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Across our business throughout May, we’re celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of our business in the United States.

Today, you can hear from Rhia Pereda, a Customer Service Representative working on our Skyline project in Honolulu - the US' first autonomous urban rail system. Learn more about her passions inside and outside of work…

Can you tell us about your role within Hitachi Rail?

My name is Rhia Pereda, and I’m a Customer Service Representative in Honolulu. I’ve been at Hitachi Rail for nine months, and my work is amazing! I am one of the first points of contact for people traveling on the Skyline train, so people from all walks of life call or email us every day.

It’s like a box of chocolates, where we never know what we will get from a call or email. It might be a suggestion, accolade, or inquiry related to (or unrelated to) Skyline. Regardless of what I am asked, providing excellent customer service to people is comparable to the joy of getting chocolate!

Does your current role align with the career goals you envisioned for yourself?

Yes, definitely - I have always wanted to work with a company that gives back to the community, and I have definitely found that at Hitachi Rail. I’ve already been able to get involved with community projects, and this is really important to me and my values.

Hawaii FIRST Robotics Kick Off 2023

2023 FIRST Robotics Kick-Off Event – Rhia Bottom Left Kneeling Holding Sign

What makes you proud at work?

My proudest moment is when I help someone, be it a train passenger, stranger, or colleague. I help anyone who needs it and provide guidance to people looking for answers. I want to be a blessing to every person that I work with, in any that way I can.

I also believe that if your job aligns with your passion and purpose in life, you can’t help but take pride in what you do each day. A career in transportation is full of surprises (good ones!), so whether you have a background in transportation or not, I would suggest going for it!

What do you want to share about your heritage or culture that people might not know?

“Opo” and “po” are Filipino words used to show respect when talking to elders or someone we respect. “Opo” is a very polite way to say “yes,” and “po” punctuates and is said at the end of a sentence. These simple catchphrases continue to win the hearts of Filipino elders and other nationalities around the world.

You recently became a US Citizen. What would you like to share about that experience?

I am filled with gratitude. My story of getting to the United States is probably the same story for many Asian people. My journey began when I was petitioned by my father when he migrated to Hawaii in 2005.

At first, I really struggled and felt confused when my family migrated to Hawaii. I was left in the Philippines whilst waiting for my petition for 14 years, which was a solitary life without my family. My family loves get-togethers and there is lots of eating and just spending time together celebrating any occasion, so this was a big adjustment.

JMJ + Rhia + Mehta Lui + Seniah Salantes

I migrated to Hawaii five years ago and finally reunited with my family. Migrating to the United States in your midlife is like a 180-degree turnover of change in everything. In my experience, it wasn’t hard to start all over again. I appreciated the support from my family and the best opportunities in this country.

I felt and valued the difference in safety, security, laws in place, discipline, and abundance of America. I became a US citizen last March 2024, and I am continuously amazed at the opportunities and blessings of what being an American means!

To find out more about careers at Hitachi Rail, please click here to visit our careers pages.


Rhia Pereda

Customer Service Representative Location: Hawaii, USA