Institute for Astronomy Home
IFA Home Page   |    Search   |    Other Editions    No. 3 - Winter 2002 
  All Articles  


Aloha, Larry Sakima

On January 14, about eighty of Larry's coworkers and friends gathered at the Treetops Restaurant to wish him well in his new career on Maui. Lauren Anzai (middle) and Jan Matsuura (right) presented Larry with a Maui survival kit. Photos by Dave Au, PBRC.

In December, Larry Sakima, the Institute's assistant director for administration since 1990, announced his intention to retire, effective early in the new year. Larry's career at UH Manoa spanned nearly thirty years, twenty of which have been at the IfA.

After obtaining his degree in accounting from UH, Larry started work at the Social Science Research Institute in 1972. In April 1974, the IfA's founding director, John Jefferies, hired him to help plan the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF). In 1975, Larry became the IfA's fiscal officer, and in 1979, its chief administrative officer. This was a period of rapid development, with the completion of the Manoa building in 1975, the Lunar Ranging Experiment in 1976, and three major telescopes on Mauna Kea in 1979 (the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the IRTF, and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope).

Larry realized that the Institute desperately needed a way to match its human resources to the rapidly expanding and changing scientific and technical demands. His solution, and his unique legacy to the IfA, was the creation of three sophisticated recharge systems: the Job Order System, the Administrative Recharge System, and Mauna Kea Observatories Support Services (MKSS). Later, he created the Computer Services Recharge System. These systems enable services provided by a wide variety of staff members to be charged to the various projects or telescopes. Recently, the National Optical Astronomy Observatories adopted the MKSS model for its operations in Chile.

From 1983 to 1990, Larry held a number of management positions in the UH Systems Office, including director of the contracts and grants management office. In July 1990, he returned to the Institute as assistant director for administration, just in time for a second wave of major development that included the Keck, Subaru, and Gemini telescopes, and the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea; the AEOS, MAGNUM, and Faulkes telescopes on Haleakala; and our new Hilo facility. Most recently, Larry played a major role in the transition to the Institute's new organizational structure.

Although retired, Larry will maintain a close relationship with the University–he has accepted a position as finance officer with the Research Corporation of the UH at the Maui High Performance Computing Center.