Engineering a path to success

Hawaiian Electric
3 min readFeb 22, 2024


by Donica Kaneshiro | Feb. 22, 2024

Maile Martinez, left, with Mariko Galton.

Helping a young adult travel the career path from summer intern to full-time employee takes time and commitment. But Maile Martinez made that mentoring investment in Mariko Galton and Hawaiian Electric is reaping the benefits.

“Both sides really benefit,” Maile said. “We give on-the-job, real life experience to our interns, and as they gain enough knowledge, they’re able to handle their own smaller projects.”

This is Engineers Week, which includes a special focus on inspiring and supporting women to pursue engineering with Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Feb. 22.

While electrical engineering may still be a male-dominated field, T&D Engineering Supervisor Maile and former intern turned Designer II Mariko are happy to see diversity at our company.

“It’s refreshing because when I worked on the mainland, it was still very traditionally, heavily male,” Maile said.

“It’s really nice seeing more women in the field,” Mariko said. “It’s just so empowering.”

The two met at Mariko’s first internship interview back in 2019, when Mariko was a sophomore at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

“It was my first time seeing a lot of women engineers in the company, so I was really excited, but also really nervous,” Mariko recalled.

Because Mariko was just starting out in her electrical engineering curriculum, she didn’t have high hopes of landing the internship.

But Maile could see Mariko’s potential and the skills that Mariko already possessed.

“In her interview, she came up very confident,” Maile remembered. “What I really liked is her enthusiasm, excitement and willingness to learn. She sees the potential in every assignment and what she can learn from it rather than considering it monotonous or tedious.”

As Mariko started interning with Maile as her supervisor, her collaborative nature was a huge asset in Transmission & Distribution Engineering.

Helping guide young adults just entering the field comes naturally to Maile. “My passion became very clear that I enjoyed utility-type work. I’m very blessed and excited to be able to pass that on to others, like Mariko.”

Mariko excelled and was able to stay with the company as a part-time project aide after her internship ended. When internship applications opened up the next year, Mariko applied again.

“She went from summer intern to project aide until the end of the school year and then we transitioned her back again to a summer intern. And that cycle went on for about three years,” Maile recalled.

When Mariko graduated last May, her plans were set.

“After working at Hawaiian Electric for so long, I really didn’t see myself working anywhere else,” Mariko said. “My family and some of my friends asked me if I was going to apply to other places and I said, ‘I don’t want to because Hawaiian Electric is where I want to be.’”

Maile views the experience as paying it forward.

“I have had mentors from when I first started working on the mainland. My very first boss, he was always there, helping me talk through what I’m looking for, my future goals,” she said. “Just having someone interested in your success is huge.”

Soon Mariko will have a chance to bring her experience full circle and serve as a mentor as the department works to hire its five summer interns for 2024.

“I’m more than willing to share my experiences and help the newcomers,” she said.

Donica Kaneshiro is a communications consultant at Hawaiian Electric Company.



Hawaiian Electric

Established in 1891, Hawaiian Electric is committed to empowering its customers and communities by providing affordable, reliable, clean and sustainable energy.