Mike McCartney is a real all-rounder. He has served in the Hawaii State Senate for 10 years and co-produced Hawaii’s number one local TV show “Hawaii Stars”.

McCartney worked as a negotiation specialist for Hawaii State Teacher’s Association for his foremost job. And he has been the incumbent president and CEO of PBS Hawaii since 2000.

But despite all success, he was just an average kid—and his adolescent disposition should serve as an example to high school and college students who are finding it hard to put direction in to their future. McCartney himself was a C-student back in high school and his GPA made it doubly hard for him to find a suitable university. But his perseverance and dedication eventually paved the way for him to see clearly what he really wanted to do with his life.

Greater Good Radio talks to Mike McCartney about his career and how he made it as big boss of PBS Hawaii. McCartney also shares a line from his dad’s poem which he personally lives by, “The cosmic dust that you borrowed from the universe, give it back in brighter coin than you received.”

With this mantra in mind, it seems that everything that McCartney does is veered towards being of service after having received loads from the community.

His advice to the public especially students, “Come up with something that you enjoy doing that you think can help the community.”

Mike McCartney

Prior to joining PBS Hawaii as its president and chief executive officer in November 2000, Mike McCartney served as a state senator in the Hawaii State Legislature (1988 to 1998). He held several key leadership roles in the Senate’s majority. He also served as a cabinet member under Governor Benjamin Cayetano (1999 and 2000) as the director of the state Department of Human Resources Development. He worked as an independent producer on several local productions for television but was instrumental in creating and producing “Hawaii Stars,” a local television program that, in many ways, was the forerunner to the current national program “American Idol.”

Over as many years, McCartney continued to serve the community by serving on various community boards including: past chairman of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; current board member for the Hawaii Justice Foundation; board member for the Royal State Trust; board member for the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution; and former board member of Pacific Resources in Education and Learning. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including Freshman Legislator of the Year (1989) from the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, Client Advocate Award from the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii (1991) and Lawmaker of the Year from Small Business Hawaii (1993).

A lifelong resident of Hawaii, McCartney is married to Dr. Candace Furubayashi and is the father of two sons and a daughter.

Career Highlights

CEO and President- PBS Hawaii (November 2000 to Present)

Director – Department of Human Resources Development, State of Hawaii (January 1999 to August 2000)

Adjunct Professor (Lecturer) in collaboration with Jerry Clay, Esq. –Hawaii Pacific University (1999)

State Senator – Hawaii State Senate (1988 to 1998 – Retired)

Co-founder and Creator – Hawaii Stars Presidents, Inc. (1993-2000)

President and Part-Owner – Hawaii Stars Studios (1995-1998)

Co-Founder, Partner and President – Star Telecom Network, Pacific LLC (1996-Present)

Assistant Athletic Director and Head Coach of Cross Country Team –Hawaii Loa College (1991-1992)

Negotiations Specialist/Field Representative – Hawaii State Teachers Association (1984-1988)

Staff Analyst/Marketing Associate – Hawaii Medical Service Association (1984)

Legislative Aide to Senator Charles Toguchi – Hawaii State Senate (1982-1984)


Graduate, James B. Castle High School – Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Hawaii Loa College – Kaneohe, Hawaii – Major: Liberal Arts

Bachelor’s of Science, Pacific University – Forest Grove, Oregon – Major: Biology and Physical Education

Graduate studies in Mediation, Peace Keeping and Conflict Resolution, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Fellowship Program (1993) – Selected by French Government for two weeks training and orientation in France for potential and future young leaders on foreign and domestic policies.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders-Arts (June-July 2003). One of four nonprofit leaders in the state of Hawaii nominated by the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Professional and Community Affiliations
• Hawaii Justice Foundation
• Kualoa-Heeia Ecumenical Youth Project, Board of Directors
• Carole Kai Community Foundation, Board Member
• Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Board Member
• Royal State Trust, Board of Trustees
• Hawaii Tourism Authority, Past Chairman
• Nominating Committee, University of Hawaii Baseball Coach, Chairman
• Education Commission of the States, Past Steering Committee Member
• Judicial Appeals Board, Board Member
• Pacific Resources in Education & Learning (PREL), Board Member & Secretary
• Emergent Education, Voyager School – Board Member
• American Arbitration Association, Hawaii Advisory Board Member
• Saint Francis Koolau Health Center, Advisory Board Member
• Windward Oahu Voter Pamphlet, Creator & Publisher
• Minami USA Community Foundation, Co-Founder & Past Board Member
• Hawaii Sports Institute, Past Board Member
• Public Education and You, Co-Creator & Co-Host
• Live Aloha, Co-Founder
• Pacific Rim Foundation, Board Member
• KAC Basketball League, Coach
• Waialae-Kahala Baseball League, Coach
• UH-Riley Wallace Basketball Camp, Coach
• Kahaluu Neighborhood Board, Former Member
• Kamaaina Kids, Former Board of Director
• Kahaluu Lions Club, Former Member
• Windward School of Advisory Council, Former Member
• Worldwide Okinawan Business Association, Member
• Castle High School Alumni Association, Co-Founder
• No Hope in Dope, Volunteer & Past Board Member
• Pacific University, Past Student Body President & Hawaiian Club President

Honors and Awards

1989 Freshman Legislator of the Year – UH Professional Assembly
1991 Client Advocate Award – United Cerebral Palsy Assn. Of Hawaii
1993 Hall of Fame for Educational Excellence – DOE Windward District Exceptional Young Leader Scholarship – Government of France Lawmaker of the Year- Small Business Hawaii
1994 Co-Legislator of the Year – Friends of the Library
1995 Honorary Lifetime Member National PTSA
1997 Good Guy Award for Open Government – Common Cause (Hawaii)
1998 Provost Award for Outstanding Public Service – Windward Community College Outdoor Circle Community Service Award

Hobbies and Interests

• Running, Weight Lifting, Golfing and Kayaking
• UH Rainbow Basketball Booster Club
• Coaching Youth Sports and Watching College Sports
• Traveling
• Collecting Baseball Cards

PBS Hawaii

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