Polynesian Cultural Center Appoints New President

  By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 13 March 2013

A student performs at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Alfred Grace became the president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center on February 26, 2013, succeeding Von Orgill, who served for 12 years in that capacity and, beginning in July, will preside over the California Irvine Mission.  Photo by Kai Andersen, ©IRI

Article Highlights

  • Alfred Grace became the president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, on February 26.
  • Von Orgill, the former CEO, served at the Polynesian Cultural Center for 12 years and, beginning in July, will preside over the California Irvine Mission.
  • With BYU–Hawaii’s expanding student enrollment, Brother Grace hopes to create more jobs to be in line with the students’ needs for both employment and quality work experience.

“The Polynesian Cultural Center’s commitment remains the same: supporting BYU–Hawaii and providing gainful employment for students.” —Alfred Grace, new president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center

LAIE, HAWAII

Alfred Grace became the president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center on February 26, succeeding Von Orgill, who served for 12 years in that capacity. Brother Orgill, beginning in July, will preside over the California Irvine Mission.

Brother Grace started building his roots at BYU–Hawaii in 1983 when he enrolled in the school as a freshman. During his years at school, he worked in several different areas of the PCC, starting as a dancer and later working as a technician, tour guide, and light operator. These jobs eventually led him to a sales position in the reservation office. He also worked on the school farm as a student.

Taking a break from school to serve a full-time mission, he returned to graduate in 1988, earning a degree in business with an emphasis on travel management. Before he graduated, the Polynesian Cultural Center offered him a full-time position as an account sales manager. From there, he eventually became the center’s director of sales before leaving in 1994 to work for a major travel company and to start his own consulting business.

In 1998 Brother Grace returned to the PCC as director of sales and continued to work his way through the ranks until being named president and CEO in 2013.

“The Polynesian Cultural Center’s commitment remains the same: supporting BYU–Hawaii and providing gainful employment for students,” he said. He is the first BYU–Hawaii graduate to serve as president and clearly sees the critical role the students fulfill as they work throughout their education.

Speaking about the BYU–Hawaii students who come to work at the PCC, Brother Orgill said: “When thinking about the students at PCC, most people immediately think about the performers in the villages, at the luau, and at the night show. Yet we have students ‘performing’ in over 50 different job classifications, many of which are directly related to their courses of study at BYU–Hawaii, including finance, accounting, management information systems, operations, and marketing. Student employees also serve in supervisory positions, where they gain valuable experience overseeing the work of others. Whatever their roles or job responsibilities are at PCC, each student can apply the theories, concepts, and principles learned in the classroom, and all gain valuable real-life experience.”

With BYU–Hawaii’s expanding student enrollment, Brother Grace hopes to create more jobs to be in line with the students’ needs for both employment and quality work experience. “Our hope is their work experience, in addition to their degrees earned at BYU–Hawaii, will provide them with a competitive edge in securing employment after graduation.”

In addition to emphasizing its role with BYU–Hawaii, Brother Grace also emphasizes the position the PCC fills in the local community and worldwide as one of the most popular attractions in the state of Hawaii. “We are very committed to supporting our community by providing employment opportunities and events all the family can enjoy,” he said. “And we will always strive to be a worthy ambassador of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”