Randall Tanaka is the President and CEO of THE FIRST STEP. THE FIRST STEP is a logistics support company specifically in the large convention and conference market. Given the diverse nature of today’s meeting business and cost to host these types of meetings, a broad range of skills are needed to host a successful conference.
In December of 2015, the WCC National Host Committee selected Tanaka to become the Executive Director for the US effort for the 2016 World Conservation Congress. Considering the scope of the WCC and its first time being held in the US, his past experience will serve to make it a great congress.
In 2009, Tanaka accepted a special assignment and was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the APEC 2011 Hawai‘i Host Committee. APEC was the most significant conference Hawaii has hosted. Working with the most significant economies in Asia, Hawaii demonstrated that it is the perfect place to meet.
In 1996, Mr. Tanaka opened the Hawaii Convention Center as the Director of Sales and Marketing and through a number of promotions Tanaka became the Interim General Manager of the Hawai’i Convention Center (HCC) before the formation of his company, THE FIRST STEP.
Through is tenure, he was responsible for the overall operations, management and sales & marketing of the HCC. Previously served as the Assistant General Manager, responsible for overseeing event management and operations, including capital improvement programming. Tanaka’s previous areas of responsibility at the Hawai‘i Convention Center have included director of business development and industry relations, as well as director of sales and marketing, director of business development and industry relations, Tanaka oversaw revenue development, the Hawai’i Convention Center’s (HCC) web site, the creation and implementation of successful client value programs and collaborated with innovative projects including Convention Television and Global Attendance Development. Under his leadership during the 2005 PCMA Annual meeting in Hawai‘i, 10 key meetings were booked for the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Hired in 1996 as director of sales and marketing, he was part of the Center’s pre opening team staff and brought 32 years of hospitality industry experience to the position.
Prior to being hired by the HCC, Tanaka served as executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. Previous employment includes serving as director of sales for the Island of Lanai and director of sales and marketing for the Ihilani Resort and Spa.
Tanaka is a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and lectures at the Travel Industry Management School.
He is a member and a Trustee for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Foundation.