(SCC) — The Saipan Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the four nominees for the 2020 Business Person of the Year Award: Joseph C.  Guerrero (Naked Fish Bar & Grill), Josephine DLG Mesta (Hyatt Regency Saipan), Esther Muna (Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation), Joshua Wise (PHI Pharmacy). The nominees for Business Person of the Year are all active members of the chamber, gracious in their support of the community, and business leaders advocating for our economy and our enterprises.

biz nominees

Joseph C. Guerrero is the co-owner of Naked Fish Bar & Grill as well as Hafa Adai Realty. Guerrero has over 19 years of senior business management and development experience in real estate finance & investments, commercial lending, and sales; consulting; restaurant & bar; telecommunications sales; health care; and auto dealership. 

No stranger to serving our community, Guerrero was formerly appointed by the late Gov. Eloy S. Inos as the chairperson of the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission (2012-2015), leading oversight on rates and services of public utilities. Currently, he serves as vice president of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce (2019-present), board member of the NMI Crime Stoppers (2017-present), as well as a council member of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors as appointed by Gov. Ralph Torres.

Guerrero has been a member of the chamber for nearly 20 years. He is the current board vice president as well as co-chair for the Government Relations Committee, and he recently gave testimony at the SCC Town Hall Forum on behalf of small businesses. Guerrero holds a BA in business administration (real estate) from Washington State University and an MBA from the University of Oregon. As a small business owner, he readily advocates for small businesses concerning legislation and policies.

Josephine DLG Mesta is the director of human resources of Hyatt Regency Saipan. She has 20+ years of experience in international and multi-cultural management-level human resource management, senior-level hospitality management and training; and administrative and leadership positions. She is also the owner of Train Smart, which provides training for small businesses, government agencies, job coaching of workers with disabilities. 

Mesta received her bachelors of science in business at Hawaii Pacific College and her masters of education specializing in special education at the University of Hawaii. She is a certified training specialist at the University of Hawaii, certified as a professional in human resources through SHRM, and a certified guest service professional through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

Displaying a long history of contribution to the CNMI’s workforce advancement, Mesta is a founding member of the Society of Human Resources-Northern Marianas Chapter, where she went on to serve as secretary, vice-president, and ultimately president of the organization. Mesta serves as the chair of the State Workforce Investment Board, secretary of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance, vice-chair of the State Rehabilitation Council, chair of the Santa Soledad Finance Council, and Member of the Kagman Christian Mothers. She is also a former member of CNMI Task Workforce and former board member of Northern Marianas Trades Institute. Because of her dedication to our workforce needs, the CNMI moves closer to a locally-sustained, equitable workforce.

Esther L. Muna was appointed in April 2014 as chief executive Officer of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and as the state/territorial health official for the CNMI. She currently oversees the strategic direction and all operations of the CNMI health system, which includes the Commonwealth Health Center Hospital, Rota Health Center, Tinian Health Center, Population Health Services, Behavioral Health Services, and Environmental Health Services. Under her leadership, CHCC continues to upgrade, and enhance services for CNMI residents, including the Northern Marianas Oncology Center, orthopedic surgery, child psychiatry, and Tele-pharmacy.

CEO Muna is board-certified in healthcare management as a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Muna’s leadership roles include currently serving as a member of the End-Stage Renal Disease Network 17 board of directors, as the president of the Pacific Island Health Officers Association, as a Board member of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and as the chair of the Insular Affairs Committee of ASTHO, which advocates for congressional legislation to develop a long-term solution that includes the removal of funding caps of Medicaid for the CNMI and other U.S. territories.

Muna received a master of health administration degree from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

Dr. Joshua Wise has been the general manager for Pacific Health Inc. (PHI Pharmacy) since 2015. Since serving as GM and despite setbacks with Covid-19, PHI has opened multiple new locations in Kagman (March 2020), Garapan (September 2020), and Tinian (December 2020). The Tinian branch will be the first pharmacy in the CNMI operated by advanced tele-pharmacy software, which will provide our Tinian community access to unique pharmacy services and face to face pharmacist counseling. Dr. Wise believes in the importance of advocating for and expanding access to quality affordable healthcare.

Because of his passion for affordable, quality healthcare, Dr. Wise collaborated with the CNMI’s only Federally Qualified Health Center  at Kagman Community Health Center to establish a 340B program, which enables KCHC patients who qualify under their sliding fee program to be able to be a recipient for a Care Card. The Care Card is used to cover the cost of their prescription medication and became available to the community in March of 2020. To date, PHI Pharmacy is the only pharmacy in the CNMI that accepts the Care Card. Additionally in 2020 Dr. Wise negotiated lower pricing to offer children’s vitamins, prenatal vitamins, general adult multivitamins, and senior (50+) multivitamins to our CNMI community for free. He also reached out to numerous drug companies to continually evolve PHI Pharmacy’s compliance program in an effort to add more high-priced drugs to be available for copay assistance. With PHI Pharmacy’s current compliance program, it has saved patients over $125,000 in copays collectively in 2020.

Dr. Joshua Wise graduated with a doctor of pharmacy and bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies degree in 2014. He is a 2018 graduate of the Pacific Century Fellows-NMI Chapter, an active member of the CHCC Care Transition team, and an involved stakeholder for the Overdose to Action or OD2A Program.

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce and its membership would like to congratulate the four nominees on their stellar accomplishments and extend gratitude for their contributions to the community. The winner of this prestigious award will be selected by the prior recipients of this award and announced at the annual Business Person of the Year Gala slated for Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in the Royal Taga Ballroom of World Resort Saipan from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Seats to the event are limited due to Covid-19 and available for advance purchase only for $100 per person. Tickets include a formal sit-down dinner, networking, and a night celebrating the movers and shakers of our community. To order tickets, RSVP online at https://www.saipanchamber.com/bpoyannualgala/, email coordinator@saipanchamber.com, call 234-7150, or visit the 4th floor of the Marianas Business Plaza, Suite #413.

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