State Transportation Director Honored with Prestigious National Award

Brennon Morioka
article top
Brennon Morioka

HONOLULU – The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has honored state Department of Transportation (DOT) Director Brennon Morioka, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, with the Civil Government Award, which recognizes members of the engineering profession who have rendered meritorious service in elected or appointed positions in government.

“I am surprised and deeply humbled by this honor,” Morioka said.  “This award is really a validation of the hard work the DOT staff has done in serving the public, and I am proud to accept the Civil Government Award on behalf of our entire team.”


“Brennon is highly driven and very committed,” said Jeff Kalani, president of the Hawai‘i chapter of ASCE.  “It’s great that he’s taking his leadership skills and engineering background and applying it into the local government.  He is making a big difference in Hawai‘i and is a deserving recipient.”

Morioka has been with the DOT since 2005, when he served as deputy director, Highways Division.  In 2007, Governor Linda Lingle appointed him director, overseeing and managing the state’s 15 airports, 10 commercial harbors and approximately 2,500 lane miles of roadway across Hawai‘i.

Under his leadership, the DOT Airports Division is implementing a 12-year, $2.3 billion Airports Modernization Plan to improve airport infrastructure, increase capacity and enhance the traveler experience.  The Harbors Division is also pushing a six-year, $618 million Harbor Modernization Plan, which is highly significant since Hawai‘i imports 80 percent of all goods consumed and 98 percent of these imported goods enters the state’s harbors.  Morioka also spent the past two legislative sessions proposing a $4 billion highways modernization plan for a much-needed upgrade to the state’s roadway system to help ease congestion and make the highways safer for motorists.

“The Airports and Harbors Modernization Programs are two of the largest infrastructure investments our state has ever seen.  I’m fortunate to have been able to work with partners and stakeholders that collectively believe in the value of investing in our state’s infrastructure,” said Morioka.

Governor Lingle recognized Morioka during a ceremony in her chambers today.  The National Chapter of ASCE will honor Morioka at an awards ceremony in Las Vegas in October.

”Brennon has been committed to improving Hawai‘i’s transportation systems, using innovative solutions and strategic partnerships that involve collaboration with county and federal governments, the private sector and the community,” said Governor Lingle.  “Brennon is an exceptional engineer, a dedicated public servant and an inspirational leader who has motivated his staff to move forward on crucial transportation infrastructure modernization plans that will position Hawai‘i for the future.  He is an outstanding role model for our youth and a good example of the positive impact a career in engineering can have on our community.”

This is only the second time ASCE has given this award to a professional in Hawai‘i.  Former State Transportation Director Edward Hirata received this honor in 1988.

Morioka is involved with numerous community and government organizations such as the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, the Konishiki Kids Foundation, and others.

Over the years, Morioka has been recognized for his outstanding leadership, hard work and dedication to his industry and community.  He was among Pacific Business News’ Forty Under 40 in 2009 and also received numerous awards including the Bike to Work Complete Streets Hero Award and Hawai‘i’s Young Engineer of the Year Award.

Morioka received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  He obtained both his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and is also an ‘Iolani School graduate.  Morioka and his wife, Jeanine, have three young children (7-year-old daughter Taysia and 5-year-old twin boys Brayden and Bronson) for whom he credits his commitment to public service.

“We always do what we do for those we cherish the most, and that is our children.  Knowing Hawai‘i’s children will benefit from what we do makes our job a whole lot easier,” said Morioka.

Submitted by the governor’s office