Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate promotes Dennis Elms to factory and technology director
LAHAINA — Dr. Gunars Valkirs, CEO of Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate Inc., recently announced the promotion of Dennis Elms from technology director to factory and technology director.
With his double duties of factory and technology director of Maui’s first farm-to-bar chocolate factory, Elms is responsible for overall support of technology at the complex as well as overall support of factory-related activities. He also works side-by-side with Dr. Valkirs every day to make some of the world’s finest chocolate!
“Dennis is an exceptional member of our Chocolate Kuleana team,” Valkirs said. “Not only can he handle any technical issue that arises in the factory, retail store or tasting pavilion, but he does it with calmness, patience and a smile.”
Since joining MKEC in March 2019, Elms has successfully led all aspects of technology to support the company’s business functions, factory operations, retail and online customer channels. His tasks have included everything from configuring corporate partner integration to streamlining and computerizing administrative processes.
Prior to MKEC, Elms was the IT specialist at Montage Kapalua Bay, providing overall tech support for the hotel’s associates and guests. Before that, he managed IT staff at Honua Kai Resort & Spa.
Technology may have changed over the years since he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Technology at Wayne State University in 1984, but Elms’ commitment to customer service remains the same.
Problem-solving through technology is what inspired him to open his own business, NexLevel Computers and Consulting, in Lahaina in 2005. Through his storefront, Elms provided repairs, computer training, networking, software development and support for residents and visitors.
Prior to that, he traveled for years as a computer consultant, developing software, providing technology services and performing project management from Dallas to Detroit and throughout North America.
Past work experience also includes serving as concierge and guest services agent at both Montage and at The Ritz-Carlton Residences Kapalua.
In his downtime, you might find Elms relaxing with his family — his wife, five children and five grandchildren — or wrapped up in music: playing guitar, listening to songs, or writing lyrics. Inspired by growing up in Motown, Elms has already written songs for his mother, wife and daughter.
Elms is a proud believer in MKEC’s Chocolate Kuleana, the company’s commitment to give back to the community through donating net profits to island charities and nonprofit organizations.
“From the early days during construction until now, when people hear about why we exist, they just want to be part of making this a success,” Elms said. “We had many contractors who went above and beyond when this place was being built. It felt like we all had a common goal, because this building was created so that it could give back to our local community. That touched many of those who helped build this, and their pride is visible throughout the complex.”
The chocolate factory is located at 78 Ulupono St. in Lahaina. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Keep up to date with all things Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate by subscribing to MKEC’s newsletter at mauichocolate.com. Purchase chocolate online at mauichocolate.com.
For more information, visit mauichocolate.com or find “Maui Chocolate” on Instagram.