BANDON -- What do some of the top golf resorts in the nation have in common?
All have been managed by Hank Hickox of Bandon, who recently retired as the long-time general manager of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
A fourth generation Oregonian, Hickox has the distinction of being the only person to manage all three of Oregon's top resorts: Bandon Dunes, Salishan and Sunriver.
Hickox also managed the famed course on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, and came to the Bandon job from Turning Stone in New York, a casino and golf course owned by the Oneida Indian Nation. He was also vice president of Silverado Resort in Napa, Calif.
But here in Bandon we know him as the personable guy who has been the face of Bandon Dunes for 16 of the 17-year history of the now famous resort, which has put Bandon on the map.
At age 72, Hank felt it was time to turn the reins over to someone else, who turns out to be Don Crowe, who was one of the original employees when Bandon Dunes opened in 1999.
"He's a great guy . . a family man with two children. He will be a great fit for the resort and the community," Hank said.
Hickox always prided himself on his relationship with the resort's 600 employees. "I enjoyed meeting every employee before they began working at the resort," he said.
He's also proud of the jobs provided by the Resort, which has allowed many Bandon High School graduates to remain in their hometown, mentioning Breanna Quattrocchi who is Resort Controller and her husband Vince, Director of Caddie Services.
These, of course, are just a few of the many success stories for locals, who love their jobs at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Hickox stressed what it has been like working for a man the caliber of the Resort owner, Mike Keiser.
"No one, including Mike, ever dreamed that the resort would so far surpass even his vision. It's a wonderful success story, and it's made it possible for him to give back generously to the community."
No article about Hank would be complete without mentioning Kemper Sports and its president, Josh Lesnik, who have played such a big role in the success of the resort and Hank's amazing career.
Hank Hickox didn't just manage Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
He served eight years representing the South Coast as a governor's appointee on the Oregon Tourism Commission, and he was also appointed by the governor to the State Economic Development Commission.
Closer to home, Hank was a long-time member of the South Coast Development Council, a position he has recently resigned in the hope of eventually putting his efforts toward helping his own community
Although we all agree that air service into Coos County is not what it used to be, Hickox has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Resort and the entire South Coast to see improved service.
At one point, because it was necessary for a local match to obtain an airport grant, Bandon Dunes provided the $75,000 match to make it happen.
Known as a high-energy guy, we wondered what retirement had in store for Hank Hickox.
He has a 16-acre ranch in the Portland area, where he plans to grow wine grapes, but he and wife Johnna will continue to make their home in Bandon and enjoy visits from their children and grandchildren..
He also plans to focus on staying fit and healthy ... along with sharpening his golf game.
"I love to play golf, but I seldom had time and I didn't feel like I was good enough to play with most of the people who came to the Resort. I want to learn to play much better," he said.
And now that he has been blessed with retirement, look for Hank to eventually take an even more active role in the community to share with us what he's learned after 40 years as manager of some of the top facilities in the country.