Culture Science
Dear Fellow Islanders:
Throughout our 52 years in business we've learned that engineering is only part of
what is needed to deliver successful island projects. Each Island's culture and
environment is unique and understanding this comes first.

This short book summarizes our approach. Please feel free to contact us for a
customized proposal.

  serves island communities by weaving together three themes in this order:  
  • Meet people face-to-face on every island we serve
  • Spend a lot of time with residents to build mutual trust
  • Agree on what needs to be accomplished and how it will help the community
  Culture: Each island’s culture is unique and our job is to apply that cultural understanding to our work. People and culture are driving factors and our engineering is the by-product.  
  Science: Engineering is applied science and offers the tools to create solutions for island communities that will last for generations. While engineering is the service we provide, our ultimate goal is to meet the needs of the neighborhoods and individuals we serve.  
LYON believes:
  • Art creates something new that didn't exist before.
  • Investment in infrastructure opens the door for the Art to shape a community.
  • Art has value when a community shares the vision and "buy in" to change.
  Any new project - whether it's a road, sewer system or waterline - is a work of Art. With thousands of infrastructure projects successfully delivered over the last five decades, we believe each project is our Artwork.  
  As our Clients invest in infrastructure, they open up a wide realm of possibilities to reshape the growth of their community. This growth represents change to some people, and change can be scary. At LYON we help our Clients see not just what is possible; we also help stakeholders adapt to change by allowing them to have a voice.  
Our extensive Pacific Islands experience has revealed patterns of success that LYON has been able to replicate from Island to Island. The time we invest in building strong relationships with our clients is the cornerstone of everything we do, and stems from mutual respect and trust. We help people actively envision their future and to embrace change.  
LYON helps Island communities:
  • Respect the past.
  • Assess the present.
  • Define the future.
  LYON is a Hawaii firm with the highest regard for Micronesian, Polynesian and other cultures that are unique to each of our Island homes. Thus, learning the cultural history of a community is the homework we do before meeting a Client so we have a frame of reference to understand the local perspective.  
  This understanding is essential so we can build a relationship of trust. For example, drinking sa kau on Pohnpei is an important cultural activity we believe helps us understand their social customs.  
The future of an Island - specifically the Client’s vision of this future - is how we frame our projects on an Island community to be shared by all.  
We have the privilege of working on Hawaii Scenic Byways
( and developed these lessons learned:
  The values, challenges, location, history and area of significance each community wants to preserve are completely different for each community. The key for us is to not impose our own set of assumptions; instead we start with a clean canvas as we meet the community members.  
  Seeking indigenous Hawaiian understanding by connecting with individuals and Native Hawaiian organizations early is critical. For example, in Koloa, Kauai, the nominating community organization held the Hawaiian belief that large open community meetings can be a challenge and should not serve as a one-stop solution. Rather, they valued meeting in small groups, so we reached out and met them on their turf.  
  Unique Culture
The Pacific Ocean does not divide us, it connects us, one island to another. Yet each of our islands has developed its own unique culture and environment. Understanding and integrating the unique traits of each island helps us to find the balance point between ART (creating something new, like a new project), SCIENCE (engineering tools to solve problems) and CULTURE (our island life).
    Engineering Standards
Home to one million island residents and host to over four million tourists annually, the island of Oahu features one of the most densely concentrated and self-contained infrastructure systems on our planet. Consequently, the highly developed and robustly tested engineering standards used to guide development on this island are used as a basis for developing infrastructure standards across the Pacific. Islands we call home.
Qualified construction contractors on each island are uniquely talented, experienced and equipped to take on upcoming projects. Encouraging contractors to compete for projects on neighbor islands improves overall quality, competition and price, and brings new approaches to each island from which to learn.
Specifications describe the project and is the most important interpretation of a project.
Quantities for construction are created to obtain pricing from Contractors.
Plans represent our "vision" of work to be built as a summary of integrated improvements.