The Rotary Club of Saipan presented its Citizen of the Year award to Jose “Joe” Ayuyu of McDonald’s Saipan last Tuesday during the Rotary’s meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.
According to past Rotary president Mike Sablan, the award is given to an individual who exemplifies the Rotary’s fundamental standards of integrity, ethics, and service.
“Joe is a shining example of the balance of a hard work ethic, competitive business nature, personal integrity, and service,” said Sablan.
Ayuyu was born on Saipan on April 24, 1952, to Juanita and Esteban Ayuyu. His leadership skills were recognized early on after he was elected class president of his junior class at Marianas High School in 1969 and then received an opportunity to complete his senior high school year in North Dakota.
Ayuyu earned a degree in Economics and was soon appointed to the CNMI government’s Department of Commerce.
Afterwards, Ayuyu started a career in Bank of Guam, serving as vice president and manager of Guam, Saipan, Chuuk and Majuro branches.
The next phase in Ayuyu’s career had him managing over 300 employees as vice president and general manager of Hakubotan during the peak period of Japanese investment and tourism on Saipan.
What sets the stage for Ayuyu’s widespread impact on Saipan is his role as developer and owner of the McDonald’s restaurant chain on Saipan and in Guam.
Although Ayuyu’s businesses required an enormous amount of personal commitment to its operations, he always found time to give back to the community over the last 30 years.
Ayuyu chaired the CNMI Tax Task Force and the CNMI Foreign Investment Board, was vice chair of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, chair of the Friends of the Beach Road Pathway, a member of the CNMI 902 panel, sponsored Little League baseball and other sports, sponsored the CNMI Crime Stoppers program, sponsored the “Run Against Crime” 5K event for the past 18 years, and served on the Chamber of Commerce boards of Saipan, Chuuk and Majuro, and many other community organizations.