Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation appoints new executive director : Maui Now


Dean Minakami was unanimously appointed by the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation Board of Directors to serve as the organizationʻs executive director.

Minakami, a lifelong planner, has been with Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation since 2019.

The board vote elevates Minakami from his interim executive director position, which began March 31 following the resignation of predecessor Denise Iseri-Matsubara, who stepped down to take a position with the City and County of Honolulu.


A Permitted Interaction Group consisting of three of the nine board members was tasked with undertaking recruitment for a permanent executive director. Following extensive public advertising for the position, approximately 25 candidates submitted resumes.

The group reviewed the resumes, prioritizing those best able to meet the major duties and responsibilities of the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation executive director. Following completion of the review of the resumes, the group determined that Minakami was the most qualified for the position.

“Mr. Minakami was the clear, standout candidate,” said Gary Mackler, Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation chair. “Dean is not only highly respected; his extensive public and private sector experience makes him uniquely qualified to lead HHFDC.”


James Kunane Tokioka, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said he saw first-hand Minakami’s effective leadership in August when the organization was able to quickly stand up the Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program, which to date has helped more than 500 displaced Maui families and individuals.

Minakami started with organization as its Development Section chief in Jan. 2019 and he became Development Branch chief in Oct. 2020. Minakami has worked with some of Hawaiʻi’s largest development and planning firms and helped guide a number of major projects including Koa Ridge in Central Oʻahu.

Prior to joining the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation, he was a senior planner for A&B Properties Hawaiʻi.


Minakami has been a project manager with planning firm PBR Hawaiʻi, Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaiʻi and Wilson Okamoto. He was a policy analyst for the City and County of Honolulu’s Office of Council Services.

Minakami received his master’s degree in urban and regional planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he also attained a bachelorʻs degree in economics. He is a past president of the American Planning Association, Hawaiʻi chapter.


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