Like most technology companies, the greatest asset of Hawaii Information Service is actually its people. We’d like to help you get to know them better. Starting today, HIS will profile a member of its close-knit family each month. Enjoy!
NOVENA SALUDARES, director of Data Quality & Control at Hawaii Information Service, is proud of the quality and currency of the real estate information that HIS provides. She’s been with the company for 27 years, and she is a key reason why HIS is today known for its current and accurate public records data.
“One of our main goals is to maintain the sales information, keeping it up to date,” she says. “Before the process would take months, but we’ve honed our methods and now get sales records in within five to seven days of the recording date.”
Of course, getting the information is just the beginning. Novena and her dedicated research staff double-check it many times, in many ways. Beyond that, they stay on top of new subdivisions, condos, and street addresses, constantly updating and carefully growing the data.
Novena’s focus is on the TMK side, moreso than the MLS side, although the TMK is among the most valuable components of REsearch, and its tight integration into REsearch often means Realtors take it for granted. But she doesn’t.
“We have the best data,” she says. “We strive on accuracy.”
Novena has lived and breathed real estate data since her very first summer job at a title company. And back then, the MLS was a publishing business, not a technology company.
“Back then we had McGraw-Hill and Multi-List — it was printed books, weekly and monthly, we had a warehouse, and people would buy the books and flip through old sales, on paper,” she recalls. “Everything was handwritten, or you had to go down to the bureau, get a form, fill it out, bring it all back, and put it in.”
Novena has had a front-row seat for the technological transformation that followed, working with microfilm, reel-to-reel computer tapes, phone couplers and black boxes. But even as computers took center stage, printed books still sold well for a while.
“Today, everything is online and instant,” she notes.
Novena is the youngest of six siblings, and spent some of her early years in Guam, as her father was in the military before retiring and returning to Hawaii. Although she’s not in a hurry to assign a numerical value to her youth, she says she graduated with the very first class to come out of Pearl City High School in Honolulu.
She’s been married to her husband George for 10 years, but they’ve been together for 30. And when they have a chance to travel, she and her husband go to Las Vegas, where one of her brothers lives.
“I love to go to Vegas, twice a year if we can,” she says. “I love to see shows.”
And her love of live entertainment has pushed her to explore entertainment here at home.
“When I was young, I never liked Hawaiian music, but I appreciate it now, and we go out to look for Hawaiian music,” Novena says. “It’s harder to find live music now, but we go to Waikiki, we see Melveen Leed, the Society of Seven… we listen to all the new bands.”
She’s also a UH sports fan, and watches every Warriors football game, and attends UH men’s and women’s volleyball games, and men’s basketball, too.
As for her unusual name? She explains that it comes from a type of Catholic prayer, and came from her oldest brother. And she has had “NOVENA” as her license plate for 25 years, on only two cars.
“My first car was a bright red Firebird,” she recalls. “It was hard to miss.”