At Aquila Group of Funds, the hallmark of our time-tested municipal bond fund strategy has always been our local presence in the markets in which we invest. Included in that local presence are the members of our Boards of Trustees who reside in the states where we manage mutual funds.
Mutual fund boards are the champions of shareholders, and for over 35 years Aquila Group of Funds and our respected Trustees have been shareholder focused. In December, our company recognized the pending retirements of three esteemed independent Trustees, Mr. Richard L. Humphreys, Mr. Russell K. Okata, and Mr. Ralph R. Shaw.
Mr. Richard L. Humphreys, retired from the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, effective December 31, 2019, after having served as a Trustee since 2009 and Chair of the Board since 2013. Mr. Humphreys is President of both Hawaii Receivables Management, LLC, a factoring company, and Lynk Payment Systems Hawaii, LLC, a credit card processing firm. Among other executive roles in banking and finance, he was formerly Chairman of Bank of America, Hawaii, President of Hawaiian Trust Company (the original investment adviser of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, which later merged with the Trust’s current adviser, Bank of Hawaii), President of First Federal S&L and Executive Vice President of Bank of Hawaii. Mr. Humphreys is currently serving and has previously served on the board of directors of a broad variety of local organizations, including Kahua Ranch Ltd. His considerable business experience and valuable business insight have greatly benefitted Aquila Investment Management, his fellow Trustees, and shareholders.
Mr. Russell K. Okata retired from the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust and the board of Aquila Funds Trust, effective December 31, 2019. Mr. Okata joined the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust in 1992, and was a Trustee of Pacific Capital Funds of Cash Assets Trust (three former money-market funds in the Aquila Group of Funds) from 1993-2012. In 2007, Mr. Okata joined the board of Trustees of Aquila High Income Fund, and later became a Trustee of Aquila Funds Trust which oversees both Aquila Opportunity Growth Fund and Aquila High Income Fund. During his tenure as Trustee, Mr. Okata was a member of the Judicial Council of Hawaii and served as a director of various civic and charitable organizations. He was the Executive Director of Hawaii Government Employees Association and the International Vice President of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees from 1981 – 2007. Mr. Okata’s experience in local government affairs and his knowledge of Hawaii has been invaluable to the boards and shareholders he served.
Mr. Ralph R. Shaw retired from the board of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, effective December 31, 2019, after having served as Trustee since 2000. During his tenure as a Trustee, Mr. Shaw served in a variety of leadership roles including as Audit Committee Chair since 2002. Mr. Shaw’s prestigious and varied background included extensive experience in the securities business and as a member of the board of directors of a number of companies throughout the country, including Rentrak Corporation, a global media research company. He has served as a leading venture capitalist in the Pacific Northwest, backing a broad variety of companies including Costco. Mr. Shaw is owner of Shaw Management LLC, and was President of Shaw Management Company, an investment counseling firm, from 1980 – 2018. His extensive business experience and insight have greatly benefitted his fellow Trustees and the Fund’s shareholders during his time as Trustee.
On behalf of the Funds, we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to each of these retired Trustees. All three individuals, over their tenure as Trustee, brought a high level of dedication and professionalism to their role as a fiduciary on behalf of fund shareholders. We are very proud to have worked with them, appreciative of their years of service, and we wish them well in all of their future endeavors.