28 Jun Fred Torres is KBRA’s New ‘Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali’
Fred Torres, Hotel Operations Manager at Kā‘anapali Ali‘i, has been named by the Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association as a “Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali.” Torres is one of many “shining stars” who act as ambassadors of KBRA’s public relations campaign, which launched in July 2018. The campaign highlights Kā‘anapali’s best and brightest individuals and shares their stories with media, thereby increasing the public’s understanding and interest in this dynamic area.
As Kā‘anapali Ali‘i’s hotel operations manager, Torres oversees seven department managers along with their respective employees, more than 100 people in all. Along with his daily duties responding to owners’, guests’ and employees’ needs, he also fulfills the important role of Hawaiian Cultural Advisor for the resort, sharing Hawaiian values and language, telling stories and giving ‘ukulele lessons.
In 2010, Torres started the annual “First Light – E ala e! Hi‘uwai,” which takes place on New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday on the beach in front of Kaanapali Alii. In the stillness before dawn, Torres leads guests and the public through this purification ritual, wading into the warm ocean while releasing problems and stress. His greatest “chicken skin moment” came during the very first Hi‘uwai, when the beach glistened with a blue moon set over the ocean. After the ceremony, a gentleman approached Torres with tears flowing down his face and thanked him for the healing, which he said he needed greatly after losing his mother, grandmother and wife.
It’s those kind of moments that would make Torres’s own mother proud. As a widow raising four boys in housing in Kalihi, O‘ahu, she always taught her sons the importance of caring for other people and having a heart filled with aloha. Maybe that’s why Torres’s 30-year career has always centered on hospitality.
His first job at age 17 was as a steward (dishwasher) at the Halekulani luxury hotel in Waikiki. Just a year later, he was promoted to Honor Bar Manager, overseeing six employees. His career expanded from there to include resorts like Sheraton, Westin, Kaimana Beach Hotel, and The Ritz-Carlton, in management positions such as Food and Beverage Cost Controller, Chief Steward, Food and Beverage Analyst, Human Resources Manager, Employee Relations Manager, Assistant Director of Human Resources, and Corporate Director of Human Resources.
Over the past ten years, Fred has been both a student and teacher of Hawaiian cultural practices, studying chant and culture with some of Hawai‘i’s leading kūmu. He was instrumental in the development of a “Hawaiian Sense of Place” program in continuing education and training at UH-Maui College.
Torres loves to make a difference in his work at Kā‘anapali Ali‘i; whether providing “what to do” information to guests, resolving an issue or complaint, talking story to newcomers, or giving an‘ukulele lesson. Sharing ukulele music is one of his favorite ways to reach out to the community, especially during weekly volunteerism at Hale Makua in Wailuku. He has also been known to give away the T-shirt off his back, plus another 120 dozen! In 2014, Torres owned a T-shirt company called BraddahMan. After seeing a segment on the news about giving to the homeless through the Lokahi Program, he donated his entire inventory, size 3 months to 5X.
When he’s not working or volunteering, you’ll likely find Torres at the Kā‘anapali Golf Courses, promoting his training aid invention which was recently introduced to the PGA world this past January. His invention was awarded a patent in March 2017.
Following the “work hard, play harder” philosophy of his mentor Chip Bahouth, Torres enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, his son Pomaika‘i and his two granddaughters, Laci-Mae and Kayli-Sky Torres.
“Fred Torres is an outstanding example of one of our Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali,” says KBRA Executive Director Shelley Kekuna. “He is dedicated to service, promotes excellence in himself and others, and has a generous and giving spirit in all he does.”
Nā Hōkū O’ Kā‘anapali embody several essential qualities: they are well-respected in the Kā‘anapali community; they are 100-percent committed to serving the area; and they are at the top of their game in their professional fields. They are also fascinating individuals with unique interests—and their respect for Hawaiian culture runs deep.
Throughout the year, KBRA introduces and celebrates our Nā Hōkū with media events, demonstrations and discussions, both in person and online. Our stars help to promote Kā‘anapali and increase editorial exposure in key national markets, thereby attracting a steady flow of visitors to help ensure a vibrant local economy.