Bobby Hanig: Currituck County's New Chairman of Change

The County Commissioner Talks Catalysts for Economic Development Growth, Making Life Easier for Small Businesses and What Lies Ahead for Currituck


Bobby Hanig is Chairman of the Currituck County Board of Commissioners. After winning the District 2 seat in the mid-March Republican primary, he was sworn in on December 5, 2016. During that first meeting he was elected chairman. His term expires in December 2020.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Hanig served in the United States Army for four years and then worked as a railroad mechanic all over North and South America before settling in Currituck County in 1992.

“Basically I started over,” Hanig said when he spoke with us. “I got tired of traveling, so I left my job and came down to the Outer Banks and just started over.”

In addition to serving on the Board of Commissioners (BOC), Hanig is the owner of The Pool Guy Aquatic Services. He lives in Powell’s Point with his daughter.

To kick off our "Meet Your Commissioners" series, we spoke with the new chairman about his life, his work and his hopes for Currituck County.


How did you get into the pool business?

4ed88117-3761-4a36-9f4f-de49cfe554cd.pngWhen I first came down here I worked in the heavy equipment business. I cleared land, tore down houses, things like that. Pool companies would call us to dig a hole for $300 and then they would put in pools. I thought, well, I know all about hydraulics and pumps and motors and so on. So I took a class on installing swimming pools and then I started putting in swimming pools. Then people, some of whom lived out-of-state, started asking me, “Who's going to take care of my pool?” And I would answer, “Well, I guess that would be me.”

Opportunities just presented themselves...

Yeah, I had a little bit of everything going on. I went to work for a property management company four days a week and I was also doing my pool stuff. But then the property management company was bought by a public company. It took me about 6 months to figure out that I did not want to be part of that company. That's when I officially started The Pool Guy.

Shortly after I started my company, I called the guy I worked for at the vacation property management company (who had also recently left) and told him that I had more work than I can handle. We ran the pool business together and then in 2004 we started Brindley Beach Vacations & Sales with four houses. When I sold my shares of Brindley two years ago, we were managing 650 properties.

But you still have the pool company?

Right, so now I'm just “the pool guy” again and life is good. I currently service about 400 properties in the Duck and Corolla area and I also run a cabana service called Cabana Bob's.

How did you find your way into politics?

I served as the vice-chair of the Currituck Chamber of Commerce for a few years. When I left, I was invited to join the board of the Northeast Workforce Development Board (NWDB). During my first meeting, they made me chairman. I chaired the NWDB for five years.

Some people call up and ask how I'd feel running for the Board of Commissioners. To be honest, I hadn't even contemplated it. The idea didn't really cross my mind. But I investigated further and thought it was something I could probably do, so I decided to run.

I went to every meeting for almost a year and watched how things worked. David Griggs, who was the previous chairman, decided he wasn't going to run again, so I ran unopposed... which was great. That made things much easier.

I won my election, got inaugurated and five minutes later they made me chairman. So here I am.

I read in another interview where you said that many Currituck citizens have a “negative perception” of the Board of Commissioners. Why is it negative?

Since I moved to Currituck County in 1992, there has always been this impression of the “good ol’ boy system” connected to the Board of Commissioners. I believe that there was quite a bit of that at one time. The perception in the county was that the commissioners played favorites on certain issues or would do things like purchase land that didn't need to be purchased. Some of that perception was wrong and was more likely misinformation on my part... but a lot of it wasn't.

I experienced those issues firsthand as a business owner in Currituck. I dealt with them as someone who built homes in Currituck and as someone who built a commercial business in Currituck. I remember the difficulties that I experienced, and I just felt like—as a commissioner— maybe I could do some good.

How do you think you can help change that image?

I think our current board has the ability to discuss everything that comes in front of us without any type of malice or agenda. We have the ability to make decisions on what's right or wrong versus worrying about “How do I get re-elected?” or “How can this benefit me?”

What do you see that the county does right when it comes to helping local businesses?

The county has made huge steps in the last several years with the building process… how you get inspections… the process to get permits. All of that has been improved. And I think the county continually strives to be more efficient at what they're doing. They are making a great effort.

What do you want the people of Currituck to know about their Board of Commissioners?

That we're here to serve them. I truly believe that our seven board members are committed to Currituck County and what's best for Currituck. People need to know that we want to hear what their issues are... and if someone has a legitimate issue, we want to correct it and we want them to be satisfied. I think we've already proven that on numerous occasions just in the last six months.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 12.47.35 PM.pngIs serving on the board what you expected?

It's more than what I expected, especially since I'm the chairman and I didn't really get the luxury of a learning curve prior to becoming chairman. But the county staff has been very complimentary about how the board is operating and that we're doing the things we say we're going to do. All in all, it's been a really good experience and very satisfying.

It’s been a lot of hard work and effort, but I'm the type of person that when I commit to doing something... I do it 120%.

Is that work ethic a holdover from your military experience?

I don't think my work ethic came so much from the military. When I was 11 years old, I got a paper route. I lived in Virginia Beach and I had to be at the corner at 4:30 in the morning, 7 days a week. I was 11 years old. That's just how it's always been.

You dealt closely with workforce issues on the NWDB. What do you see as some of the biggest challenges in workforce development for Currituck County?

Educating the workers. There’s no question. We have a lot of jobs that can be filled if people have the most basic education and skills. For the longest time I've been an advocate of soft skills and helping people learn the basics of professional behavior and how to treat a customer. The entire county has lacked in that.

When I left the NWDB we were pushing soft skills to the forefront and really trying to get that going and now they offer it at the College of the Albemarle and they have it at the high school, which is fantastic.

I say that I'm in the pool business, but I'm really in the customer service business. No matter what your business is, you're in the customer service business. And if you don't know how to talk to and treat a customer, you're not going to stay in business... period.

What do you see as Currituck’s best opportunities for growth and success?

There are so many things that are happening in the county right now.

Once the new H2OBX water park opens in the lower part of the county, businesses will sprout up around it. We need businesses. We can't sustain ourselves on residential income alone. We need businesses to come in here and generate tax revenue. That development around the water park is going to be a huge boost for the lower end of Currituck, which has needed a boost since the beginning of time.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge is going to come forward in the next couple of years. Every indication from the state shows that it is a “go.” That will be a huge catalyst for development in the middle part of the county. In the northern part of the county, what we've done with the ball fields in Maple Park will bring people from southeastern Virginia and from the western part of North Carolina for baseball and softball tournaments and soccer tournaments. More growth will come around that.

And of course, the Moyock Mega-Site is moving forward... maybe even faster than we thought. So the potential in Currituck right now is off the chain. From the north to the south… it's just an unbelievable time to be in Currituck County.


Hanig holds the trophy after Team Pool Guy claimed victory in the 2016 Currituck Chamber Golf Classic

What does Bobby Hanig do when he isn’t running a pool business or acting as the BOC chairman?

I’ve got a great house. I like to sit by the pool. I'm not afraid to drink a cold beer with you. I have lots of guns and I like to shoot. I surf. I fish a little. There’s a golf course right behind my house. I have a boat. That’s about it...

That sounds pretty good.

Yes, it is.

Last question. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself still in Currituck. Now, once my daughter gets out of college, you may catch me wintering in Florida… spending January, February and March somewhere south. But in 20 years? I'll be right here... and I can't wait to see what Currituck County looks like.


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