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Technical Issues

Due to technical issues, the 2023 Pele Winners site will be posted later this week. For now, we have the list of winners College, Professional, Highschool.

Inspiration has a way of popping up at the worst times…but when it comes, you have to heed the call. This year’s Pele Awards honors the true creative spirit—and the people who unabashedly drop everything to capture the idea, nail down the concept, and transform an assignment into award-winning work.

About the Pele Awards

The Pele Awards have been a part of Hawaii’s advertising and design community for more than 40 years. The Pele Awards is one of fifteen National District Competitions for the American Advertising Awards (also known as the ADDYs). The Pele Gold winners in all national categories are sent to the National Finals of the American Advertising Awards Competition to represent District 13. It’s designed to recognize excellence in advertising and design in the State of Hawaii for the past calendar year.

2023 Pele Winners Reel

National Award Winners

Meet the Judges

Matt Fera

Creative Director, Eversana



“I trademarked the phrase, ‘Let’s take this to level Fera’, in case it ever catches on.”

Matt, or Matty Fresh as he’s often called thanks to his break-dancing skills back in Michigan, is a Creative Director at Eversana in Chicago+ Kansas where he’s working on many fun projects. Prior to that he was a Creative lead at McGarryBowen on Western Union, Disney, Rust-Oleum, Marriott, American Express and new business.

Before making the move to Chicago, he worked at numerous Detroit agencies including Doner, Campbell-Ewald, and Team Detroit. Past accounts include Chevy, US Navy, Kaiser Permanente, Ford, Lincoln, Chiquita, La-Z-Boy, Alltel Wireless and OnStar. A recipient of the DraftFCB employee of the month a record 9 times, he’s also helped MacGyver save the world, true story. Growing up with few friends, young Matt befriended small toys, inanimate objects and woodland creatures. He currently lives in Chicago’s northern suburbs where he spends time with his wife and 2 kids, and way too much time wondering why he can never tan.

He also writes his own bios but wants you to think someone else is writing them, so he seems important.

In addition to being a Creative Director he’s also a seasonal “Fitting Room Grievance Counselor” (during the transition from Winter to Spring),

EVERSANA INTOUCH: A Full-Service Agency Network

Tricia Ting

Global Creative Director, ViewSonic

Taipei, Taiwan


Tricia has a knack for helping to transform companies into brands. Before Crispin Porter became known by its cooler single-moniker "Crispin," Tricia was there launching the BMW MINI in the US and winning Cannes Lions for Truth. Before StrawberryFrog became known simply as "The Frog," she was there leading the small business division of the Microsoft account. Yes, Tricia's resume reads like a "Best Agencies" report card. And yes, her award shelf is full of Lions, Pencils, Bowls and other statues. But the bigger story about Tricia is that she is a rare combination of artist & art director, of creativity & business. In fact, Tricia has illustrated children's books, co-founded a bakery with her husband and has helped lead start-ups.  So while her credentials alone are enough to make any advertising agency – or advertiser, for that matter – knock on her door, the reality of Tricia Ting is so much more than that. Meet her once, and we think you'll agree.

Carla Butwin

Creative Director, Doner

Detroit, Michigan


Carla is an award-winning creative with over 13 years of experience working with national and global brands like Tylenol, JBL, Oreo, Siemens, Bloomberg Media, McDonald’s and Anheuser-Busch.

Her work spans nontraditional and traditional media – from creating a TikTok challenge featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo garnering almost 8 billion views, to publishing the book If Animals Could Talk, that went viral and was featured on The Huffington Post, People, Mashable, Refinery 29, and the Daily Mail, among other publications. Carla’s work has been recognized by Cannes Lions, the One Show, Webbys, and her book was an Amazon bestseller.

With a background in painting and fine art, she brings a unique and unexpected perspective when approaching any project. Her passions include contemporary art, fresh pastries and her rescue dog Rufus.

Doner | A Full Service Advertising Agency - Doner Detroit

Brian Chin

Group Creative Director, VaynerMedia

New York City


Brian is an award- and biz-winning integrated creative leader with over 15 years of industry experience and a full head of hair. A strategic, UX-obsessed attention-hacker with a passion for social and digital. He’s helped lead teams, grow departments, and build ones for prolific modern brands across verticals: from automotive and tech, to retail and entertainment.


Kiran Koshy


Los Angeles, CA


Kiran is a director with Los Angeles-based production company, Raucous Content.

Kiran’s work has a distinct flavor to it. Subtle comedy driven by finely nuanced performances, impeccable art direction, and clever visual storytelling—often with a critter involved.

Before becoming a director, Kiran spent more than a decade as an agency art director in US, working on some of the biggest brands in the world. A truly global soul, at home in the East and the West, Kiran has an innate and deep understanding of people, consumer behavior, culture, brands, humor, and advertising. A breakout commercial directing talent, he made the new director shortlists at Shoot, LIA and the Kinsale Sharks, and won multiple Clios and Epicas while still on the agency side. He was included in the Top 10 Global Directors list on in his first year as a director. Represented world wide, Kiran pursues the creation of great advertising in the farthest corners of the globe.

Susan Mersch

Executive Creative Director, VMLY&R

Detroit, MI


Susan brings two decades of agency experience leading teams and creating work for some of the biggest automakers in the world and some of the smallest businesses on the block. It’s that diverse roster of work across all different mediums that keeps the work exciting for her. Currently she is Executive Creative Director at VMLY&R in Detroit, MI. In her role, she leads creative for the Ford Owner Experience which includes everything from vehicle service to customer experiences to parts to credit. Prior to that, she was SVP/Executive Creative Director at GTB. There she led a team responsible for Digital Experiences and Brand Activations for Ford. She’s also led the SUV work and worked on the car and truck businesses for both Ford and Lincoln. Earlier in her tenure there, she wrangled the agency’s pro bono efforts including The United Way, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Arthritis Foundation and several others. Prior to GTB, she held positions at BBDO and FCB where she worked on Jeep and Chrysler. She earned her ad chops at Doner ordering people’s dinner and working on everything from food to fashion. In her free time, you’ll likely find her on the sidelines of her kids’ games or enjoying the outdoors. She resides in Detroit with her husband where they’re working on their biggest collaboration to date - attempting to raise two boys to be good humans.

Ad Person Of the Year



Social Media Specialist, HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO.


Michael Choe has served Ad 2 Hawaii as chair of the public service, membership, and communications committees and as the secretary. Since his involvement in 2017, Michael has helped Ad 2 Hawaii receive various awards, created the ADvise mentorship program, and assisted in revitalizing “Signature Socials” to boost membership engagement.

Michael graduated with an English degree from UH Manoa, followed by a memorable two-year teaching experience in Korea. He came back to Hawaii where he dabbled in freelancing, worked with Frolic Hawaii, and was eventually hired as a social media specialist for Hawaiian Electric. Recently in his spare time, Michael has been exploring new hobbies, attempting escape rooms, and pursuing a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.





Gerard is a creative producer/director/editor/cinematographer.  He is the vice president of film at NMG Network, responsible for developing branded content, editorial videos, commercials and films. He has shot, directed and produced a number of award-winning commercials and he is a 2022 Sundance Institute Producer Intensive Fellow.  He produced, directed, and served as the director of photography for Ka Huaka'i: The Journey to Merrie Monarch, a feature length documentary produced in partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, that was included in Brand Storytelling 2022, a sanctioned event of the Sundance Film Festival.  Gerard serves as the executive director for 'Ohina, an artist collective that nurtures, cultivates, and showcases Hawaiʻi filmmakers and their films.  Through ʻOhina, he has produced a number of short films that have been distributed nationwide, including Kālewa & Other People, which are now a part of the Criterion Collection.  He is also a governor on the regional EMMY® AWARDS board (The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences SF/Northern California).



Executive Creative Director, MVNP


For over twenty years, Brian has been wearing out laptop keyboards as a copywriter, creative director, and storyteller at ad agencies in San Francisco, Detroit, New York, and his hometown of Hawaii. His clients have included AT&T, Mastercard, Wendy’s, and some of Hawaii’s biggest brands, including the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian Airlines, McDonald’s Hawaii, and Servco Pacific. 

Brian has worked on projects that have won awards from the American Advertising Awards, Telly Awards, Communication Arts, and the Pele Awards. His writing work won an Emmy for Hawaiian Airlines with NMG Network, and a Silver Telly for Kamehameha Schools as a writer and director.

Brian is also a produced screenwriter, the Education Director of the ‘Ohina Filmmakers Lab, a former AAF Hawaii board member, and a former Faculty Lecturer teaching screenwriting at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu. He’s at his happiest when he’s coming up with big ideas, listening to 80’s music, watching movies, and laughing with his kids.



Ric Noyle. Photo Productions


Known as one of the premier photographers in the Pacific Rim, Ric is an island artist with a global perspective, serving a diverse international clientele from his home base in Honolulu.

Ric has excelled in photography’s most demanding genres, people, lifestyle, resorts food and aerial photography. Bringing a fresh eye and a unique approach to each one.

Ric Noyle, born in Cape Town, South Africa, has resided in Honolulu, Hawaii for the past 45 years.

He has gained an unsurpassed reputation for quality and dependability. Both for his strong technical skills with light and composition and his ability to capture the emotions, beauty and intensity of his subjects.

Need sets built, locations, casting, permits, equipment rentals, make-up, hairstyling, food displays? No problem. He does it all!

Ric has worked with the Department of Education for years, not only with PhotoCon but also visiting schools for their career days, as well as working with the faculty and staff also.  He has given workshops for Photo Clubs and anyone who has requested his help.  He has volunteered his services for many various groups around town to take group photos or document an event for them.

He has worked with Aloha United Way, Kupuna Aikido, Goodwill Hawaii, and various others.  And each job that comes in, whether it is paid or unpaid, it is always handled the same with 100% of Ric’s effort.TBA

Past Ad People of the Year Winners!

Save the Date

All “Professional” work entered in the 2023 Pele Awards Competition must have first appeared in media between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. 

All “College” work entered in the 2023 Pele Awards Competition must have been created between January 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023.

Please see 2023 Pele Information Guide for specific entry rules, guidelines, and categories.

November 2022
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Thursday, March 2, 2023
March 6 to 19, 2023 (virtual)

This section is for the Professional and College Division.