Board of Directors

Dennis Gibson

Dennis Gibson, Chair

Booz Allen Hamilton Hawaii

Dennis Gibson is a Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton. Dennis leads the firm’s business in the Pacific Rim. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, he serves U.S. government clients in defense and civil agencies throughout the region including Guam, Singapore, Korea, Japan, and Alaska. He is responsible for providing clients with a wide range of services across all of the firm’s capabilities including technology, analytics, strategy and organization, and engineering and operations.

Prior to his career at the firm, Dennis served 24 years in the U.S. military. He then took on the role of vice president for program management and government business development for a small IT company. He has served as a consultant to the Army Science Board, participating in several key summer studies. He currently serves as a board member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association international.

Dennis also served on the National Guard Bureau Wargame Team, National Guard Pathways to the Future, and Revolution in Military Affairs. Additionally, he served on the United States Military Academy Selection Committee for U.S. Senator Rick Santorum from 1999-2004.

Edward Ontai, Vice Chair

Edward Ontai, Vice Chair


Eddie Ontai is the President of DataHouse, Hawaii’s premier technology consulting firm. Before joining DataHouse to implement groundbreaking IT solutions for Hawaii’s industry leaders, he served as the Vice President of Administration for Catholic Charities Hawaii. A past board member of Legacy of Life Hawaii, the Oahu Workforce Investment Board, and Healthcare Financial Management Association, Eddie’s 25 years of professional management experience span from the corporate world to nonprofit service and community advancement. He holds a B.S. in accounting from Loyola Marymount University and previously held business development positions at St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii and the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific.

Vassilis Syrmos, Vice Chair

Vassilis Syrmos, Vice Chair

University of Hawai’i System

As Vice President for Research and Innovation of the University of Hawai’i System, Vassilis L. Syrmos is charged with providing critical leadership and coordination of systemwide research and innovation efforts, including management and direction of UH’s research support, technology transfer and many compliance functions. One of his priorities will be to support significant growth in research through the University of Hawai’i Innovation Initiative, which seeks to increase the state’s research enterprise over the next decade.

Dr. Syrmos has previously served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. In that capacity, he has worked on a range of projects including developing major research facilities such as the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE Hale), the state’s only laboratory to be rated LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum.

Since 1991, he has been with the department of electrical engineering at UH Mānoa, where he is a professor. He has also served as the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering. He spent a sabbatical leave at The Boeing Company as a research fellow. His interests include geometric and algebraic approaches in linear system theory, computational algorithms methods for signal and image processing, robust/optimal filter design in systems, medical imaging, and prognostics and diagnostics methods related to condition based maintenance systems.

Dr. Syrmos is the author/coauthor of more than 100 journal and conference papers and the book Optimal Control, 2nd edition, John Wiley, 1995. He was an associate editor of Circuits, Systems and Signal Processing.

He has served in numerous international conferences in technical program committees, editorial boards and organizing committees. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Air Force Research Labs at Wright Patterson, the Army Research Labs, The Boeing Company, Hawaiian Electric Company and Hamamatsu Photonics.

Dr. Syrmos has been a consultant for the Canada France Hawai’i Telescope (CFHT), Innovative Solutions (Nova-Sol), Science Technology International (STI) and others. He is a Boeing AD Welliver Fellow, a member of the advisory board of Hawai’i Technology Development Venture program, a member of the Sigma Xi research organization and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

He is a board member of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawai’i (RCUH), the Pacific International Center of High Technology Research (PICHTR), Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i Authority (NELHA), the Hawai’i Academy of Sciences (HAS), O’ahu Economic Development Board (OEDB), and XLR8UH, the University of Hawai’i’s first proof of concept accelerator.

Dr. Syrmos obtained his PhD at Georgia Institute of Technology in electrical engineering and a diploma in electrical engineering from Democritus University of Thrace, Greece.

Matt Freeman, Secretary

Hawaiian Telcom

Matt Freeman is the Director of Information Security at Hawaiian Telcom and also oversees the Managed Security Services team. He has over 18 years of experience developing and implementing IT solutions for businesses in Hawaii. He is currently focused on creating customized security solutions for Hawaii’s businesses.

Prior to joining Hawaiian Telcom 2012, he was the operations manager at Integration Technologies and the vice president of operations of Lava Net.  Mr. Freeman is a graduate of the University of Hawaii.

Richard Wacker, Treasurer

Richard Wacker, Treasurer

American Savings Bank

Rich Wacker is the President & Chief Executive Officer of American Savings Bank (ASB), the third largest financial institution in Hawaii serving consumer and commercial customers across the state. ASB works to make people’s dreams possible, and has been consistently recognized as a Best Place to Work in Hawaii and as one of the Best Banks to Work For nationally.

Active in the community, Rich serves in leadership positions on several non-profit boards including the Hawaii Business Roundtable (Chair); Child & Family Service (past Chair); University of Hawai‘i Foundation (Vice-Chair); Chaminade University (Board of Regents); UH—Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship; UH‘s XLR8UH accelerator program and the Hawaii Bankers Association.

Prior to joining ASB, Rich was Chairman and CEO of Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), a $90 billion Korean commercial bank and leader in trade finance that operated in 22 countries. Rich led KEB through a successful turnaround in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, and in 2008 Rich was recognized as one of Korea’s “Most Respected CEOs.”

Rich also enjoyed a 20-year career with General Electric (GE). He was a company officer and held a wide range of senior leadership positions, based in the U.S. and Europe, with GE Capital, GE Medical Systems, and the corporate headquarters. He joined GE after earning a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri.

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