News Beat: Coffman Engineers announce retirement of Shoji, promotions of Hirota and Unten

Coffman Engineers has announced the retirement of Brent Shoji PE, senior discipline engineer, fire protection engineering, following 18 years with the firm and a 38 year career in the industry overall. Shoji was an employee with S.S. Dannaway and Associates, a fire protection engineering firm since 2005, and continued on with the company when it became a part of the Coffman Engineering family in 2016.

“We are sorry to see Brent leave, but we are happy for him and wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement,” said Sam Dannaway, principal advisor, chief fire protection engineer in a press release announcing the retirement. “Brent is a dedicated and highly competent fire protection engineer. Whenever I gave Brent a project, there was never any worry about getting it done, on time, and done right.” 

While with Coffman, Shoji was responsible for the design and engineering of fire protection systems for new and existing facilities for military, state and commercial facilities. Among his duties were the selection and specifications of equipment, preparing cost estimates and construction administration for submittal reviews and site inspections. Shoji played a vital role in projects in Hawaiʻi, Guam, Japan and the Philippines. 

“Thank you, Coffman Ohana, and special thanks to Robert Bigtas, Sam Dannaway, and Jay Higashi for allowing me to reinvent myself back in 2005. S.S. Dannaway and Associates (SSDA) took a chance to hire me back then. It has been an eventful 38+ years and I will cherish all the memories,” said Shoji.

Additionally, Coffman Engineers announced the advancement of two other employees. Jami Hirota, PE, LSIT, LEED BD&C, was promoted to operations manager for Honolulu, and Kimo Unten, PE, LEED AP, was promoted to senior discipline manager.

Hirota will support office operations and management as well as managing the BD/marketing team and project management group. HIrota will continue to oversee the civil engineering team with the support of Unten, who will be taking on a larger role in managing the team. Hirota has over 27 years of experience that includes serving private, federal, state and local government clients and schools.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to grow and learn and am truly honored to step into my new role,” said Hirota. “By embodying our mission to empower our team to deliver innovative engineering solutions focused on our clients’ success, I look forward to making a meaningful impact in this expanded capacity.”

Unten has 19 years of civil engineering experience in Hawaiʻi working with clients in both the private and public sectors. His experiences include commercial site design, master planning and site analysis.

“I’m excited for my new role and the opportunity to support and grow our incredible staff,” said Unten. “John and Jami strive to provide a supportive atmosphere for our staff that allows us to develop into superb engineers, and I look forward to continuing these efforts.”

“Jami’s dedication and leadership are impressive, and we are excited to see her take on an expanded role. Kimo’s experience and collaborative energy will be invaluable in this larger capacity and new role,” said John Thielst, Coffman’s senior vice president and pacific region managing principal. “These promotions are well-deserved and strategic. Jami and Kimo have made tremendous contributions to our success as a region, and we’re confident they’ll excel in their new roles.”

Coffman Engineers currently has over 780 employees in 21 offices across the United States. The Honolulu and Guam offices employ 88 engineers and support staff.

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