One of Honolulu’s leading developers is Christine Camp, president & CEO of the Avalon Development Company. Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier has more on what has driven her to carve her own path in this male-dominated industry.
Christine Camp was just a child when her family moved to Hawaii from South Korea in 1976. She was 10 and didn’t speak a word of English. Her father passed away suddenly soon after that move, leaving her mom to raise five children alone. So perhaps it’s no surprise that by 12, Camp was an entrepreneur, advertising her baby-sitting services on cards posted in laundromats and supermarkets. At 15, she ran away from home — for a while — rented a tiny apartment in Kaimuki and worked retail jobs while maintaining straight A’s at Kalani High School. In college she majored in accounting and started as a bookkeeper at RK Development. By the time she left that job five years later, she had already developed a 35-unit project.
That was just the beginning. Next came jobs with Castle & Cooke, learning about residential development, then Alexander & Baldwin, analyzing real estate investment opportunities. 17 years ago, she started her own business, Avalon Development Co.
Her projects span the island, from a 269-unit rental project in Hawaii Kai to the Plaza at Mill Town in Waipahu. But her heart is in Kapolei, where Camp has been developing two phases of the Kapolei Business Park and the nearby, 3-acre Kapolei Pacific Center, which already houses the Social Security Administration building and the Cole Academy Pre-school. Her focus for the next five years is to develop up to 100 million dollars’ worth of property, while grooming a new set of leaders to take over at her company.