Hawai’i Army National Guard Col. Benedict Fuata has been selected as the next Civil Defense Administrator for the County of Hawai’i, it was announced by Mayor Billy Kenoi.
Fuata, 50, has been the Commander of the Army Aviation Support Facility in Hilo since 1993. He is also the Guard’s director for logistics. He will transition from his previous position at the National Guard during the coming weeks.
Fuata replaces Quince Mento, who retired Dec. 1. John Drummond, an administrative officer at Civil Defense, has been serving as acting administrator since Mento’s retirement.
The Civil Defense administrator directs and coordinates the development and administration of the county’s emergency preparedness and response program to ensure prompt and effective action when natural or man-caused disaster threaten or impact Hawai’i Island.
Fuata was born and raised in Honolulu and is a 1979 graduate of Damien Memorial High School. He graduated from the University of Santa Clara in Santa Clara, Calif., with a degree in political science, and received his masters degree in organizational management in 2000 from the University of Phoenix. He serves as a board member for the Hawai`i Island Home for Recovery.
“I’m honored to take this position, and I am looking forward to the challenge,” said Fuata. “Hawai`i County Civil Defense is a first-class operation, and I hope I can do the office justice. But with 29 years of military training, I will be able to adapt.”
Mayor Kenoi said Fuata was chosen from a pool of outstanding finalists. “Col. Fuata brings to the county impressive credentials, both professionally and as a public servant,” said Mayor Kenoi. “He is a proven leader who will only enhance an outstanding agency and public safety team.”
Fuata, a resident of Mountain View, is married to his wife, Teresa. They have two daughters, Alaina and Teresa.
Mayor Kenoi said last week that Quince Mento will return to work with Fuata and ensure a smooth transition.