By Ben Yuan, PMP, Professional Development Director and Dave Grady, PMP, Awards Committee Lead


The Honolulu Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) presented its awards for Project of the Year and for Project Manager of the Year at its 2018 Annual Meeting on November 16th at Oahu Country Club. The award for Project of the Year went to Curt Rutola for leading Hawaiian Electric’s ERP/EAM Implementation Project. The Project Manager of the Year went to Aman Kaur, PMP, Hawaiian Airlines Sr. Project Manager.


PMI Honolulu’s “Project of the Year” is awarded to the Hawaii project manager whose exemplary project management practices and team leadership helped overcome obstacles and ensure project success.

2018 Project of the Year winner:  Curt Rutola, ERP/EAM Implementation, Hawaiian Electric

As Enterprise Project/Program Consultant for HECO, Curt Rutola demonstrated excellence in project leadership. The main objectives of his ERP/EAM implementation project were to address vendor risk and technical obsolesces of the existing legacy ERP systems.  Beyond mere replacement, the project represented an opportunity to implement an integrated platform to enable strategic transformation at Hawaiian Electric.


The project utilized standard PMI project management practices coupled with SAP’s implementation methodology called “ASAP”.  Hawaiian Electric expects that the although the primary outcome is a new integrated technology platform, that the need for process optimization and benefits realization are really the long term strategic outcomes desired. It was truly a massive effort across the organization. Congratulations Curt for his effective leadership and management! 

Runner up in this category was Rhonda Spenner for driving the Hawaiian Airlines’ Hangar Move Logistics project to successful completion.  The primary objective her initiative was to move over 1100 Hawaiian Airlines employees in eight departments from multiple locations including the old hangar facilities (after being there 50+ years) – all without allowing any delay in the airlines’ operations or flight schedules. 

A third finalist was Aman Kaur for leading Hawaiian Airlines’ A321neo Entry-Into-Service Readiness project.  The goal of this project was to ensure that 25+ departments were ready for the first A321neo aircraft delivery by training employees, passing FAA certification tests and starting revenue service within 90 days of receiving the first aircraft.



PMI Honolulu “Project Manager of the Year” is awarded to the Hawaii project manager who best represents the chapter’s dedication to outstanding performance, effective leadership, advancement of the profession, and project best practices.


2018 Project Manager of the Year winner: Aman Kaur, PMP, Hawaiian Airlines

Three finalists were recognized for their nominations as Project Manager of the Year. Aman of Hawaiian Airlines (winner), Leschon Serrano of Kamehameha Schools (Runner-Up) and Ellyse Mazzi of Hawaiian Electric (finalist).  The 2018 award went to Aman Kaur.



Aman’s nomination from her colleague Chuck Coleman highlighted her ability to lead projects with a focus on building a great team environment while ensuring technical project requirements are met.  She believes relationship management is a key component for developing a good team to achieve a common goal, despite conflicting priorities and interests.  Congrats Aman!


Project of the Year. This year, the criteria shifted somewhat to focus on a common-sense understanding of an impressive project:

  • a significant mission
  • well-coordinated efforts
  • significant challenges overcome
  • best practices employed
  • faithful achievement of anticipated scope, schedule, and cost.


Evaluations were based not only on a 5-page application form but also such required artifacts as a project charter, schedule, risk register, and lessons learned for each candidate project.

To witness the applications and excellent project management done here in Hawaii, you may view the finalist submissions (available to chapter members only):


Project of the Year:



Project Manager of the Year: Criteria for this award remained largely unchanged from previous years:

  • Outstanding performance
  • Team leadership
  • Best practices
  • Advancement of profession


In addition to the standard application form, this year’s contest also required supporting documentation including a current resume and 1-4 professional testimonials.

To witness all finalists’ applications and project management artefacts, you may view finalist submissions (available to chapter members only):

Project Manager of the Year:



Judging of all candidates was done completely outside the local chapter by PMI senior chapter leaders from around the world who served as volunteer judges. These international judges conducted a structured evaluation process to select the finalists and ultimate winners of each award.

This years PMI HNL awards committee consisted of Dave Grady (Committee Lead), Christian Gonzalez, and Ben Yuan.

Questions or inquiries may be directed to Professional Development Director.