2020 Tillman Scholar

Jeffrey Laupola

Columbia University

“I am so grateful for my family, Hawaii and the U.S. military. My new mission is to solve the most challenging problems as a business leader via public-private partnerships.”

Jeff decided to serve in the military like his brother after 9/11.

At Annapolis, Jeff developed quickly as a leader and fighter among his peers. He finished his time at the U.S. Naval Academy as one of 30 company commanders leading more than 4,000 officer candidates and as an undefeated national collegiate heavyweight boxing champion.

On active duty, Jeff deployed as a division officer aboard U.S.S. Peleliu. He was on watch when he first identified and initiated a counter-piracy rescue operation of cargo vessel Magellan Star. His team’s rapid response enabled 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit forces to rescue the cargo vessel’s crew from Somali pirates. On land, Jeff voluntarily deployed to Afghanistan with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal with combat device. Jeff completed his military goals of deploying on land and at sea.

In 2019, Jeff co-authored the report ,“Troubled Waters: Charting a New Fiscal Course for Hawaii”, estimating Hawaii infrastructure, climate change preparation and government retiree expenses at $88 billion over the next 30 years. His report contributed to a proposed $275 million infrastructure investment in the 2020 Hawaii state legislative session. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeff co-founded the non-profit Every1ne Hawaii, partnering with Hawaiian Airlines to charter a plane from China with more than 1 million face masks to freely distribute to the people of Hawaii.

Long-term, Jeff will serve his community by bridging public-private talent to create solutions to housing, energy and infrastructure challenges.