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Family & Hawaiian Heritage

Beadie Kanahele Dawson Kamaaina of the Year 2019 DAWSON.jpeg

A Legacy of Entrepreneurship & Service

Chris credits his parents, Beadie Leina'ala Kanahele Dawson and Donald Roy Dawson, for his entrepreneurial spirit and desire to serve the Native Hawaiian community.
 
Beadie is a Native Hawaiian attorney, celebrated community leader, and hoʻoponopono practitioner and educator. She is board member emeritus for Native Hawaiian Corporation and DAWSON and was a founding board member of both companies since their inception. 

Beadie has served the Native Hawaiian community all her life, driving change in countless community initiatives, including the restoration of Iolani Palace and the reorganization of Bishop Estate Trust. Among her many accolades, she was named 2019 Kamaʻāina of the Year by the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation. Beadie is also an elected member of Daughters of Hawaiʻi, an organization founded in 1903 to perpetuate the memory and spirit of old Hawai‘i.  

 

Beadie has tirelessly worked to advance Native Hawaiian issues on the social, political, legal, and philanthropic fronts. She has spearheaded legislative working groups to provide federal recognition for all Native Hawaiians and has worked with and collaborated with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of the Interior on measures necessary for the reconciliation between the United States government and the Native Hawaiian people. In addition, Beadie has led efforts on behalf of many organizations benefiting Native Hawaiians; she has served as vice-chairman and board member of the Native Hawaiian Bar Association and board member of the Native Hawaiian Organization Association, a trade association of SBA-certified Native Hawaiian Organizations.
 
As an advocate for Native Hawaiian education, Beadie has served as a board member of the Warrior Council of Leadership for Kamehameha Schools; chairperson and board member of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, supporting special programs for minority and Native Hawaiian students; and as an advisory board member of the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the University of Hawaiʻi Law School’s Native Hawaiian Study Program which focuses on the laws and culture of Native Hawaiians. Beadie also served as president and board member of Friends of the Medical School at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, particularly in support of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health and the ʻImi Ola Scholarship Program.
 

Chris’ father, Don, joined the Canadian Army at 18 and served proudly in the Canadian Intelligence Corp throughout the European Theater of World War II. Honorably discharged at 25, Don fast-tracked his 8th-grade education and, by the time he was 30, earned his high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree in Political Economics from McMaster University and a master’s degree in Commerce from the University of Toronto.

In 1967, Don was named Hawai'i's Small Businessman of the Year by one of his mentors, Governor John A. Burns. Don worked as an advertising and marketing executive and trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce. He established Hawai'i's first hardwood logging, sawmill and pallet plant operation; a prepaid legal insurance company; and helped launch a successful environmental engineering firm. 

Don was a longtime member and lay reader of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, a member of The Pacific Club for 46 years, and a lifelong Rotarian and founder of Metropolitan Rotary Club of Honolulu.
 

 

Entrepreneurship

Chris is a serial social entrepreneur. Over the past three decades, he has launched several ventures with the goal of perpetuating Native Hawaiian culture, history, and community.

DAWSON Companies

Founder & CEO

During a flash of lunchtime inspiration more than 25 years ago, Chris sketched the DAWSON logo on a napkin while sitting in the concession area of Pioneer Plaza in downtown Honolulu. Today, DAWSON employs over 1,200 people across 18 offices.

 

DAWSON is a Native Hawaiian global business enterprise serving the U.S. Department of Defense and other Federal Government clients. It offers professional and technical services, construction, operations and maintenance, and environmental services across 16 countries.

 

Globally headquartered in Honolulu, Hawai'i and nationally headquartered in Denver, CO, the DAWSON companies— collectively known as DAWSON—are subsidiaries of the Hawaiian Native Corporation. Rooted in the Hawaiian values of aloha (embodying humility, respect, and compassion for all) and ʻohana (family), DAWSON carries forward a kuleana (responsibility) to benefit the Native Hawaiian community.

Hawaiian Native Corporation

Founder & Chairman

Chris founded the Hawaiian Native Corporation in February 2004. It serves as the parent company of DAWSON and a Native Hawaiian community impact organization whose principal mission is to benefit the Native Hawaiian community. Hawaiian Native Corporation is controlled entirely by Native Hawaiians and is federally certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a “Native Hawaiian Organization.”
 
The organization benefits Native Hawaiians through a wide variety of partner programs focused on three pillars – Hawaiian history, culture, and community. It supports over 60 partners across various sectors, including health, social and cultural support, education and development, lands, economic and community development, and employment.
 
Through DAWSON, the Hawaiian Native Corporation creates economic engines that power a unique model for business development, workforce development, and community building. With direct monetary donations to Native Hawaiian community organizations, partnerships with Native Hawaiian-owned subcontractors and vendors for services, equipment, materials, and supplies, partnerships with dozens of other subcontractors and vendors who employ a significant number of Native Hawaiians, and directly employing many Native Hawaiians at HNC and DAWSON, HNC’s collective economic impact in the Native Hawaiian community in 2021 totaled several million dollars, including over $3,000,000 in direct monetary contributions.

Hawaii Polo Life

Founder and President

In 2013, Chris’ love for polo prompted him to launch Hawaii Polo Life as a magazine publication focused on blending ocean culture with world-class polo in Hawai‘i. In 2012, he expanded the brand by creating a line of polo-related apparel worn by players and sold to attendees of its annual polo tournament. As the popularity of the event and apparel grew, so did its expansion and signature collection. As a result, Hawaii Polo Life now offers numerous lines of luxury athleisurewear. The designs pay tribute to the historic, luxurious, and highly adorned Hawaiian Polo athletes.

 

Hawaii Polo Life is also a competitive sports team. With the Hawaii Polo Life brand and team, Chris has helped develop young players and women’s polo for more than a decade. Under Chris’ guidance, the Hawaii Polo Life Women’s team won the 2022 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championships.

 

In conjunction with Hawaii Polo Productions, the brand also produces various equestrian events that bring in the world’s best polo athletes to the state of Hawaii. A portion of every Hawaii Polo Life sale supports the Hawaii International Polo Association.

 

“Hawaii Polo Life was built with a mission to bring world class polo to Hawaii, and introduce Hawaii to the world through the lens of polo. Our focus is to embody the spirit of the horses, the competition, the community, camaraderie, the elements I consider to be the core of polo.” - Chris Dawson

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Polo Athlete & Ambassador

Chris is an internationally accomplished polo player and a leader in his sport. He served on the United States Polo Association board for over ten years and had a unique opportunity to participate in the marketing, branding, and merchandising of the sport of polo on a global scale.

Celebrating and cultivating Hawaiian culture, history, and community.

Hawai‘i has a rich equine history and a long connection to polo, the oldest known team sport. It is widely believed that British naval officers first taught the game in 1880 to Hawaiian paniolos (cowboys), who were legendary horsemen. King David Kalākaua, the “Merrie Monarch,” loved horses and polo and his support of polo grew the game in Hawai‘i. Polo thrived for decades in Hawai‘i in the early 1900s and had a resurgence following World War II. However, polo in Hawai‘i has faded in prominence over the past fifty years.

 

Chris’ passion for the sport, his lifelong love of horses, and polo’s connection to Hawaii’s history have fueled his desire to provide exposure, education, experiences, and knowledge to the people of Hawai‘i of horses, horsemanship, and polo.

Teaching Hawaiian history through the lens of polo and rejuvenating Hawaii’s equine and polo traditions, putting them again at the forefront of Hawaiian culture.

In 2013, Chris was inspired to re-energize the sport in Hawai‘i and founded the Hawaii International Polo Association. Through the association, Chris supports programming and education related to Hawaiian history and culture through the lens of equine activities, including the sport of polo. The association is currently working to establish an equine retirement facility for polo ponies staffed by Native Hawaiians and support at-risk youth through its Hawaii Polo Life Polo Player Exchange program.

 

Since 2015, Chris has hosted professional players from all over the globe to play polo in Hawai‘i and was the first person to sponsor an All-Pro team. Collectively, the All-Pro team had made up 26-goals, the highest ever to be played in the state. Chris now travels the world to play polo with world-class players. His success in the sport has given him a platform to share and celebrate Hawaii’s history, values, and aloha spirit abroad. 

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