Six degrees of Myrtle Beach’s Young Professional of the Year

For Weekly SurgeDecember 17, 2013 

Donald C. Hovis. Photo by Scott Smallin for Weekly Surge.

It would be an understatement to say that Donald C. Hovis, Jr. is connected on the Grand Strand. Marketing manager at Springmaid Beach Resort ( www.springmaidbeach.com) and heavily involved in community work, Hovis has been steadily making his mark in Myrtle Beach. In October, he was the recipient of gsSCENE’s Young Professional of the Year Award. The old saying goes that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. This would certainly apply in his case.

Hovis is one of three Dons in his family (no – not that family) – sharing the name with his father, Don Hovis, Sr., and his uncle, Don Cauthen, owner of Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar & Grill and former owner of Studebaker’s.

On the Grand Strand for 21 of his 30 years, the younger Hovis garnered two degrees in hotel management from Johnson & Wales University when it was still in Charleston, and immediately went to work for Brittain Resort Management, where he remained for two years. He worked for Oceana Resorts for five years until opportunity came knocking by way of Charlestowne Hotels, the group that manages Springmaid. “They plucked me out of Oceana Resorts to come and work for them,” he says.

“I do everything in terms of all of our social media, all of our entertainment for the resort and all of our stuff in and around the resort – signage, messaging and communications. I manage our Web site, so when you think of Springmaid or see Springmaid, I had something to do with that.” He adds that he works with a graphic designer and Web designer during this process. “I update copy on our Web site, place ads, and work with our sales team to make sure that they have sales kits and promotional products.” He also books trade show trips for the sales team.

Although this is a Monday through Friday gig, Hovis regularly shows up on weekends to see what’s going on around the resort, much like a mystery shopper. This is a great way to see if customers are catching the right vibe. “I kind of go and make sure that our people are telling people the right things.” He chats with tourists while possibly playing tourist himself. “I get instant interaction with our guests, and they don’t even know that I work for the property,” he says. He has been with Springmaid since 2011.

We asked Hovis what he thinks set him apart to win the gsSCENE award.

“I am the first to volunteer for anything within gsSCENE,” he says, adding that he is a two-time steering committee member for the organization, an offshoot of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce devoted to young professionals living and working along the Grand Strand. He is also a board member for the Chicora Rotary Club, Habitat for Humanity of Horry County and the Salvation Army of Horry County. He has also been involved with Substitutes for Santa and Relay for Life.

Much of his time outside of the resort is spent behind a camera. “Photography is my passion,” he says. He has a small business called TidesEye Photography ( www.facebook.com/TidesEyePhotography). “I do weddings, family sessions – all types of photography.”

He makes it a point to take a sunrise picture every day, and this could be at Myrtle Beach State Park or in Murrells Inlet. “Most mornings I go to Springmaid because it is home base,” he says.

“Photography is what I go to every day - to motivate me – to get me through the day. That’s why I shoot the sunrise. There is no better way to start a Myrtle Beach day or any day or any day on the Grand Strand than witnessing a sunrise on out coast,” he says. “There is nothing like it.”

Hovis, who says he is single and looking, loves spending time with his family and might be spotted enjoying a meal at Rossi’s Italian Restaurant in Myrtle Beach or Rivertown Bistro in Conway.” He is also a golfer.

Being so plugged in on the Grand Strand, what about his future plans?

“The next mayor of Myrtle Beach,” he says. “Everybody is like, ‘you’re going to be the next mayor of Myrtle Beach.’ I’m going to use that tag line going forward.”

Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 a Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at rgyale@gmail.com.

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