The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is an independent, nonprofit research and educational institution devoted to promoting the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited and accountable government throughout the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. Through the publication of accurate and timely research and commentaries, as well as by organizing events, conferences, and seminars, the Institute seeks to educate and inform Hawaii’s policy-makers, news media and the public at large on key public policy issues. Founded in 2001, the Institute’s research and education efforts have helped provide the intellectual foundations for many public policy debates.
While Grassroot functions as a thought leader, it is just as committed to promoting action through practical change for the good of society. In the spirit of “E Hana Kakou/ Let’s work together!”, the Institute strives to unite Hawaii’s people to work together for a better economy, government and society. To maintain its role as an independent voice and watchdog, the Grassroot Institute refuses to accept funding from the local, state or federal governments. As an I.R.S. 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, the Grassroot Institute is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates or parties.
Grassroot Institute is proud to be a member of the State Policy Network, the nation’s leading network of state-based think tanks.
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Board of Directors
Chairman & Founder
Richard O. Rowland, a graduate of Texas A&M University (BS) and Columbia University (MA) came to Hawaii in 1971 as a key officer on the PACOM staff. Retiring as a Colonel in 1975, he was a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual for 26 years before co-founding Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
Mr. Rowland is a former life member of the MDRT, former President of the Hawaii Society of CLU, twice candidate for the U.S. Senate and once for the Honolulu City Council, a former member of the Small Business Hawaii Board of Directors, and the 1997 SBH Small Business Person of the Year.
Mr. Rowland is married to Marie with three grown children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Keli’i Akina, PH.D.
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii. Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government. An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University. Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, garnering more than 93,000 votes in the 2014 General Election run-off.
Eddy “Ed” Kemp
For more than 30 years, Ed Kemp has been President and CEO of E.N. Kemp & Associates, a firm providing various business and financial consulting services. In recent years the firm has specialized in business appraisals, valuation consulting and litigation support.
Prior to founding E.N. Kemp & Associates, Ed held the position of Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for the Estate of James Campbell and before that was a Manager in the Tax Department of KPMG, Hawaii’s largest public accounting firm.
Ed came to Hawaii in 1965 after graduation from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He moved to Kaneohe from Kailua in 1967 and has been active in various community and business organizations over the years. He has been married for more than 50 years (to the same woman) and has three adult children and six grandchildren.
In addition to being on the Board of Directors of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Gilbert Collins is currently Director of the Capital Research Center in Washington, DC and The Independent Institute in Oakland, CA. He lives in Hawaii and California and is also a Trustee of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Robert W. “Bill” Hastings II
Bill is an attorney with the firm of Hastings and Laun LLLC located in Kamuela (Waimea), Hawaii His practice is limited to estate planning and related matters. Originally from Wyoming, he graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BA in political science and math in 1968, then spent six years on active duty in the navy. He moved to Honolulu after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1977, then moved to the Big Island in 1983. Bill is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Council. He currently serves on the Board of the North Hawaii Community Hospital and as a co-trustee of the Anna Ranch Charitable Trust.
Mark has been self-employed since 1988 as an independent consultant to small businesses, specializing in computer systems design, software selection, installation, and training. Prior work experience included positions as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of Monarch Asphalt Co., an asphalt paving and material supply contractor in the Chicago area.
Mark earned a Master of Business Administration degree at The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois in 1982. His undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering awarded in 1978 at The Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois.
Mark and his wife Mirella were married in 1983 and they have been residents of Honolulu since 1989.
Born and raised on Oahu, Robin Stueber is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of Oregon. Currently she is the account executive for Experian Information Solutions in Hawaii. Robin has been involved with the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii since its founding and has supported the organization in administration, fundraising, and event planning.
Robin’s diverse background includes sales and consulting in the financial services, medical and technology industries. She is a past board member of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Pilot Foundation of Hawaii, and has been active in numerous community, charity and professional organizations.
Jonathan S. Durrett is a senior partner of Durrett, Ma & Lang, LLLP and lifetime Island resident. His practice concentrates in real estate transactions, environmental counseling, land use entitlements and exempt organizations.
Mr. Durrett represents a variety of developers and landowners, as well as financial institutions with interests in Hawaii. He also acts as general counsel to Brigham Young University’s Hawaii campus situated on Oahu’s North Shore.
Mr. Durrett sits on national committees of the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section and has served as a court appointed arbitrator since 1987. He is also the Hawaii Chapter Chair of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.