Representative Gene Ward, Ph.D. has spent most of his career in professional and upper management positions at the state, national and international level. Most recently he was the Peace Corps Country Director in the newly independent country of East Timor where he headed a team of 46 American Peace Corps Volunteers, 10 local staff and a $1 million budget. Prior to this he was appointed by the President of the United States as a Senior Democracy Officer in the US State Department’s Agency for International Development in the Office of Democracy and Governance in Washington, D.C.
Representative Ward founded with Dr. George Kanahele, the Hawaii Entrepreneurship Training and Development Institute (HETADI) and trained over 3,000 persons to start their own business in 10 countries. HETADI, a 501(c) (3), was created as an outgrowth of an East-West Center entrepreneurship development program and became the first in the nation to train the unemployed and underemployed to start their own business in the US under the federal jobs creation program (CETA). He was the executive director of the institute, which Pacific Business News labeled “one of the best training firms worldwide” for minorities and traditional cultures.
Representative Ward is a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa with a Ph.D. in Business Sociology and wrote the first dissertation on Native Hawaiian businesspersons in Hawaii regarding their origins of their values and attitudes for entering and succeeding in business. While pursuing his studies at UH, he was a degree scholar at the East-West Center, and like President Obama's parents, met his future wife, Faredah at the Japanese Garden behind Jefferson Hall on the EWC campus. He and Faredah shortly thereafter started a family business at the Royal Hawaii Hotel and operated for 15 years a resort-clothing store before entering the state House of Representative in 1990-98.
As small business development specialist, Representative Ward took a leave of absence in 1985 to work in Africa on a small business development project sponsored by the United Nations International Labour Office. After serving 2 years in Malawi, Africa as a United Nations Chief Technical Advisor, entered he the State House of Representatives from 1990 to 1998. After an election loss in 1998 to then-Congressman Neil Abercrombie, he spent time in Washington DC at USAID and in East Timor with the Peace Corps before returning to the House of Representatives in 2006 where he has been serving the people of Hawaii Kai to Kalama Valley ever since.