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Weekly Update for March 3, 2022

Article #1: A Life Filled with Important Decisions

Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, PCC Archives

Eric Workman

Eric Workman, Chief Marketing Officer

Life is all about choices. There are small choices we make every day and then there are choices that influence the rest of our life.  Often, we don’t know if the big choices we make are right until sometime in the future. Meet Eric Workman, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Polynesian Cultural Center. When faced with life altering choices, Eric made the right ones.

Eric’s mother and father met on campus at BYU-H which at the time was the Church College of Hawaii. Eric’s mom, Sharon, was a student and his father, Gary, was in the navy. The young couple met, got married and moved to San Diego, California, where they worked with LDS Social Services and adopted a baby boy who they named Eric Eugene Workman. They later returned to Hawaii where Eric was sealed to his new parents in the Laie Temple and his first sister was born. Unfortunately, Eric’s parents divorced when Eric was five. Without his father, the family moved frequently—almost yearly. They lived in several places in California and Arizona then on to Tennessee and back to California where Eric graduated from Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia, California. After graduation, Eric worked at Domino’s Pizza where he became a manager which created the first critical decision of his life. His boss at Domino’s saw great potential in Eric and made an almost irresistible offer if Eric would stay with Domino’s and not go on a mission. Eric left from California for the Akron/Cleveland Ohio Mission.

When Eric returned home from his mission, his mother had moved back to Laie to finish school. He visited his old boss at Domino’s. His boss said, “See that Porsche parked out there. Here are the keys. Take it for a drive.” When the young returned missionary returned after the ride of his life the boss said, “That car is yours to keep and I will help you become a franchisee in two years if you stay with me and not go to school.” Eric said, “I have to go to Hawaii first.” Then the time of awkwardness began. Eric lived with his mom and three younger sisters in TVA. Decision making time had arrived and he needed to let the boss know if he was coming back to Dominos. Eric made the hardest phone call he had ever made and with the words of the prophets ringing in his ears “get all the education you can get”, he told the boss, “I won’t be coming back.” He became a BYU-H student and moved into the dorms.

The first day home from his mission and in Laie his sister brought him to PCC where she was working.  They had just passed Yoshimura’s Shave Ice and were walking across the bridge when his sister stopped to introduce Eric to a really cute girl, Anne Chase who was working at Yoshi’s . He didn’t know at the time that he had just met his future wife. They didn’t see each other again until almost exactly a year later when they met again at the Aloha Center. Following that second meeting they saw each other almost every day.

Eric became a member of the Associated Student BYU-H leadership and was hired as a Director of Clubs and Organizations his Sophomore year. The job paid a stipend and tuition which Eric badly needed to get through school. Then in his Junior year Eric and his ASBYU-H friend Keenan Adcock ran for student body offices. They won the election and Keenan became the President and Eric the Vice President. This was another blessing as Eric was now married to Anne and they would soon have their first child. As a Student Body officer, Eric received another year of tuition and stipend.

Eric on Ke Alakai

Ke Alakai article about Eric Workman and Keenan Adcock winning the BYU-Hawaii Presidential Elections

As the Director of Clubs and Organizations, Eric gave leadership to Food Fest, Culture Night and other big events. He was exposed to the rich cultures of Polynesia and got to know the presidents and membership of each organization. It was during his Senior year that Eric realized he had missed out by not working at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Next choice, find a job at PCC. At this point, Eric really felt the workings of the Spirit in his life. The PCC job selling video’s at the night show paid less per hour than his BYU-H jobs but video sellers could earn a commission on each sale. He was soon made manager over that department. His first PCC job, despite the ugly red shorts and horrible aloha shirt is the reason he is here today. The sales job was a really good work experience that allowed him to watch the Night Show night after night and see inside the PCC to understand what PCC is all about.

Eric Goal

Young Eric explains what will make him thankful in the future. He must be a very happy man, because that’s exactly what he achieved – and so much more

A year later, Eric and his young family moved to Japan where he taught English and started a business. While in Japan, Anne’s father, a BYU-H professor, Lance Chase, developed cancer. It was time to decide to come back to Laie and spend time with his wife’s family. Eric was offered a job as Manager of Museum Store by Les Moore, then President of PCC. Eric started a mail order catalogue which broke even in its second year. You have to understand that this was a time before internet sales. The catalogue was purely a USPS mail enterprise. Also, at this time one tenant had exclusive rights to all retail sales at PCC except videos and Museum Stores handicrafts. Because this tenant was a world-wide retail operation, all stores were exactly like every other airport gift shop in the world. Eric thought they were “squandering an opportunity to make something different and special at PCC.” He was always “challenging them to do better.” Until one day they said, “So you think you can do better dumb kid?” Eric was given the space under the IMAX theatre which was then used as a warehouse to make into a retail shop. Eric and his small Museum Stores team talked to a Disney Imagineer, and other top design experts and none felt quite right. So, he and a team of students hand sketched ideas. Everything from designs, graphics, even candy jars, and made the space into a cool little shop that was very different from other retail venues. Everyone going into the theatre went through the new Hukilau Store. The new store out-performed all other tenant shops and they pulled it off at a fraction of the cost typical for similar tenant improvements. In part due to the success of the Hukilau Store the decision was made to build dedicated spaces for retail in the Island villages to give guests a unique shopping experience as if they were actually on the island. Tonga is the last place where one of those Island retail shops still is operational today.

Eric & President Grace

Eric Workman and Alfred Grace outside the new Hukilau shop under the IMAX

All of his experiences at PCC helped Eric understand a Senior Management role. His undergraduate degree in Business and Organizational Development, experience at PCC, and Japanese experience all helped him get into MBA School.

Eric’s mom was now living in the Provo, Utah area and he applied to and was accepted for the MBA program at the BYU Marriott School which wasn’t necessarily his first choice but turned out to be a tremendous blessing in his life and for his family. Eric’s mom passed away the last week of Graduate School and he was hired by the Dow Chemical Company which is a Fortune 50 company headquarted in Midland Michigan. His job at Dow was a “huge, wonderful experience which I owe in part to my experience at PCC.” It didn’t take Eric long to realize that new graduates from other very expensive MBA programs started their work experience with huge student debt whereas, Eric had little debt and a family of seven. “The Lord has blessed me and my wonderful wife in ways we would not have ever planned or expected.”

After 12 wonderful years with Dow Chemical, Eric felt the PCC calling.  When Alfred Grace was chosen to be the new president of the Polynesian Cultural Center, Eric called to wish him good luck. Eric had known and worked with Alfred Grace for 30 year so when he called to wish the new president good luck, discussions began that would bring Eric back to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Eric had first become acquainted with Alfred Grace while a student living in TVA.  Alfred Grace was a TVA Bishop and called Eric to a position as one of his counselors and Eric’s wife, Anne, was called by Bishop Grace as the Relief Society president. David Hannemann was then Stake President. At the time, Alfred Grace was PCC Sales Manager stationed in Waikiki and would years later, while Eric was working as Museum Stores Manager, be Eric’s boss.  “Alfred Grace is an amazing blend of confidence and humility with a thirst for learning. He is always warm to people and did well in sales. People still know him in the industry and he is highly regarded. He reads constantly with a continual desire to learn. His desire to learn and study on his own is inspirational. I have never seen him say, ‘I’m the boss and this is how it will be done.’ His leadership style always is in tune with the council approach which is the Lord’s way of management. I’ve never seen him stray from that.”

Eric and Anne, now with seven children, returned to work at PCC for a third time in 2013 where he became a Vice President and the Chief Marketing Officer.  Eric has worked in many businesses but nowhere is there a “sense of mission that one feels at the Polynesian Cultural Center.” The PCC rests in a unique location next to one of the Lord’s universities. Others have come to Eric with a desire to create a similar attraction in different locations around the world. “I always caution them because what we have here at the PCC is not easily reproducible. The culture here is unique. We are the main employer for students in a small town with a temple. The students who come here are truly wonderful people who bring a spirit that makes all the difference. PCC is an experience that provides a refreshing respite from the world. Guests feel the Spirit and leave remembering feeling something special.” When Elder Uchtdorf rededicated the Center7 years ago he said, “People will come and find an Oasis from the cares of the World.” Over 40,000,000 people have found that Oasis.  Eric concludes by saying, “I love working with others at PCC to be a protector and preserver of that Oasis.”

Article #2: Mission Call

Submitted by: Jimmy Mapu, Guest Services Manager

Tour Guide

Ellie Sanchez

We would like to extend our congratulations to Ellie Sanchez of Cedar Hills, Utah. She was called to serve in the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission. Ellie will be reporting to the MTC in June. She currently works as an Ambassador Tour Guide in the Guest Services Department. Good luck Ellie!

safety corner sign

Incident Reporting

*Taken from the Church Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual.

Submitted by: Lau Niumatalolo

Too many incidents are going unreported or we find out about it when someone repeats the same injury unnecessarily. Please report all incidents to your supervisors including minor and near misses.

2.6 Handling and Reporting Incidents

An incident is defined as any unplanned event that results in personal injury or damage to property, equipment, or the environment, including a near miss. Incidents may result from natural disasters—such as earthquakes, storms, or floods—or from such things as fire, structural failure, equipment malfunctions, or failure to follow safety guidelines. An incident may impact employees, volunteers, Church members, or visitors. It is important to make plans for handling incidents, whatever their cause. This section provides recommended procedures for handling and reporting incidents.

2.6.1 Incident Investigation and Reporting

Employees should report to supervisors all work-related incidents, no matter how minor. Supervisors should investigate all incidents to determine the causes. Incidents usually have one or more contributing causes, and removing even one of the causes can prevent another incident. An Incident Report form (see chapter 7) may be used to collect information before the supervisor completes the online report at incidents.lds.org. Be sure to secure the scene, take photographs, obtain any surveillance video, gather witness statements, and document any recommendations or corrective actions. Other nonemployee injuries involving Church premises or operations may also be reported in this manner (see “Incidents or Injuries Involving Nonemployees” below for more details). The same incidents.lds.org online portal should be used to report all incidents relating to motor vehicle accidents or damage. Also, a Traffic Accident and Exchange form (see chapter 7) should be filled out by the driver. Some types of incidents may require that more than one report be completed.

Incidents typically fall into one of the following five categories:

  • Motor vehicle
  • Property damage
  • Employee injury
  • Nonemployee injury
  • General liability, other, or miscellaneous

incident report form