By Chris Connell :: February 18, 2021
Ohana is a Hawaiian term meaning “family” (in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional). The term is cognate with Māori kōhanga, meaning “nest”. The newest member of the CFI family isn’t exactly new to CFI. She (in one shape, form, or fashion) has always been part of our Ohana. Pilialoha Wang, Director of Revenue Development and Community Relations started her logistics career in 1984 at American Airlines, where she worked in reservations, moved onto passenger sales, and worked in the Admiral’s Club. In 1995 she moved to the cargo side of operations and developed a relationship with CFI and Alfred Kuehlwind.
After the tragedy of 9/11/01, the airline industry was in flux so Pili took early retirement from American and moved over to United Cargo, still serving the CFI account. In 2005 Pilialoha left United Cargo and went to Hawaiian Airlines where she concentrated on growth as a Cargo Sales Manager. And grow they did, as Pili took the position of Senior Sales Manager, the growth exploded under her careful management.
When she “officially” joined CFI, it was because of the relationships she fostered while working for airlines. The draw of working closely with forwarders and experiencing airfreight service in Hawaii from the other side of the job was just icing on the cake. The training, the understanding, the family atmosphere, Pili felt it was a natural step to come home to nest at CFI.
“I feel like I’ve been a part of CFI for a long time. When I started with Hawaiian Airlines, it was the first time CFI wasn’t my biggest customer, but within a year, they were #1. Alfred gave his word and kept it.”
After taking early retirement from the airlines, Pili enjoyed the time she could spend with her family. “It means the world to be able to just be a grandmother and have a meaningful influence on my family as we watch the next generation grow up. Even as a retiree, my friendship with Alfred didn’t wane, we still checked in with each other because there’s so much friendship and affection between our families.”
CFI isn’t the only family that she enjoys spending her time with. She’s not only a grandmother to a 9-month-old grandson, but she’s also momma to two pet pigs named Mana and Pua. Initially adopted by Pili’s daughter, the pigs came to stay while her daughter worked and the attachment happened very fast.
“They’re so smart and sweet! You can teach them tricks in just a few minutes; sit, stay, walk backward, I can even tell them to go play piano and they’ll walk over to their toy piano and press the keys with their snouts. I’d always been a dog person, but this is so much easier.” Pili explains that their names are a play on words as Mana Pua is a Hawaiian phrase that means a Chinese dish closely relating to the English “pork bun”.
Welcome Pili, we are glad you have joined the CFI Hawaii team!!