Class of 1982
Brady Yagi is the president and owner of Kulana Foods, a meat processing business in Hilo, one of only two slaughter houses and processing facilities on the Big Island. He works with ranchers and farmers to purchase cattle, pigs, and sheep for slaughter, with carcasses broken down into different cuts of meat and then sold to supermarkets and restaurants. Large operations such as Kahua Ranch, Palani Ranch, Parker Ranch bring approximately 50 head of cattle to Kulana each week for slaughter. The yield is approximately 500 to 600 pounds per animal, with around half of that becoming hamburger. Most of the meat stays on the Island, sold through KTA SuperStores, other retailers, restaurants and hotels. Kulana Foods also makes its own kalua pork, laulau and Portuguese sausage under the Kulana Foods label, as well as Portuguese sausage, pupu rockets and Scottish bangers under the Miko brand label. They also prepare Portuguese sausage, laulau and kalua pork and kalua turkey using the Mt. Apple brand label. A unique part of the business is their work with individuals, who want only one cow or pig slaughtered and cut into various pieces for home consumption.
Brady grew up in the business, which was founded by his grandfather, James S. Yagi as Standard Market in 1939. Before his grandfather died in 1984, he promised him that he would continue the business after his father, Jimmy Yagi retired. Brady has worked full time at Kulana Foods for 22 years and has been president since 1998, when his father retired. Running a business means working long hours, few holidays and being responsible for the welfare of 25 employees. Besides buying and selling the meat products, he orders the supplies they need such as boxes, paper goods, spices, schedules the production (slaughter, processing, sausages and cooked products), schedules maintenance, repairs and improvements of the facilities and services they use.
As a 1982 graduate of Waiakea High, Brady learned all of the basic academic skills and his participation in sports taught him discipline, respect, and teamwork that helped him succeed in life. He obtained a degree in welding from Hawaii Community College. When time permits, he is able to pursue his passion, drag racing, or go sheep and bird hunting.
His advice to students is to study hard now because it will help you later on in life.