve energy efficiency and conservation in hotels, commercial and government buildings.

“I believe Dad saw this happening because he had amazing vision for the future,” says Loui. “As soon as he started, he knew there were opportunities for diversification. I’ve just been executing his game plan. A lot of old-timers who knew my father say he was pretty remarkable. I would have to agree.”

Pacific Marine also is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its subsidiary Navatek Ltd., a leader in Hawaii’s emerging high-technology industry. Loui says Navatek has invested more than $50 million of its own capital and employs proprietary software to design, model and test advanced ship hull forms for the U.S. Navy and the commercial market. It owns more than 25 U.S. and foreign patents on its technologies.

Loui says he is excited about the company’s next 70 years.

“Part of my speech was to thank everyone and maritime companies that buy local and use our services not only when they need us, but for everyday local business,” says Loui. “Maintaining these facilities is very hard and very expensive, and we know when you buy local it costs more. I really have a lot of aloha for people who buy local because when you do, you’re supporting local jobs and our communities.”

rkmizutani@gmail.com