California

PATRICK SULLIVAN
Professional Problem Solver

By Liberty Peralta, PBS Hawaiʻi

 

Patrick Sullivan, Professional Problem Solver

Inset image, left: Sullivan as a University of Hawai‘i doctoral candidate in Engineering. Genie, right, is an Oceanit robotics and artificial intelligence project with two brains, eyes, ears and a mouth that is capable of tracking faces and specific expressions.

 

Patrick Sullivan Lifelong Problem Solver Tuesday, August 20 at 7:30 pm Professional Problem Solver Tuesday, August 27 at 7:30 pm Both program will be available online at pbshawaii.orgIt seems there’s no problem too big or too small for Patrick Sullivan of Kailua, Windward O‘ahu.

 

He wanted a car, so at age 13, he started working in food service jobs, saved up and bought a car at age 16.

 

He wanted to go to college, so at age 17, he applied for student loans, grants, and work study … and started a landscaping business to earn the money.

 

He visited the Islands during a college break, so to pay for his lodging, he cobbled together home improvement jobs for some people he met on the plane ride to O‘ahu.

 

So it seems natural that Sullivan is now in the business of problem solving. He’s the founder and chairman of Oceanit, a Honolulu-based company that uses science and innovation to create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. One of the many projects that Oceanit is working on is a rapid-response solution to help an elderly person after a fall. Sullivan explains that an “inexpensive but effective robotic assistant” can help save a life.

 

This wall at Oceanit headquarters attracts visitor attention. Inset image: Deep-dive helmets, above, are being redesigned to reduce noise that causes hearing loss while maintaining the ability to communicate.

This wall at Oceanit headquarters attracts visitor attention. Inset image: Deep-dive helmets, above, are being redesigned to reduce noise that causes hearing loss while maintaining the ability to communicate.

 

The name “Oceanit” comes from a Greek and Latin term for “ocean dweller.” It’s an apt description for Sullivan, who gets in the water four to five times a week. It’s a tradition that started when his son Matthew and daughter Tarah were children. “Surfing is a way to reconnect to the world,” he says.

 

As Sullivan explains it, “Oceanit” is also an apt company name. “The ocean is a teacher in so many ways,” he says. “It covers everything from physics, chemistry, biology, hydromechanics, so [the ocean] is probably the biggest mashup of all science.”

 

Oceanit employs about 160 scientists and engineers and has raised more than $475 million in research and development funds. Its national and international client list includes governments, universities, organizations and businesses.

 

It’s no accident that Oceanit is based in Hawai‘i, and Sullivan credits it as a strength. “Innovation comes from differences, not sameness,” he says. “I think in the culture of Hawai‘i is innovation. The Native Hawaiians that came to Hawai‘i, they innovated to get here, and they innovated when they got here. They were not afraid of technology, afraid of change; they embraced it.”

 

Sullivan is familiar with constant change. Born in California, Sullivan spent his early years in Los Angeles. His family moved to Seattle after his father Thomas was hired as an aircraft mechanic for Boeing, a job that would end during a mass layoff. Sullivan’s family then moved multiple times to Texas, Wyoming and Arizona, before settling down in Colorado.

 

“I went to four different high schools, which brings its own challenges,” Sullivan says. “[My parents] tried to keep everything together, but it was just really hard.”

 

His parents, whose families moved West after the Great Depression, lacked the means to pursue an education, and had five children to care for. “That’s why an education was so important [to me],” he says.

 

With the rapid pace of technology replacing lowerwage service jobs, Sullivan underscores the importance of education.

 

“Adults need to consider lifelong learning,” he says. “That needs to be part of the culture, where we get comfortable with that, and it needs to be more available and affordable.”

 

Sullivan stresses that getting an education for the sake of education isn’t the point, but to build one’s “durability” as industries continue to evolve. It’s the kind of durability that’s helped Sullivan navigate change and tackle life’s challenges.

 

And with the business of problem solving, it seems there’s no end in sight.

 

 

 

SAMANTHA BROWN’S PLACES TO LOVE
Greater Palm Springs, CA

SAMANTHA BROWN’S PLACES TO LOVE: Greater Palm Springs, CA

 

What Art Deco is to Miami is what Mid-Century Modern is to Palm Springs. Samantha finds this out first-hand by taking a tour of several iconic homes built in this style, then visits Gypsyland, a local furniture shop that specializes in period furniture. Golf is hugely popular in Palm Springs, but FootGolf? Samantha learns all about this new international sport and gets a chance to put her foot into it. At The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Samantha volunteers to help assemble some of the unique enrichment meals with an Animal Care Curator. From there, Samantha gets a tutorial in stunt driving, and takes it to the course, doing a reverse J-turn, and “drifting” in watery conditions. Slowing down the pace, Samantha visits Shields Date Garden, talks to a “Palmero” about intricacies of pollenating date trees and finishes off with a world famous date shake. Finally, Samantha ventures out to the historic Joshua Tree National Park, where she meets with a charismatic Park Ranger and gets a chance to soak in the beauty of this treasured Park.

 

 

 

 

LUCKY CHOW
Bay Area’s Pacific Rim Cuisine

 

Meet Olivia Wu, designer of the original Asian restaurant concepts on the Google’s campus. Go behind-the-scenes at Google’s first sit-down restaurant, Baadal, where Chef Irfan Dama serves up biryani, an Indian rice dish. Then, meet two retired executives who, after careers in Silicon Valley, returned to their ancestral Japanese farming roots and constructed an indoor vertical farm.

 

 

 

LUCKY CHOW
Filipino Entrepreneurs

 

This series travels across the United States to explore Asian cuisine’s impact on American food culture. Hosted by Danielle Chang, the six-part series explores a wide variety of Asian food and drink and meets the new generation of chefs and entrepreneurs dedicated to keeping traditions alive. The series features renowned chefs and culinary personalities such as Top Chef winner Kristen Kish, YouTube sensation Maangchi, Chinese master chef Susur Lee and ramen entrepreneur Ivan Orkin.

 

Filipino Entrepreneurs
Filipinos comprise the second-largest Asian American population nationwide, yet their cuisine is relatively unknown. PJ Quesada, founder of the Filipino Food Movement, explains Filipino cuisine while feasting at his friend Tim Luym’s restaurant in San Mateo, CA. Then we meet restaurateur Nicole Ponseca, who left her life as an advertising executive in New York to give voice to her culture through food. Finally, the two friends behind Bling Bling Dumplings manufacture thousands of dumplings – from scratch, at home – to serve at festivals.

 

 

 

 

NORMAN MINETA AND HIS LEGACY:
AN AMERICAN STORY

NORMAN MINETA AND HIS LEGACY: AN AMERICAN STORY

 

The child of immigrants, Norman Mineta’s uniquely American story charts a path from the shame he experienced as a Japanese American inside a U.S. internment camp during World War II to his triumphant rise to political prominence that has shaped every level of government, and made him one of the most influential Asian Americans in the history of our nation. His distinguished career has been a continuous unmatched slate of firsts, including 20 years in the United States Congress and eventually serving in the cabinets of two presidents from different political parties: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Still thriving today in his 80s, he is celebrated as a bipartisan visionary who preached political civility, yet was a bold change-maker with a deft political touch and an inclusive vision of the future.

 

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INDEPENDENT LENS
Harvest Season

INDEPENDENT LENS: Harvest Season

 

A story usually hidden behind a more glamorous front, Harvest Season probes the lives of the multigenerational Latinos, temporary laborers, and permanent residents intimately connected to the production of premium wines in the Napa and Sonoma regions of Northern California — in the midst of one of the most dramatic grape harvests in recent memory.

 

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Our American Family:
The Furutas

OUR AMERICAN FAMILY: The Furutas

 

Through hard work, the Furutas, a Japanese American family in Wintersburg, CA established a successful goldfish farm, only to have their business devastated and family separated in the wake of WWII. Following years in an Arizona relocation camp, their indomitable spirit prevails as they return home and band together to pursue the American dream a second time.

 

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NOVA
Inside the Megafire

NOVA: Inside the Megafire

 

The California wildfires of 2018 took a worrisome trend to a new extreme, claiming scores of lives and over a million acres. Scientists investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and drought may contribute to the rise of deadly megafires.

 

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NATURE
American Spring Live: Birth and Rebirth

NATURE: American Spring Live - A Pike or short-eared bunny

 

NATURE, television’s longest-running weekly natural history series, has won more than 200 honors from the television industry, parent groups, the international wildlife film community and environmental organizations, including the only award ever given to a television program by the Sierra Club.

 

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Birth and Rebirth
Tracing the green wave that sweeps across the continent in spring, see how the rising temperatures and longer days spur plants to awaken and flower, and animals to seek out newly abundant resources for their new families. See bears emerge from hibernation in Maryland and witness the connection that nesting birds have with alligators in the Everglades. Go nest hunting in Arizona and learn how the California wildlands are being reborn after a year of devastating wildfires. Discover how animals have incorporated seasonal change into their life cycles and successful reproductive strategies – all demonstrated by the birth of a lamb in Maine.

 

 

 

ARTBOUND
The Art of Basket Weaving

ARTBOUND: The Art of Basket Weaving

 

Native American basketry has long been viewed as a community craft, yet the artistic quality and value of these baskets are on par with other fine art. Now Native peoples across the country are revitalizing basketry traditions and the country looks to California as a leader in basket weaving revitalization. There has been a revival in traditional basket weaving, thanks to the work of the California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA), which was founded in 1992 under the slogan “keeping the tradition alive.” This episode was made in partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West and CIBA.

 

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