James Ajello

Jim AjelloThe Ajello Professorship and its related projects and programs are made possible by a $250,000 gift from Maxwell School alumnus James Ajello '76 MPA.

Mr. Ajello is a retired energy industry executive who, until early 2017, served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), a position he assumed in 2009. HEI supplies power to approximately 95 percent of Hawaii's population through its electric utilities, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii Electric Light Company, and Maui Electric Company. The company also provides a wide array of banking and other financial services to consumers and businesses through American Savings Bank, one of Hawaii's largest financial institutions.

Mr. Ajello previously served as chairman of the U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management Advisory Board; as senior vice president of business development at Reliant Energy (2000-09); and in various positions, including managing director for energy and natural resources, at UBS Financial Services (1984-98). Based in Houston, Mr. Ajello now serves on the board of directors of American Savings Bank, and is also on the board of Crius Energy in Toronto, Canada. He has served for many years as a member of the board of trustees of Hawaii Pacific University.

His support of CEPA ties back directly to work he had done as a Maxwell student. “About 40 years ago I did research in Harry Lambright’s class on this very topic — multidisciplinary approaches to energy and environmental issues,” he says. “Virtually every job I’ve had since Maxwell, in the public and private sectors, has immersed me in this very interesting topic. Yet there is so much more to learn to achieve an energy efficient and sustainable society. This work is more important than ever, and that is why I am delighted to support training and research n this valuable field.”