By Kaitlyn Chock
James Komata is a park planner with the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation. His primary responsibility is to oversee all of the park development, improvement, and enhancement projects for the county of Hawaii. In the three and a half years that he’s been with the county, he has accomplished ADA projects at Ho'olulu Park, Hualani Park, Piilani Elderly Complex, Kamana Elderly Center, Kahaluu Beach Park, Pahoa Neighborhood Facility, Honoka‘a Park, Hookena Beach Park, Shipman Park, Coconut Island and several other facilities. He has also put in new playground equipment at Kawananakoa Gym in Keaukaha and at Lincoln Park. James has also helped six Eagle Scout candidates with their eagle projects. He’s also worked with private developers to secure future parklands and facilities, especially in Kona. At any given time, he may have around 125 different but significant projects moving forward, not including smaller items of work like volunteer projects and smaller repairs.
James’ interest in technical drawing began while he was at Waiakea High. He enjoyed the challenges of his mechanical drawing classes, which seemed to come natural to him. Then, he was offered a career shadowing opportunity where he met several Hilo architects, learned what the industry was like and what local career opportunities were available because he intended to return home after schooling on the mainland. During his senior year in high school and during summer and winter breaks from Washington State University in Pullman, he worked for a local architectural firm. He focused on the technical rather than the artistic side of architecture. After graduating, he continued at the same architectural firm, earning his requisite experience to qualify to take the State of Hawaii’s architect’s exam.
He gained experience in engineering and project construction management, exposing him to civil engineering work, Americans for Disability and repair and maintenance projects and contracts and proposals at other local firms. All of these job experiences now help him as a County Planner. He recommends that those who seek a career in government first gain work experience in the private sector.
He suggests that students look into other specialties in the field of architecture including specification writing, product representatives, designers, renderers, project managers and developers, construction managers, and CAD technicians/drafters.
As a member of the class of 1990, James participated in soccer, track and field and football. He was a member of the Leo and Interact Clubs and the National Honor Society. He says Waiakea provided him with exceptionally well-balanced environment for both education and sports.