Hawaii’s Red-Hot Subs
Who are the most sought-after subcontractors in the state? Data by Lorraine Cabanero, Cathy Cruz-George and Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors

Behind every successful project is a strong team of subcontractors—companies that produce high-quality work on schedule. These are Hawaii’s “Red-Hot Subs.”

To identify this year’s Red-Hot Subs, Building Industry Hawaii’s editors enlisted advice from Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors of 2022, an elite group of local construction companies with the highest earnings. (The Top 25 has been published in BIH magazine’s July issue every year since 1987.)

More than 60 nominations were received this year in five categories:

• Masonry
• Painting
• Carpentry
• Flooring
• Electricians

  And the results did not disappoint. Here are the top 15 winners and nominees for Hawaii’s Red-Hot Subs 2023.


Affiliated Construction LLC
(808) 676-5542

Kihei High School
Waipahu High School
Projects in 2022

Kihei High School, Phase 2; Kaneohe Marine Corp Base Hawaii bachelors enlisted quarters; Waipahu High School new classroom building; Meheula Vista, Phase 4; Aircraft Maintenance Hanger FY21 MCA PN 76897; VA Advanced Leeward Outpatient Healthcare Access project; and Kauai High School gym

Projects in 2023

Women’s Community Correctional Center, new housing and improvements; Victoria Place at Ward Village; Ililani; Halewaiolu Senior Residences; Kokua Elderly Living; Nahele at Hoopili; Leeward Refuse Collection Baseyard; and Kihei High School, Phase 3

Tips for Success

“You’ve got to have passion, love the work that you do and want to wake up every day just to go to work. Nothing beats pure, simple hard work or ‘elbow grease.’ You’ve got to service your clients; your clients are depending on you for a specific scope of work, and no job should be too small or too large. Finally, you’ve got to hire the best workers in your industry and take care of every one of them.” 

–Karl Kamada, member RME, Affiliated Construction LLC

TM Construction Hawaii
(808) 851-7060

TM Construction’s historic restoration and structural rehabilitation work is seen at the Julia Morgan-designed YWCA Laniakea on Richards Street in Honolulu. And at Waialae Country Club and golf course, TM Construction repaired two bridges by adding new stainless steel railings and epoxy aggregate overlay on the bridge decks.

PHOTOS COURTESY: TM Construction Hawaii 

Projects in 2022

Windward Community College improvements to 5991 Palanakila and 5988 Imiloa; Laniakea YWCA structural repairs and restoration; Waialae Country Club golf course bridge repairs

Projects in 2023

Ala Moana Regional Park, portico improvements; Waahila 180, reservoir repairs; Biomedical Science Building, roof improvement, Phase 2; University of Hawaii at Manoa Bachelot Hall, renovation and improvements; and Sacred Heart Church

Tips for Success

“Establish a relationship with the general contractor, so that the subcontractor is a member of the project team and a partner in the project-delivery process. Be an active participant in the general contractor’s safety and quality-control programs. Make sure that there is clarity and understanding of the masonry scope of work. Expectations of the subcontractor’s performance should be discussed with the general contractor and agreed to before the subcontractor signs the subcontract. And finally, have a bias for action and be solution-oriented when problems occur on the project. Submittals and correspondence should be provided to the general contractor in a timely manner.”

–Ron Prescott, president, TM Construction Hawaii 

Quality General Inc.
(808) 487-3614

Chik-fil-A restaurant (left) and Diamond Head Theatre, both highly anticipated projects in Honolulu, were completed by bricklayers from Quality General. The company specializes in commercial and industrial projects and has been in business for 50 years.

PHOTOS COURTESY: Quality General Inc.

Projects in 2022

Diamond Head Theatre; Chick-fil-A; SOV Undersea; Manana Corp. Yard; Ala Moana deck repairs; Pasha maintenance building; Mao Organic Farms; Punahou High School roadways; Hawaiian Humane Society; and Hoopili

Projects in 2023

Koa Ridge Senior Housing, Phase 1; Wahiawa Civic Center; National Memorial Cemetery; Manana Corp. Yard; Hoopili Phase 13; BYUH cafeteria; Canby Community Center; and Liliuokalani Center

Tips for Success

“Keep up with the schedule as this is critically important to all general contractors. Take care of your working employees as without them, you cannot perform any of your projects. Cooperate and maintain good working relationships with the general contractors.”

–Ryan Wada, president, Quality General Inc.


WE Painting, specializing in interior and exterior commercial painting, is a subcontractor for the luxury condo Sky Ala Moana, which broke ground in October with an expected completion date of late 2023.


WE Painting Inc.
(808) 671-6785

Projects in 2022

Lilia Waikiki; Kihei High School; and Koula

Projects in 2023

Sky Ala Moana; Ililani; and Grand Wailea guestroom renovation

Tips for Success

“A good relationship with our partner suppliers, general contractors and owners.”

–Ivan Sakamoto, president,
WE Painting Inc.

The Zelinsky Co.
(808) 682-1321

The Zelinsky Co.’s projects include (from left) Aalii at Ward Village and Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant. The company is QP-1-certified, woman-owned and specializes in wallcovering, commercial painting and industrial coatings.


Tips for Success

“Develop good trusting relationships. Treat your customers fairly. Be honest and genuine. Be a resource and there when they need you. Provide a safe and positive working environment for your employees. They are key to your success.”

–Lari Zelinsky Bloom, CEO, The Zelinsky Co.

Projects in 2022

Aalii at Ward Village; 902 Alder Street (Hale Kalele); Royal Hawaiian Hotel; Schofield Quad B Barracks; Turtle Bay Resort renovation; Marriott Ko Olina renovation interior/exterior; Wheeler Aircraft Maintenance Hanger; Malani Estates (Lanai); and Aston Waikiki/The Twin Fin guestrooms renovation

Projects in 2023

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay; Pasha Hawaii; Victoria Place at Ward Village; Kokua Elderly Housing; Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase 1B; and Sand Island Maintenance Building, septage and site improvements; Aloha Petroleum Honolulu Tank 13; Kona Seaside Hotel; D.E. Thompson Village renovation; and Hokua Housing

JD Painting & Decorating Inc. recently completed work at Hawaii State Federal Credit Union’s headquarters. The company also acquired Honolulu Painting Co. to expand its services in sandblasting, floor coatings and waterproofing, and industrial coatings and linings.


JD Painting & Decorating Inc.
(808) 841-7100
Projects in 2022

Lilia Hyatt Regency ballroom renovation; Hawaii State Federal Credit Union headquarters; Fairmont Kea Lani Suites & Villas renovation, Phases I & II; and Wai Kai Waterfront Recreational Facility at Hoakalei

Projects in 2023

The Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort exterior; Kaloko Heights Apartments; Fairmont Kea Lani Suites & Villas renovation, Phase III; and Aulani parking structure traffic coating and painting

Tips for Success

“Stay true to who you are and stick with what you do best. Have a servant’s heart, be honest and treat everyone with respect. Do what you say you’re going to do.”

–Jaime Dominguez, president, JD Painting & Decorating Inc.


Group Builders Inc., which ranked No.16 on the 2022 list of Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors, was a subcontractor for the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.


Group Builders Inc.
(808) 832-0888
Projects in 2022

Koula; Wai Kai Waterfront Recreational Facility at Hoakalei; 803 Waimanu; 902 Alder (Hale Kelele); Four Seasons Hualalai; Kihei High School; and Grand Wailea Napua tower renovation

Projects in 2023

Victoria Place at Ward Village; Halewaiolu Senior Residences; Atherton YMCA; Ulana at Ward Village; Ililani; Koolau Ranch dining and entertainment; Schofield Barracks building repairs 2075 and 2076; Hokuao (Lanai); Wailuku Apartments; and Grand Wailea

Tips for Success

“Communication is important. Try to be updated and informed. Build good relationships with people, with your own team as well as clients and others. Success is not overnight. It takes hard work, years of experience and continuous learning to improve craftsmanship.”

–Lito Alcantra, president, Group Builders Inc.

True Line Construction completed the finished carpentry, drywall and painting at The Residences at Bishop Place. Located at 1132 Bishop St., the former commercial office building has been converted into residential apartments.


True Line Construction Services LLC
(808) 722-3879

Projects in 2022 and 2023

Bishop Place drywall, carpentry and painting; Hawaii State Federal Credit Union drywall, painting and carpentry; Kona Coffee Farm; and a software company founder’s private residence on Kauai

Tips for Success

“Have a strong track record and be efficient. Deliver what is expected of by the general contractors; and be on-time. Give priority to workers and remind them that they always work as a team. If they’re not going to produce, then the company is not going to make something of it, and everyone is going to be affected.”

–Rolando “Rollie” Legaspi, operations executive, True Line Construction Services LLC

Bruce Matson Co. Inc. manufactures custom cabinets in its Washington state facility. One of its projects, Lilia Waikiki, received an award of excellence from the Architectural Woodwork Institute and was featured in the group’s quarterly publication Design Solutions.


Bruce Matson Co. Inc.
(808) 735-0254
Projects in 2022 and 2023

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay; Lilia Waikiki; Sky Ala Moana; and more than 100 homes for Gentry Builders

Tips for Success

“Be honest and ethical. Do what you say you are going to do, and treat your employees well. We are a locally owned, family business that continues to build on the legacy that our founder, Bruce Matson, started in 1975. We build our own custom cabinets in our manufacturing facility in Washington state and are proud to say that all our products are produced with American labor and materials on American soil and are built to the highest quality and standards.”

–Brent Matson, president, Bruce Matson Co. Inc.


A-American Custom Flooring Inc. recently completed work at Azure Ala Moana and Turtle Bay Resort (left). Established in Illinois in 1991, the Hawaii branch independently opened in 2006 and has more than 140 employees.


A-American Custom Flooring Inc.
(808) 454-8888
Projects in 2022

Turtle Bay Resort; Azure Ala Moana; Wai Kai Waterfront Recreational Facility at Hoakalei; and Kihei High School

Projects in 2023

Sky Ala Moana; Discovery Builders Makena Custom Homes; and Grand Wailea

Tips for Success

“We are not just a subcontractor. We partner with our general contractors. We’re in it for their success. If they are not successful, then we are not successful, and we do whatever it takes to be a good partner. We also pride ourselves on being better than the guy on the left and on the right. My employees are super loyal, and we give them the same respect and treat our employees as family.”

–Benny Capalnas, project director, A-American Custom Flooring Inc.

Island Flooring specializes in carpet, resilient flooring, stone, ceramic tile and hardwood. Some of its completed projects include Tapa Tower in the Hilton Hawaiian Village.


Island Flooring
(808) 847-6577
Projects in 2022

902 Alder (Hale Kalele); Malina at Koa Ridge; Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort renovations; Fort Shafter Command and Control, Phase 3; Undersea Operational Training Facility; Territorial Savings Pauahi Tower; Lilia Waikiki; Macy’s Pearlridge refresh; and Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Tower remodel, Phase 2

Projects in 2023

Hooulu at Hoopili; Ililani; Kokua; Koa Senior Affordable; Fort Shafter Bldg. 502, Wahiawa Civic Center; and Pauahi Kupuna Hale Apartments renovation

Tips for Success

“When something goes wrong, your first reaction should always be: “What did WE do that needs to be corrected?” Even if a lot of the blame lies elsewhere, there is almost always something we still could have done differently that would have resulted in a better outcome for everyone. At the end of the day, that is all that we can control, especially as a subcontractor. While the quality of the end-product is obviously important, remember that the entire process and experience for the customer is also just as important. No one in construction likes surprises. So don’t be afraid to deliver bad news as quickly as possible, ideally with a potential solution at the same time.

As a service company, our people are our most important asset. If you expect your employees to treat customers well, you need to make sure they are taken care of first.”

–Keith Emerson, president, Island Flooring


A-1 A-Lectrician
(808) 839-2771

Sky Ala Moana is an ongoing project for A-1 A-Lectrician, a family-owned company founded by James Yamada Sr., grandfather of the current president Jason Yamada.


Projects in 2022 and 2023

Ililani; Sky Ala Moana; Pasha Hawaii buildings at Kapalama Container Terminal; and Target Windward

Tips for Success

“Our unofficial company motto is, ‘We light up the world.’  We strive to do our best to fulfill this goal both literally—providing quality electrical contracting service to our customers—and figuratively, by being a lighthouse to our families, friends, co-workers and suppliers. There is so much darkness in the construction industry and the world today, and yet we work diligently to make decisions based on the strong core values instilled in us by our founders, my grandfather, James Yamada Sr., and my father, James Yamada Jr., namely: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To be a successful contractor in Hawaii, there’s nothing more we need than each other, so we want to take this opportunity to thank our hardworking employees, as well as our clients who have entrusted us with their projects.”

–Jason Yamada, president, A-1 A-Lectrician

D. Suehiro Electric Inc.
(808) 591-8884

Turtle Bay Resort’s renovated Kuilima Ballrooms and the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort are lit by D. Suehiro Electric Inc. The family-owned firm was founded in 1988 and now has about 50 electricians and 13 managers.


Projects in 2022

Turtle Bay Resort guestroom and ballroom renovation; Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort podium and Diamond Head tower; Target Honolulu #2410 renovation; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children basement level operating room and IR/cath lab renovation

Projects in 2023

Waiea at Ward Village repair project; Turtle Bay Resort spa renovation; The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach penthouses remodel; Kamehameha Schools Lunalilo girls dorm renovation; The Home Depot Mapunapuna; and Grand Wailea Bistro Molokini renovation

Tips for Success

“Provide customer value. And create and maintain relationships by performing quality work on schedule.”

– Daryl Suehiro, president and founder, D. Suehiro Electric Inc.

Wasa Electrical Services Inc., which has been in business for 73 years, installed the lighting at Koula, the sixth residential tower to open in Ward Village. Wasa also holds a general contractors license and is ranked. No. 12 on the 2022 list of Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors.


Wasa Electrical Services Inc.
(808) 839-2741

Projects in 2022

Koula; P-946 Corrosion Control Hangar; 902 Alder (Hale Kalele); and Hawaii Pacific Innovation Campus

Projects in 2023

Honolulu Airport ticket lobby renovations and baggage handling system; Sand Island Waste Water Treatment Project; Atherton Center; Aloha VA Clinic; The Park on Keeaumoku; Kona Village Resort; and Honouliuli Waste Water Treatment Project   

Tips for Success

“[Practice] quality workmanship and respect for other trades. Finish on time and on budget; this is most critical for negotiated and design-build projects. Reputation is important for repeat business. Stay ahead in all aspects of our work through timely material requisition and productive manpower.”

–Ron Yee, chairman and CEO, Wasa Electrical Services Inc.

OTHER Red Hot Subs

The following subcontractors were mentioned in the “Red Hot Subs” nomination forms.
Please note that some companies do not have websites.

Foundations Hawaii
(808) 678-9522,

V&C Drywall Contractors Inc.
(808) 682-2068

Dorvin D. Leis Co. Inc.
(808) 877-3902

Alakai Mechanical Plumbing Service
(808) 834-1085

Coastal Construction Co. Inc.
(808) 847-3277

First Pacific Builders LLC
(808) 738-4999

Gill Construction Inc.
(808) 754-7888

Commercial Plumbing 
(808) 845-4112


M. Contractor Watanabe Electrical Inc.
(808) 671-6751

Cache Valley Electric Honolulu
(808) 354-0080

Paragon Systems Integration
(970) 920-3167

R M H Electric Co. Inc.
(808) 848-5130 

Kokami Electrical Service Inc.
(808) 488-9779 

Siu’s Electric Corp.
(808) 842-1944

M.H. Electric Construction LLC 
(808) 833-8499

Nakata Electrical Inc.
(808) 537-6205

Electricians Inc.
08) 839-2242


Floor-Tech Group
(808) 848-1649

Modern Flooring LLC
(808) 546-9779

Alii Flooring Inc.
(808) 487-5535

Maka Construction 


Jade Painting
(808) 677-5233

Quillopo Painting
(808) 485-1572

Yamaz’s Painting Service LLC
(808) 397-3465

Akira Yamamoto Painting Inc.
(808) 832-0100

Lance Higa Painting Inc.
(808) 528-4899

Architectural Coatings & Preservation LLC
(808) 841-3693

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