Client Conversation: Ish Eustaquio (HSFCU)

The Concept of Kaizen

Ish Eustaquio

ELEMENT: What do you hope to see the moment your new branch opens?

ISH: It’s not about what I want to see, it’s about our entire team seeing new members engaging in the next evolution of the credit union while having a space that remains true to our heritage and what makes HSFCU great. We want to have our design signal an evolution and growth. This thinking comes from the Japanese concept of KAIZEN. Kaizen means always improving, you never arrive. We want our evolution at HSFCU to embrace the mindset of Kaizen so that we may better serve the community, our members and staff engagement.

ELEMENT: Can you define what the HSFCU heritage is based upon?

ISH: Tanomoshi is a Japanese term at the foundation of our heritage. The term is based on the concept of a community financial pool that can be used by those in need. They pull what they need from the financial pool and on their own volition give back to the pool when they are financially capable. It’s a delivery channel of financial stability that is self-sustaining by the members. With that heritage and foundation of Tanomoshi, HSFCU has created a delivery channel and foundation that is friendly, genuine where we can do right by you, and right by each other.

ELEMENT: Why Element?

ISH: We picked each other – from an existing relationship with Mac Erickson (Account Executive). When you are working with a partner it has to be two ways. One of the things I realized was that we didn’t want to simply do business with someone, we wanted to grow with someone, we looked at our organization and found similar core values. It’s more than just doing business, it’s more helping each other. Mac and I go back a long way. He knew it was not necessarily about building a branch, it was really about making an impact. Mac was clear that if Element couldn’t make an impact then it wouldn’t be the right partnership. It wasn’t about us choosing Element, it was a matter of us selecting each other.

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ELEMENT: What attracted you to working at HSFCU?

ISH: I was attracted to HSFCU because of Andrew Rosen (CEO). I saw through his leadership the opportunity to be innovative, a view of the horizon from a different perspective… Anybody can do construction work, but it’s how it is facilitated. It's discovering how it should be, can be, and what we need to do to make it happen. Element has all of that. We want to challenge our team to explore, dream, and deliver. Without the delivery those dreams never come to fruition. At HSFCU, we have designed a RED team. RED stands for Rethink Evolve Design and is comprised of seven highly intelligent individuals handpicked by Andrew Rosen and the executive team. The intention for this team was to be the next tier of HSFCU leadership since they will inherit the branch of today and tomorrow. Andrew and the other executives dug deep to find the courage to give this group of individuals exposure and the ability to build trust and collaboration. This ensures that when the new branch opens, they are ready for the next evolution of HSFCU.

For more on the HSFCU Project, click here to see a blog post on the unique renovation process.


Interview conducted by Dawn Rabinowitz.

Edited by Scott Worroll.

Compiled and edited by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union: Salt Lake Location

Waves lap at the sides of a massive ship powering through the currents of the Pacific. Nondescript, the containers stacked on the deck offer the viewer little in the way of their contents. However, one of these containers holds something unique, the pieces of the newly designed branch for Hawaii State Federal Credit Union all in one place, and ready for implementation.

Rendering of HSFCU Salt Lake Branch, Hawaii: Part 1

It was just over a year ago that this project took its first steps in Portsmouth, NH. Six members of Hawaii’s executive team traveled overseas to visit Element headquarters. They spent four days discussing the new strategy, work environment, as well as various ways to improve the member experience.

Out for Lobster in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME.

Strategy Session

In addition to the meetings and discussions, the team at Element took their visitors to Boston to see the sights and tour multiple “branch of the future” locations.

Touring the sites!

Inspiration Source: The Capitol One Cafe

Over the next several months, the team from Hawaii and the team from Element worked their way through concepts, schematic design, and design development documentation. Since then, a variety of specialists have come together to bring this project to fruition. All of the millwork and materials were manufactured in a Phoenix location, then carefully packaged, crated, and shipped to Honolulu.

With minimal room to space, the boxes containing the branch were ready for departure.

Meanwhile, a “vanilla box” was created on location. This meant prepping the outside of the branch as well as creating a clean slate on the inside. Just prior to shipping, the teams reconvened in Phoenix, Arizona to review the millwork and catch up on the digital touch experience. Then, the branch was shipped to location in one large 40’ container, separated by type in wooden units. This included the millwork, the ceiling tiles, flooring, lights, doors, digital, computers, and hardware.

Inspecting the millwork

Ultimately, this type of shipment allowed for a faster delivery, as all the moving parts are delivered together, a faster installation, and an immediate start to construction. It is a more sustainable, organized, and efficient option to the normal (and slow) process normally reserved in putting together a new branch.

Lunch in Phoenix

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union is the first credit union to make use of this unique service. Shipped out of Phoenix on May 6th, the transporters sent a complete photo gallery detailing the process and ensuring that instructions were followed to a T.

Renderings of HSFCU Salt Lake Branch, Hawaii: Part 2

What ended up being 28 packages and 24,125 pounds of weight, arrived safely in Honolulu approximately two months ago. The implementation team has been busy constructing the branch in preparation for the soft opening on July 29th, 2019.

To see more photos detailing the process, check out this gallery.

To see the finished product, head on over to Instagram where there will be photos of the completed branch, as well as of the opening itself!


Written by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group.