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Big Pans for the Big Island

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Sorry, for not having been around lately, been really busy these days but will hopefully be able to pop in more often soon enough.

Here's some big news for the Big Island of Hawaii...I'm not sure if this willl ever come into fruition but if it does, it will generate a lot of jobs and high paying ones at that!

Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin


A high-tech startup company wants to open a 50,000-square-foot computing center at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai'i Authority on the Big Island that it says would create 150 high-paying jobs by the end of this year.

The NELHA board of directors agreed earlier this month to lease Megasoft 10 acres for a proposed high-performance computing center that can provide information technology services to companies outside Hawai'i. The company said it wants to begin operations by year's end, adding it ultimately plans to create 4,000 jobs within five years paying an average annual salary of $90,000.

However, Megasoft Chief Executive Venumadhav Pasupuleti could face several hurdles in accomplishing that goal, including securing $7 million in initial project funding and finding scores of people with the high-tech skills Megasoft needs.

"I can't say that he can do it, but I can say that someone that comes here with a new idea should be given an opportunity to see what they can do," said NELHA Chief Executive Ron Baird. "I think we need to support alternative kinds of jobs. I think that's really darned significant for us as a state."

NELHA was established in the 1970s as a research facility for ocean thermal energy conversion and since has become a center for aquaculture research and bottled deep-sea water bottling. NELHA currently is home to about 30 tenants who use the facility for commercial and research purposes. Many of the tenants take advantage of pipelines that bring up cold seawater from depths of up to 3,000 feet.

Megasoft wants to use that seawater to provide air conditioning needed to keep its computers cool. The company also hopes to take advantage of the state's generous technology tax credit program and the central Pacific geographic location.

Potential Megasoft clients include the commercial, government, education, healthcare, financial and service sectors, Pasupuleti wrote in an e-mail to The Advertiser.

"Our Megasoft business model leverages technical advances in communication and information technology to provide outsourced information technology and other business process services to our clients," he said. "Megasoft allows clients to focus on their core businesses and participate in ultra-high-performance information technology.

"Ultimately, Megasoft clients avoid costly equipment investments and technological obsolescence, reduce their operating costs, eliminate costly office space and improve security and disaster recovery capability."

Megasoft has hired Koa Architects in Waimea to design its new building, which will be constructed by Hilo's Isemoto Contracting, Pasupuleti said. The company also has partnered with the University of Hawai'i's Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development and the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board.

"We hope to fill as many positions as possible on-island, and we are partnering and supporting Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and its Kamaaina Come Home program to repatriate workers who previously moved away in search of technology jobs to here in Kona," Pasupuleti said.

Mark McGuffie, executive director for the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, said Megasoft's plans will pose workforce availability challenges.

"One, it's exciting, and two, it's a concern," he said.

Maurice Kaya, chief technology officer at the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, sat in on a Megasoft presentation to NELHA in February. He said he did not know enough about Megasoft to comment on the viability of the company's plans.

"It's a very ambitious proposal," Kaya said. "If it can be achieved in any way, that's a significant opportunity for economic development."

However, if history is any indication, NELHA tenants typically have not delivered on ambitious plans, Baird said.

"Most have fallen exceptionally short of doing what they originally said they would do," Baird said.

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