Feb 28, 2022
Hawaii Asphalt Paving Industry Inducts Garret Okada into HAPI Hall of Fame
Established in 2021, the Hawaii Asphalt Paving Industry (HAPI) Hall of Fame honors and recognizes those individuals that have:
- Made significant and lasting contributions to the Asphalt Paving Industry.
- Unselfishly and generously served HAPI and the industry.
- Demonstrated a consistent high standard of ethics.
- Made outstanding contributions of time and or ideas to the industry.
- Helped mold our industry, reshape, and improve the way the industry operates.
Garret Okada is our 2022 HAPI Hall of Fame Inductee.
Garret’s contributions to the asphalt industry make him an ideal inductee into the HAPI Hall of Fame. He has spent almost his entire life in Hawaii. He graduated from Aiea High School and continued his education at Chaminade College and the University of Hawaii. In 1969, he graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
His career started in the County of Los Angeles, but he soon made his way back to the islands to work for the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT). His journey with the HDOT started in 1971 with the Highways Division. In 1980, he transferred to the Airports Division for a couple of years. He then returned to the Highways Division where he spent the last 22 years of his career as the Bituminous Materials Engineer.
As the Bituminous Materials Engineer, he made significant contributions to the asphalt industry. He authored the following publications:
- Research Report for Superpave Pilot Project on Moanalua Freeway Ramps.
- Materials Quality Assurance Manual for Highways Construction, Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Laboratory Quality Manual for AASHTO Accreditation Program, Highways Division (HWY)
He helped raise the bar for the asphalt paving industry by doing pilot projects to introduce new technologies and methods such as a project to evaluate Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) and Superpave.
However, he is remembered most for his efforts in developing a smoothness specification. His leadership brought agency and industry together to bring about a positive change for the ride quality of the State of Hawaii. The specification introduced the use an MTV (Material Transfer Vehicle). Garret was brave to start this requirement as it was a major capital expenditure for the contractors. Initially, smoothness bonuses gave contractors the incentive to improve. In later years, besides smoothness, the use of the MTV was found to provide a more uniform mat temperature, which lead to more uniform compaction, resulting in longer lasting pavements.
Upon his retirement in 2004, HAPI awarded Garret the title of “Mr. Smooth” in recognition and appreciation of this major accomplishment for our industry,
Since his retirement, Garret spends time with his wife Layne Okada, daughter Lena Toti, and son-in-law, Joshua Toti. He keeps himself busy by doing volunteer work in Bible education as one of Jehovah’s Witness.