6 nominees for SCC 2021 Business Person of the Year

Posted on Jan 27 2022


The Saipan Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the six nominees for the 2021 Business Person of the Year Award: Shayne Villanueva (AB Risk Solutions), Brian Shin (E-Land Group), Emma Perez (500 Sails), Billy Grow (TurnKey Solutions), Bart Jackson (Bridge Capital, LLC.) and John Arroyo (Bank of Saipan).

The nominees are all active members of the Chamber, gracious in their support of the community, and business leaders advocating for our economy and our enterprises.

The winner of this prestigious award will be selected by the prior recipients of this award and announced at the annual Business Person of the Year Gala slated for this Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the Kensington Hall of the Kensington Hotel Saipan from 5:30pm to 10pm.

Seats to the event are limited due to COVID-19 and available for advance purchase only for $100 per person or $800 per table (seats eight). For more information email coordinator@saipanchamber.com or call (670) 234-7150.


Shayne Villanueva is young entrepreneur with an executive sales career mainly focused in Insurance broking. Working over the last 15 years in San Diego his return to the CNMI in 2016 has brought new opportunities. Wearing multiple hats as a business owner, Shayne, is committed to his community and regularly seeks to support the people around him. He looks for ways to help local small businesses develop their capacity and has organized events to support local charitable organizations such as the CNMI Autism Awareness, MINA, Crime Stoppers, Tasi to Table, super typhoons Soudelor and Yutu, Typhoon Mangkhut, and the Toys for Tots Program. His own entrepreneurial endeavors have been recognized by the Marianas Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 Business people in the regions award in 2019 and the Saipan Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year award in 2019. This has inspired a new, young generation of small business owners to ideate and create their own cottage industry. Shayne is also a team player takes a personal interest in developing his team around him. His subordinates in his current role as Operations Manager at AB Risk Solutions regularly make the time and effort to demonstrate their gratitude to him for his leadership. When not focusing on his career, community or businesses Shayne enjoys fishing in our local waters or traveling abroad.

Brian Shin, the chief executive officer of Global Hotel Division of E-Land Park, is best described as a leader with entrepreneurship. He creates opportunity rather than waits for one. He takes bold steps to make difference rather than sits around. He takes crisis as a wake-up call for a change rather than uses it as an excuse for inaction. With his pioneering leadership, he is now overseeing corporate functions and three properties in Saipan, namely, Kensington Hotel Saipan, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, and Coral Ocean Resort, leading more than 500 employees. Brian made his comeback to Saipan in March 2020, this time as a CEO of the division, in the midst of worldwide disarray caused by the spread of COVID-19. He has been exceptionally working hard to endure and overcome the difficulties imposed by the pandemic for the past two years. Prioritizing the community’s safety and health, he made prompt decision to operate PIC as one of non-congregate shelters in partnership with the CNMI Government. He also turned Kensington Hotel into one of the most beloved venues for gathering and staycations of local families. In January 2021, he led long-awaited re-opening project of Coral Ocean Resort, which had to go through full scale renovation to recover colossal damages from Super Typhoon Yutu. In late December of 2020, at the meeting with Marianas Visitors Authority, he presented the idea of initial framework for travel bubble for Korea market, which later influenced the launch of Tourism Resumption Investment Plan (TRIP) program. Shin not only understands the social responsibilities of business, but also proactively finds ways for long-term target to be a part of more balanced, healthy, and sustainable development of the community. As a person of private sector, his interest lies in enhancement of viable economy by creating decent jobs, training workforce, and empowering the youth. As an appointed member of Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors (GCEA), he is doing his part for the shared long-term goal to make CNMI a world class destination. He constantly reminds the employees what E-Land Corporation’s ultimate mission from its founding moment is: to be the light and salt of the world.

That a nominee for Business Person of the Year should come from the nonprofit sector may seem unlikely to many, but of course it makes perfect sense. The honor is not accorded to the person who has made the most money, or climbed highest in an organization. It is not about what a person has done for themselves. It is about the impact they have had on the community. It recognizes the intentional work that they have done to make the community a better place. This can take many forms, such as creating new jobs, providing new vocational and educational opportunities, providing funding for new businesses, improving business infrastructure, removing barriers to success, and otherwise helping to build a community that is thriving.

Emma Perez has done all these things as a career non-profit finance professional working with CNMI non-profits. Her work for non-profits brought in over $750,000 in grant funding in 2021 alone. This includes the second of three years of funding for the Marianas Association of Non-Governmental Organizations’ “Lemmai Mei” Nonprofit Incubator, and the first of three years funding for the new 500 Sails’ Cultural Maritime Training Center. But her help does not stop with obtaining grant funding. Emma is deeply involved in both implementing the funded programs and ensuring that they become sustainable. She installs and manages business systems, trains staff on how to use them, provides grant compliance support, and is involved in day-to-day operations. Almost all of her work with these organizations is provided as an “in-kind” contribution.

Yet despite the huge impact that Emma continues to have on the CNMI’s nonprofits, she is best known in the community as an open water swim coach and a champion of cultural preservation. More people know her on and, in the water than on the land. She is a kind but firm mentor who leads by example. These character traits, together with her professional work, make her an ideal candidate for the honor of being named the Saipan Chamber of Commerce 2021 Business Person of the Year.

With 15 years of collective business experience in various industries and business co-owner of TurnKey Solutions, former member of both the Marianas and Saipan Young Professionals, active member of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Rotarian Club Saipan, Pacific Century Fellowship, and secretary of the Federally Qualified Health Center Board, with HIPAA compliant Certification, Billy Grow holds a BA in Business Management and Marketing from Virginia Tech University. Not only is Billy a contributing member of the islands business community but participant of the island sports community as an active paddler and public information officer of the Marianas Outrigger Club and will be representing the CNMI in the 2022 Va’a National Paddling Team that will compete in the upcoming Pacific Mini Games. People know him to be a positive presence, an innovator, solutions oriented, compassionate, culturally competent, and overall a respectful and loving human being. Billy lives by not always being the smartest person in the room but by empowering the right people to be in the right places to be successful together as a team. He craves new learning and continues to strive for optimization and improvement in both his personal life and professional work. He believes people are your best assets and fostering relationships and embracing connectedness is paramount.

Bart Jackson has been a resident of the CNMI and Guam for the past 31+ years. He was the general manager of PIC Saipan from 1994 to 1999. He was a member of the CNMI gold medal winning softball team at the South Pacific Games in 1999. He is a twice elected member of the MVA board of directors and was elected to the HANMI board thrice. He was the first MVA board director to lead a delegation to the Russia Far East, opening that market to the CNMI. He also worked for DFS developing a DFS-owned hotel from 2012 to 2014. In Guam, he was a board member of GVB for eight two-year terms and chairman of GHRA for 11 terms.

Bart joined Bridge Capital in 2019 as the general manager/vice president. Under his guidance, Bridge contributed over $75,000 annually to CNMI charities and non-profits. He has expanded Bridge’s activity in the community with the development of the Bridge Capital annual holiday season food giveaway and the Bridge Capital Tennis Classic. During the holiday season giveaway, Bridge gave away a week’s worth of food to 300+ needy CNMI families adversely impacted by the pandemic. Bart directed Bridge’s participation in the Private Public Partnership Program through the revitalization of Garapan Central Park and the renovation of the popular and actively used Round House. He also expanded Bridge Capital donations to organizations like Tasi to Table, Salvation Army, and the Road to 80, among others. Also, Bart has worked directly with the CNMI Legislature to encourage the inclusion of private sector input on legislation impacting the economy.
Bart has spent more than half of his adult life in the Marianas. It is his home. He would like to congratulate all of the nominees on being recognized for their efforts and accomplishments.

John Arroyo has an extensive career in banking starting with the Bank of Hawaii as a commercial loan officer and then later vice president, Credit Administration at BankPacific. After leaving BankPacific he became the chief executive officer of Coast360 Federal Credit Union and guided the credit union through a massive phase of growth and development, which included a membership base expansion, the addition of a host of new products and services, a core system conversion, a name change, a corporate re-branding and image upgrade, the opening of new branches and the construction of Guam’s first U.S. Green Building Council Building Design and Construction-certified green building. After eight years heading up the credit union John decided to take a hiatus from banking so in January 2013 he joined Title Guaranty of Guam as its general manager. Three years later he was called back to banking and is now the president and CEO of the Bank of Saipan

John holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Guam and a Masters of Business Administration from Oregon State University. John actively participates on civic and government boards. He is previous involvement includes the Guam Land Use Commission, the American Red Cross Guam Chapter, Guam Banker’s Association, Hurao, Inc., Guma Mami, Inc., JA Guam, University of Guam Endowment Foundation and the University of Guam board of regents. He currently is a sitting member of the American Red Cross-Northern Mariana Island Chapter board of directors and NMC Foundation board. He has been a Rotarian since 2019 with the Rotary Club of Saipan.

In his spare time John enjoys fishing, golfing, traveling, reading and enjoying time with his wife, JoAnn, and son, Christian. (PR)

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